Lalo Schifrin, Argentina’s “cool maestro,” has written more than 100 scores for television and films. These include the unforgettable themes to Mission Impossible, Mannix, Cool Hand Luke, Dirty Harry and Rush Hour. During his long, illustrious career he received four Grammy awards and six Oscar nominations.
Boris Claudio Schifrin was born in Buenos Aires on June 21, 1932. His father, who was a symphonic violinist, saw the early promise of musical talent in his son, and he started “Lalo’s” music lessons when he was six.
Schifrin received his classical training in Argentina and in France at the Paris Conservatory of Music. While a student in the “City of Light," he quickly became involved with a new, modern, musical style: jazz. In 1955 he played piano with the musician who later became known as the “father of the modern Tango,” Astor Piazzolla, and he represented Argentina in the International Jazz Festival in Paris.
When he returned to Buenos Aires, Schifrin formed a 16-piece jazz band. His band brought him in contact with jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie. Their meeting changed the course of his career.
Schifrin composed a jazz suite for Gillespie called Gillespiana. Soon after it was recorded, Gillespie offered him the opportunity to fill a vacant position in his quintet. Schifrin moved to New York to join Gillespie’s band without hesitation.By 1963 Schifrin was under contract to MGM in Hollywood. After the studio offered him his first film assignment on the African adventure film Rhino in 1963, he began planning his move to California. For the next fifty years Argentina’s “cool maestro,” Lalo Schifrin, collaborated with some of Hollywood’s best known film makers making him one of the most significant contributors to film music in the history of the industry.