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Best known for his "Mission: Impossible" theme song, Lalo Schifrin is an Argentinean-born composer, arranger, pianist, and conductor, whose jazz and classical training earned him tremendous success as a soundtrack composer. Born Boris Claudio Schifrin in Buenos Aires on June 21, 1932, his father was a symphonic violinist, and he began playing piano at age six. He enrolled in the Paris Conservatoire in 1952, hitting the jazz scene by night. After returning to Buenos Aires, Schifrin formed a 16-piece jazz orchestra, which helped him meet Dizzy Gillespie in 1956. Schifrin offered to write Gillespie an extended suite, completing the five-movement Gillespiana in 1958; the same year, he became an arranger for Xavier Cugat. In 1960, he moved to New York City and joined Gillespie's quintet, which recorded "Gillespiana" to much general acclaim. Schifrin became Gillespie's musical director until 1962, contributing another suite in "The New Continent"; he subsequently departed to concentrate on his writing. He also recorded as a leader, most often in Latin jazz and bossa nova settings, and accepted his first film-scoring assignment in 1963 (for Rhino!). Schifrin moved to Hollywood late that year, scoring major successes with his indelible themes to Mission: Impossible and Mannix. Over the next decade, Schifrin would score films like The Cincinnati Kid, Bullitt, Cool Hand Luke, Dirty Harry, and Enter the Dragon. As a jazzer, he wrote the well-received "Jazz Mass" suite in 1965, and delved into stylish jazz-funk with 1975's CTI album Black Widow. Schifrin continued his film work all the way through the '90s; during that decade, he recorded a series of orchestral jazz albums called Jazz Meets the Symphony, and became the principal arranger for the Three Tenors, which complemented his now-dominant interest in composing classical music.
Lalo Schifrin (born June 21, 1932) is an Argentine pianist, composer, arranger and conductor. He is best known for his film and TV scores, such as the "Theme from Mission: Impossible". He has received four Grammy Awards and six Oscar nominations. Schifrin, associated with the jazz music genre, is also noted for work with Clint Eastwood in the late 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, particularly the Dirty Harry films.
Schifrin was born Boris Claudio Schifrin in Buenos Aires to Jewish parents. His father, Luis Schifrin, led the second violin section of the orchestra at the Teatro Colón for three decades. At the age of six, Schifrin began a six-year course of study on piano with Enrique Barenboim, the father of the pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim. At age 16, Schifrin began studying piano with the Greek-Russian expatriate Andreas Karalis, former head of the Kiev Conservatory, and harmony with Argentine composer Juan Carlos Paz. During this time, Schifrin also became interested in jazz.
Although Schifrin studied sociology and law at the University of Buenos Aires, it was music that captured his attention. At age 20, he successfully applied for a scholarship to the Paris Conservatoire. While there, he attended Olivier Messiaen's classes and formally studied with Charles Koechlin, a disciple of Maurice Ravel. At night he played jazz in the Paris clubs. In 1955, Schifrin played piano with Argentinian bandoneon giant Ástor Piazzolla and represented his country at the International Jazz Festival in Paris.
After returning home to Argentina, Schifrin formed a jazz orchestra, a 16-piece band that became part of a popular weekly variety show on Buenos Aires TV. Schifrin also began accepting other film, television and radio assignments. In 1956, Schifrin met Dizzy Gillespie and offered to write an extended work for Gillespie's big band. Schifrin completed the work, Gillespiana, in 1958 (it was recorded in 1960). Later that year Schifrin began working as an arranger for Xavier Cugat's popular Latin dance orchestra.
While in New York in 1960, Schifrin again met Gillespie, who had by this time disbanded his big band for financial reasons. Gillespie invited Schifrin to fill the vacant piano chair in his quintet. Schifrin immediately accepted and moved to New York City. Schifrin wrote a second extended composition for Gillespie, The New Continent, which was recorded in 1962. In 1963, MGM, which had Schifrin under contract, offered the composer his first Hollywood film assignment with the African adventure Rhino!. Schifrin moved to Hollywood late that year. He also radically re-arranged the theme for the popular NBC-TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E., altering original composer Jerry Goldsmith's theme to a jazzy melody emphasizing flutes and exotic percussion, which wound up winning the Emmy award for Best TV Theme in 1965.
