On November 8th France’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres will be presenting composer Lalo Schifrin with their prestigious Commandeur of Arts and Letters. Two festivals in France will be paying tribute to Schifrin over the subsequent seven days.
“Words cannot express my gratitude to the French Minister of Culture, Madame Audrey Azoulay, for this recognition. I feel overwhelmed by this distinction and it humbles me,” said Schifrin, who was previously named a Chevalier (Knight) by the Ordre des Arts des Lettres.
The Cinematheque Festival opens with, and will feature films from Schifrin’s career, including screenings of COOL HAND LUKE, COOGAN’S BLUFF, and BULLITT. On November 9th, Lalo will be participating in signing, and a special audience Q&A before the screening of DIRTY HARRY, which will feature a special musical performance by Schifrin. The festival runs from November 9-14.
The same week the Festival du Cinéma & Musique de Film de la Baule will also be screening films from Schifrin’s catalog. On June 12, the Baule Festival will pay tribute to Schifrin as part of their Cine-Concert and awards ceremony.
Lalo Schifrin is a true Renaissance man. As a pianist, composer and conductor, he is equally at home conducting a symphony orchestra, performing at an international jazz festival, scoring a film or television show, or creating works for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the London Philharmonic and even The Sultan of Oman.
As a young man in his native Argentina, Lalo Schifrin received classical training in music, and also studied law. He came from a musical family, and his father, Luis Schifrin, was the concertmaster of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Buenos Aires at the Teatro Colon. Lalo Schifrin continued his formal music education at the Paris Conservatory during the early 1950’s, studying with numerous teachers including famed composer Olivier Messiaen. Simultaneously he became a professional jazz pianist, composer and arranger, playing and recording in Europe at night.
When Schifrin returned to Buenos Aires in the mid 1950’s, he formed his own big concert band. It was during a performance of this band that Dizzy Gillespie heard Schifrin play and asked him to become his pianist and arranger. In 1958, Schifrin moved to the United States and thus began a remarkable career.
To date, Lalo Schifrin has written over 100 film and television scores including Mission Impossible, Mannix, Cool Hand Luke, Bullitt, The Cincinnati Kid, Amityville Horror, four of the Dirty Harry films, and more recently Abominable and the Rush Hour trilogy. Lalo Schifrin has now won five Grammys® (twenty-two nominations), one Cable ACE Award, and six Academy Award® nominations. His longtime involvement in both the jazz and symphonic worlds came together in 1993 as pianist and conductor for his on-going series of “Jazz Meets the Symphony” recordings.