Composers Datebook®

Lalo Schifrin

Lalo Schifrin (b. 1932) Hommage a Ravel Eaken Piano Trio Naxos 8.559062 Lalo Schifrin (b. 1932) Theme fr Mission Impossible studio orchestra BBC Records 763

Composers Datebook for June 21, 2020


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June 21, 2020


Today's the birthday of the versatile Argentinean-born American composer, arranger and jazz pianist, Boris Claudio "Lalo" Schifrin, who was born in Buenos Aires on today's date in 1932. From his background, you'd guess Schifrin was destined for a concert career. His father was a violinist in the orchestra of Argentina's premiere opera house, the Teatro Colon. As a boy he studied with Enrique Barenboim, father of pianist/conductor Daniel Barenboim, and in Paris he studied composition with Olivier Messiaen and Charles Koechlin.

But Lalo Schifrin also loved jazz, and after studies by day with Messiaen, his nights were spent performing in Parisian jazz clubs. Eventually Dizzy Gillespie commissioned him to write for his band.

Around the same time, Schrifin began writing film and TV scores. When he started working on the TV series "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," he came into contact with legendary film composer Bernard Herrmann, who became a friend and mentor. Schifrin has written more than 100 scores for film and television, garnering Grammy awards and Oscar nominations along the way. Undoubtedly his most famous composition is this catchy theme of the 1960s TV series, "Mission Impossible"—and still used in the subsequent movie remakes.

For the concert hall, Schifrin has composed concertos and arrangements for cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, and guitarist Angel Romero, and was the arranger of choice for those "Three Tenor" song medleys sung by Pavarotti, Carreras and Domingo.

Music Played in Today's Program

Lalo Schifrin (b. 1932) Hommage a Ravel Eaken Piano Trio Naxos 8.559062

Lalo Schifrin (b. 1932) Theme fr Mission Impossible studio orchestra BBC Records 763

On This Day


  • 1732 - German composer Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach (9th son of J.S.), in Leipzig;

  • 1862 - American pianist and composer Henry Holden Huss, in Newark, N.J.;

  • 1892 - Swedish composer Hilding Rosenberg, in Bosjökloster (Ringsjon, Skane);

  • 1932 - Argentinian-born American composer Lalo Schifrin, in Buenos Aires; He wrote the famous "Mission Impossible" TV theme;


  • 1908 - Russian composer Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, age 64, in Lyubensk, near St. Petersburg (Julian date: June 8);

  • 2000 - American composer Allan Hovhaness, age 89, in Seattle;


  • 1868 - Wagner: opera "Die Meistersinger von Nürenberg" (The Mastersingers of Nuremberg), in Munich at the Hofoper;

  • 1890 - R. Strauss: tone-poem "Death and Transfiguration" and "Burleske" for Piano and Orchestra, in Eisenach, at a convention of the General German Music Association, with the composer conducting and Eugen d'Albert as the piano soloist in the "Burleske";

  • 1898 - Fauré: incidental music, "Pelléas et Mélisande," in London;

  • 1980 - Peter Maxwell Davies: "Farwell to Stromness" for piano, at the St. Magnus Festival in Orkney, performed by the composer;

  • 1980 - Persichetti: "Mirror Etudes," in Lawton, Oklah., by pianist Virginia Sircy;

  • 1985 - Rautavaara: "Thomas," in Joensuu, Finland.

  • 1994 - Philip Glass: opera "La Belle et la Bête" (Beauty and the Beast) based on the film by Jean Cocteau), by the Philip Glass Ensemble, in Gibellina, Italy;