One of Schifrin's most recognizable and enduring compositions is the theme music for the long-running TV series Mission: Impossible. It is a distinctive tune written in the uncommon 5/4 time signature. Similarly, Schifrin's theme for the hugely successful Mannix private eye TV show was composed a year earlier in a 3/4 waltz time; Schifrin composed several other jazzy and bluesy numbers over the years as additional incidental music for the show.
Schifrin's "Tar Sequence" from his Cool Hand Luke score (also written in 5/4) was the longtime theme for the Eyewitness News broadcasts on New York station WABC-TV and other ABC affiliates, as well as National Nine News in Australia. CBS Television used part of the theme of his St. Ives soundtrack for its golf broadcasts in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Schifrin's score for Coogan's Bluff in 1968 was the beginning of a long association with Clint Eastwood and director Don Siegel. Schifrin's strong jazz blues riffs were evident in Dirty Harry and, although similar to his Bullitt and Coogan's Bluff, the score for Dirty Harry stood out for the sheer fear it generated when released.
Schifrin's working score for 1973's The Exorcist was rejected by the film's director, William Friedkin. Schifrin had written six minutes of difficult and heavy music for the initial film trailer, but audiences were reportedly frightened by the combination of sights and sounds. Warner Bros. executives told Friedkin to instruct Schifrin to tone it down with softer music, but Friedkin did not relay the message. Schifrin's final score was thrown out into the parking lot. Schifrin reported in an interview that working with Friedkin was one of the most unpleasant experiences in his life.
In the 1998 film Tango, Schifrin returned to the tango music he had grown familiar with while working as Ástor Piazzolla's pianist in the mid-1950s. He brought traditional tango songs to the film as well as introducing compositions of his own in which tango is fused with jazz elements.
In 1997, the composer founded Aleph Records.
He also wrote the main theme for Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow.
Schifrin made a cameo appearance in Red Dragon (2002) as an orchestra conductor.
He is also widely sampled in hip-hop and trip-hop songs, such as Heltah Skeltah's "Prowl" or Portishead's "Sour Times". Both songs sample Schifrin's "Danube Incident", one of many themes he composed for specific episodes of the Mission: Impossible TV series.
On April 23, 2007, Lalo Schifrin presented a concert of film music for the Festival du Film Jules Verne Aventures (aka Festival Jules Verne), at Le Grand Rex theatre in Paris, France – Europe's biggest movie theater – that was caught superbly by Festival leaders for a 73 and a half minute CD named "Lalo Schifrin: Le Concert à Paris."
In 2010, a fictionalised account of Lalo Schifrin's creation of the Mission: Impossible tune was featured in a Lipton TV commercial aired in a number of countries around the world.
Alternative hip hop group Blue Scholars recorded at track entitled "Lalo Schifrin" on their third album Cinemetropolis (2011).
