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Michel Legrand

 michel legrand

Olivier Jauffrit of radio station Paris Chanson chooses Michel Legrand as one of his favourite French composers…

Born 24 February 1932 to conductor and composer Raymond Legrand (he composed the hit Irma la Douce), Michel Legrand followed in his father’s footsteps.

A creative and prolific composer he has, in his more than half a century career produced in excess of 200 film and TV scores, is a musical arranger, a conductor and a pianist. His influence in the musical world goes far beyond the boundaries of his native France.

Nominated for an Oscar 13 times, he holds three of the golden statues, he has five Grammys and has been nominated for an Emmy. Among the most famous of his film scores are the Oscar winning “Summer of ’42″, “The Thomas Crown Affair”, “Ice Station Zebra”, “Yentl” and “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg” (“The Umbrellas of Cherbourg”).

His first album at the age of 22 entitled “I Love Paris” became one of the best-selling instrumental albums ever released.

He has made more than 100 albums, conducted orchestras around the world, worked with the greatest musicians of the world from Ella Fitzgerald to Frank Sinatra. Legrand does jazz, classic and other styles as a pianist and has composed scores for musicals including on Broadway.

You might think that this would all have left Michel Legrand satisfied and ready to hang up his conductor’s baton, put down his composing pen and drop the lid of his piano in his 81st year but – you would be wrong.

He is one of France’s most well-known musicians around the world – and he is still touring (following his 80th birthday series of concerts in 2012!), with the show “Nathalie Dessay chante Michel Legrand”. One date that we’re particularly looking forward to is the 3rd of December concert which will be held in Prague’s magnificent Opera House. A fantastic concert in a wonderful city, sounds like a good plan…

Paris Chanson has selected the instrumental version (live) of one of Legrand’s greatest classics (Les parapluies de Cherbourg – Umbrellas of Cherbourg). You thought you knew how to play piano? Try this…

By Olivier Jauffrit

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