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. Lalo Schifrin continued his formal music education at the Paris Conservatory during the early 1950’s. Simultaneously, he became a professional jazz pianist, composer and arranger, playing and recording in Europe. 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.
Schifrin’s music is a synthesis of traditional and twentieth-century techniques, and his early love for jazz and rhythm are strong attributes of his style. Besides 60 works in the classical composition field, he has written more than 100 scores for films and television. Among the classic scores are Mission Impossible, Mannix, The Fox, Cool Hand Luke, Bullitt, Dirty Harry, The Cincinnati Kid and Amityville Horror. Recent film scores include Tango, Rush Hour 1-3, Bringing Down The House, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, After the Sunset, and Abominable.
In 1987, Lalo Schifrin was appointed as Musical Director of the Paris Philharmonic Orchestra, a post which he held for five years – and from 1989 to 1995 he served as music director of the Glendale Symphony Orchestra. Among Schifrin’s other conducting credits are the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Israel Philharmonic, the National Symphony Orchestra of Argentina and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, amongst many others.
Further compositions include the Salute to the Statue of Liberty (1986), the overture for the Pan American Games (1987), the finale for the Pan American Games, which were held in Argentina (1995), the Grand Finale to celebrate the finals of the World Cup Soccer Championship 1995 with Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras and Zubin Mehta with a sequel on the eve of the World Cup Soccer Championships in Paris, a CD featuring Jose Carreras with the London Symphony Orchestra named Friends for Life, the Fantasy for Screenplay and Orchestra for Daniel Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony (2002-2003) and Symphonic Impressions of Oman with the London Symphony Orchestra which was commissioned by the Sultan of Oman (2003), Lili’Uokalani Symphony in honor of the last monarch of Hawaii (1993), his music arrangements for Christmas in Vienna in 1992 featuring Diana Ross, Jose Carreras, and Placido Domingo, as well as the Elegy and Meditation, a composition which the Haydn Festspielen Eisenstadt commissioned Schifrin to write to commemorate the second bicentennial of Joseph Haydn’s death (2009).
As a Jazz musician, Schifrin performed with notable Jazz stars such as Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, Count Basie, Jon Faddis, James Moody, Louie Bellson, Kenny Burrell and Dee Dee Bridgewater. His longtime involvement in both the jazz and symphonic worlds came together beginning in 1993 when he was featured as pianist and conductor for his on-going series of Jazz Meets the Symphony recordings, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, followed by numerous internationally successful performances as well as CD productions.
His 1996 conducted recording of The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saens has been acclaimed by the electronic and print media. The narrations are by Audrey Hepburn, Charlton Heston, James Earl Jones, Dudley Moore, Walter Matthau, and Lynn Redgrave.
Schifrin has been married to his wife, Donna, for more than 30 years with whom he lives in Beverly Hills, L.A.