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 Obituary, Michel Legrand (1932-2019)

Michel LegrandThe French composer, jazz pianist, conductor and arranger Michel Legrand has died in Paris aged 86.

Born on 24th February 1932, Legrand trained with Nadia Boulanger at the Paris Conservatoire and began his career as an arranger and accompanist, working regularly with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Edith Piaf and Ray Charles. His score for the through-composed romantic comedy The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (directed by Jacques Demy and starring Catherine Deneuve) in 1964 launched a relationship with Hollywood that would last for over half a century; he went onto compose well over a hundred film-scores, winning Academy Awards for The Thomas Crown Affair (1969), Summer of ‘42 (1972), and Yentl (1984). He also notched up a dozen Golden Globe nominations (winning Best Original Song for The Windmills of Your Mind, composed for The Thomas Crown Affair) and four Grammy Awards, and in 2018 had an asteroid named after him in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the world of cinema.

Though perhaps best known for his cinematic scores, Legrand also composed numerous classical concert works (including a Cello Concerto and Violin Concerto); in addition to his work with jazz legends such as Miles Davis, Stan Getz, John Coltrane and Stephane Grappelli, he regularly collaborated with classical performers such as Kiri Te Kanawa, Natalie Dessay, and the French period-instrument orchestra Les Siècles (with whom he gave a concert in Paris only last month).

Natalie Dessay sings Michel Legrand

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Michel Legrand (piano), Henri Demarquette (cello), Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Mikko Franck

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Legrand: Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (DVD)

Marie Oppert (Geneviève Emery), Natalie Dessay (Madame Emery), Vincent Niclo (Guy Foucher), Laurent Naouri (Roland Cassard), Louise Leterme (Madeleine)

Orchestre national d’Ile-de-France, Michel Legrand

Available Format: DVD Video

Marie Oppert (Geneviève Emery), Natalie Dessay (Madame Emery), Vincent Niclo (Guy Foucher), Laurent Naouri (Roland Cassard), Louise Leterme (Madeleine)

Orchestre national d’Ile-de-France, Michel Legrand (conductor) & Vincent Vittoz (stage director)

Available Format: Blu-ray

Celebrated Film Scores, Jazz Tunes and Chansons

Available Format: DVD Video