June 21, 1932
Country of origin
Lalo Schifrin is one of the most versatile composers on the scene today. 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 or the London Philharmonic.
Born in Argentina, Lalo was classically trained from an early age by his father, Luis Schifrin, concertmaster of the Orchestra of the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. While attending the Conservatory in Paris, Lalo led a double life: he would study classical music during the week and jam with Europe's hottest jazz players on the weekend.
When Schifrin returned to Buenos Aires in the mid 1950's, he formed his own big band. When the legendary trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie heard Lalo play, Dizzy brought Lalo to New York to be his pianist and arranger. As a jazz musician he has performed with such great personalities as Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, and Count Basie.
A prolific composer, Schifrin has written more than 100 scores for film and television, garnering four Grammy awards out of 20 Grammy nominations, one ACE, and six Oscar nominations. Among Schifrin's well known scores are: Mission: Impossible, Cool Hand Luke, The Competition, Dirty Harry, The Fox, Bullitt, Rush Hour, and Tango.
Schifrin has performed in the world's greatest concert halls: Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Los Angeles Music Center, the Concertgebouw, Royal Festival Hall, Teatro Colon, Salle Pleyel, and the Champs Elysee Theatre, as well as at all the major jazz festivals in the United States and Europe.
Schifrin's classical works include "Cantos Aztecas" recorded by Placido Domingo with orchestra and choir; "Piano Concerto No. 2" commissioned by the Steinway Foundation, performed by Mstislav Rostopovich and Cristina Ortiz; "Guitar Concerto" recorded by Angel Romero with the London Philharmonic; "Dances Concertantes" for clarinet and orchestra performed by David Shifrin; and "Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra" recorded by Gary Karr and the Paris Philharmonic.
The Three Tenors, Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti, commissioned Schifrin to write all three of the Grand Finale concerts celebrating the World Soccer Championships: Italy in 1990; Los Angeles in 1994; and Paris in 1998. Schifrin's contribution was to arrange the medleys featuring all three of the Tenors singing together. This highly successful series of recordings have enticed many new fans into the world of classical music. Schifrin has arranged the music for two highly acclaimed Christmas programs: "Christmas in Vienna" in 1992 with Diana Ross, Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo, and also "A Celebration of Christmas" in 1995 with Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo and Natalie Cole.
Beginning in 1993, Schifrin has been featured as composer, pianist and conductor for his ongoing series of "Jazz Meets the Symphony" recordings. These works have featured the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra and such jazz stars as Ray Brown, Grady Tate, Jon Faddis, Paquito D'Rivera, James Morrison, and Jeff Hamilton. The "Jazz Meets the Symphony Collection" contains the first four releases and has garnered three Grammy nominations. The fifth CD in this series will be recorded in the autumn of 2000.
Schifrin's most recently acclaimed CD, for which he received a Grammy nomination, is his "Latin Jazz Suite" with soloists Jon Faddis, David Sanchez, Ignacio Berroa, Alex Acuna and the WDR Big Band of Cologne, Germany.
Among the many honors awarded Schifrin: BMI Lifetime Achievement Award (1988); an award from the Israeli government for "Contributions to World Understanding through Music"; a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce; the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres from the French minister of Culture; the Distinguished Artist Award in 1998 from the Los Angeles Music Center; advisor to the President of Argentina in Cultural Affairs in 1998; and appointed Music Director of the Los Angeles Latin Jazz Institute/Festival in 1999.
It is Schifrin's ability to switch musical gears which makes him unique in the music world and also continues to spark his own interest in new creations. His time continues to be divided amongst composing both jazz and classical commissions, performing on tour with orchestras and big bands, and working on film scores.