Jean Hasse was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1958, and graduated from Oberlin College Conservatory, specialising in piano, conducting and instrumental music education. A varied career as a teacher, multi-instrumentalist, concert producer, music copyist, editor and publisher has included managing Margun Music (then owned by Gunther Schuller) and acting as the US and Canadian Representative for Faber Music, and forming her own publishing company, Visible Music, in 1987. While living in Boston, Jean was also a member of the popular music ensemble, The Composers in Red Sneakers. She has received fellowships for composing residencies at the MacDowell Colony (NH) and the Millay Colony for the Arts (NY) and has received commissions from many solo performers and chamber ensembles in the US and UK.

Hasse's music has been heard throughout the United States and Europe, in Canada, Japan and Australia, with performances at venues including the Tanglewood Music Center, Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall, London's South Bank Centre, Barbican Centre, Wigmore Hall, the British Museum, St Paul's Cathedral, St George's Hall Bristol, and at numerous festivals. Many of her concert works attempt to give audiences a slightly unusual listening experience, where, for instance, the performers are positioned behind the audience or there is a pre-recorded instrumental tape, a theatrical element, or involvement from the entire audience.

In 1999, Hasse produced a CD, kinkh, that includes much of her piano music, as well as Pulling (flutes) and After Earle (percussion). She composed music for the soundtrack of a film produced by Paul Swensen in 1999, So the Wind Won't Blow it All Away, based on a Richard Brautigan story, and shown at festivals in the US and Europe. In 2001, she began a three-year project of composing new ring tone melodies for mobile phones, beginning with the Internet company iobox, which led to appearances on television and radio.

Hasse now composes for films, videos, websites and special events, along with new concert music pieces. She is a Special Lecturer in Composition at the University of Bristol and coordinates the MAFTV Composition course. In October 2007, her new chamber orchestra score accompanied the 1926 silent film, Faust, in performances in Bristol and at London's Barbican Centre. Recent commissions include new scores for the silent films Mabel's Dramatic Career, Ghosts Before Breakfast and The Rat.