To date, Lalo Schifrin has won four Grammy Awards (with twenty-one nominations), one Cable ACE Award, and received six Oscar nominations, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Film scores 
Feature films, documentaries, and short subjects for which Schifrin provided original music. These include films for which he composed the entire score, and others for which he composed the theme or other partial contributions1957: Venga a bailar el rock1958: The Boss1964: Joy House1964: Rhino!1964: See How They Run (TV movie)1965: Blindfold1965: Dark Intruder1965: Once a Thief1965: The Liquidator1966: I Deal in Danger1966: Murderers' Row1966: The Doomsday Flight (TV movie)1966: The Making of a President: 1964 (TV documentary)1966: Way...Way Out1967: Cool Hand Luke1967: How I Spent My Summer Vacation (TV movie)1967: Sullivan's Empire (TV movie)1967: The Fox1967: The President's Analyst1967: The Venetian Affair1967: Who's Minding the Mint?1968: Braddock (TV movie)1968: Bullitt1968: Coogan's Bluff1968: Hell in the Pacific1968: Sol Madrid1968: The Brotherhood1968: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (TV documentary)1968: Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows1969: Che!1969: Eye of the Cat1969: Mission Impossible Versus the Mob1970: I Love My Wife1970: Imago1970: Kelly's Heroes1970: Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You1970: The Aquarians (TV movie)1970: The Mask of Sheba (TV movie)1970: WUSA1971: Dirty Harry1971: Escape (TV movie)1971: Mrs. Pollifax-Spy1971: Pretty Maids All in a Row1971: The Beguiled1971: The Christian Licorice Store1971: The Hellstrom Chronicle1971: THX 11381972: Joe Kidd1972: Prime Cut1972: Rage1972: The Wrath of God1972: Welcome Home, Johnny Bristol (TV movie)1973: Charley Varrick1973: Egan (TV movie)1973: Enter the Dragon1973: Harry in Your Pocket1973: Hit!1973: Hunter (TV movie)1973: Magnum Force1973: The Neptune Factor1974: Golden Needles1974: Man on a Swing1974: Night Games (TV movie)1974: The Four Musketeers1974: Up from the Ape (documentary)1975: Delancey Street: The Crisis Within (TV movie)1975: Foster and Laurie (TV movie)1975: Guilty or Innocent: The Sam Sheppard Murder Case (TV movie)1975: The Master Gunfighter1976: Brenda Starr (TV movie)1976: Sky Riders1976: Special Delivery1976: St. Ives1976: The Eagle Has Landed1976: Voyage of the Damned1977: Day of the Animals1977: Good Against Evil (TV movie)1977: Rollercoaster1977: Telefon1978: Nunzio1978: Return from Witch Mountain1978: The Cat from Outer Space1978: The Manitou1978: The Nativity (TV movie)1978: The President's Mistress (TV movie)1979: Boulevard Nights1979: Escape to Athena1979: Institute for Revenge (TV movie)1979: Love and Bullets1979: The Amityville Horror1979: The Concorde ... Airport '791980: Brubaker1980: Serial1980: The Big Brawl1980: The Competition1980: The Nude Bomb1980: When Time Ran Out1981: Buddy Buddy1981: Caveman1981: La pelle1981: Loophole1981: The Fridays of Eternity1982: A Stranger Is Watching1982: Amityville II: The Possession1982: Class of 19841982: Falcon's Gold (TV movie)1982: Fast-Walking1982: The Seduction1982: Victims (TV movie)1982: Wait Until Dark (TV movie)1983: Doctor Detroit1983: Princess Daisy (TV movie)1983: Rita Hayworth: The Love Goddess (TV movie)1983: Starflight: The Plane That Couldn't Land (TV movie)1983: Sudden Impact1983: The Osterman Weekend1983: The Sting II1984: Spraggue (TV movie)1984: Tank1985: Bad Medicine1985: Bridge Across Time (TV movie)1985: Command 5 (TV movie)1985: Private Sessions (TV movie)1985: The Mean Season1985: The New Kids1986: Beverly Hills Madam (TV movie)1986: Black Moon Rising1986: Kung Fu: The Movie (TV movie)1986: The Ladies Club1986: Triplecross (TV movie)1987: Out on a Limb (TV movie)1987: The Fourth Protocol1988: Berlín Blues1988: Shakedown on the Sunset Strip (TV movie)1988: The Dead Pool1989: Original Sin (TV movie)1989: Return from the River Kwai1989: The Neon Empire (TV movie)1990: Face to Face] (TV movie)1991: F/X21993: The Beverly Hillbillies1995: Manhattan Merengue!1996: Scorpion Spring1997: Money Talks1998: Rush Hour1998: Something to Believe In1998: Tango2001: Culture Clash: West Meets East (video documentary short)2001: Jackie Chan's Hong Kong Tour (video documentary short)2001: Longshot2001: Rush Hour 22002: Tom the Cat (short)2003: Bringing Down the House2004: After the Sunset2004: Biyik (short)2004: The Bridge of San Luis Rey2006: Abominable2007: Rush Hour 32007: Ultrasordine (short)2008: Autour de 'Rush Hour 3' en 80 mots (video documentary)2009: Mission Impossible (short)2011: No Rest for the Wicked: A Basil & Moebius Adventure (short)2011: Love Story2013: Sweetwater