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Lalo Schifrin Biography

Boris Schifrin, 21 June 1932, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Schifrin was taught classical piano from the age of six but later studied sociology and law at university. He won a scholarship to the Paris Conservatoire where he studied with Olivier Messiaen. In 1955 he represented Argentina in the Third International Jazz Festival in Paris. He met Dizzy Gillespie first in 1956 when the trumpeter was touring South America. Schifrin had founded the first Argentine big band in the Count Basie tradition and in 1957 wrote his first film music. He moved to New York in 1958 and toured Europe in 1960 with a Jazz At The Philharmonic ensemble, which included Gillespie, with whom he played between 1960 and 1962. He had become increasingly interested in large-scale compositions and wrote two suites for Gillespie - Gillespiana and New Continent. He worked with Quincy Jones when he left Gillespie, but became more and more involved in scoring for television and feature films including The Cincinnati Kid, Bullitt, Dirty Harry, and the distinctive theme from the television series Mission Impossible.

His more than 150 scores over a period of over 40 years have also included The Liquidator, Cool Hand Luke, The Fox, Coogan’s Bluff, Kelly’s Heros, Hit!, Magnum Force, Voyage Of The Damned, The Eagle Has Landed, Rollercoaster, The Amityville Horror, The Competition, The Sting II, Hollywood Wives (television mini-series), The Fourth Protocol, F/X2 - The Deadly Art Of Illusion, The Dead Pool, Return From The River Kwai, The Beverly Hillbillies, Mission: Impossible, Tango, Rush Hour, and Mission: Impossible II. He lectured in composition at the University of California, Los Angeles (1968-71), and has spent a good deal of his career searching for common ground between jazz and classical music. In 1995, he conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra at London’s Festival Hall, in Jazz Meets The Symphony, ‘an evening of jazz-symphonic fusion’.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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