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April 27, 2018
Lalo Schifrin Honored by SACEM
Jean-Michel Bernard tributes Schifrin in performance at Steinway by Jon Burlingame

French Consul General Christophe Lemoine honors Lalo Schifrin

French Consul General Christophe Lemoine honors Lalo Schifrin
Photo by Marilee Bradford

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.—Veteran composer Lalo Schifrin was honored for his long and distinguished career by the French performing-rights society SACEM Thursday night in Beverly Hills.

The presentation, at the home of the French Consul General, followed a spectacular performance of Schifrin music by French composer-pianist Jean-Michel Bernard at the Steinway Piano Gallery in Beverly Hills.

"His work is a source of inspiration even today," Consul General Christophe Lemoine told the crowd of composers, music executives and friends celebrating with champagne and fine French wine.

SACEM chief executive officer Jean-Noel Tronc cited Schifrin's seminal experiences studying at the Paris Conservatory and playing jazz there in the 1950s, and his ability "to reinvent film music" by combining jazz and classical elements.

Schifrin was presented with SACEM's "Rythme" medal. Schifrin spoke about the importance of three countries in his career: Argentina, where he was born into a musical family; France, where he studied with French composer Olivier Messiaen; and America, where he found enduring success in both the jazz ("the classical music of the United States," he said) and film worlds.

Earlier in the evening, about 70 members of the music community were treated to a private performance by pianist Bernard at the Steinway showroom. Varese executive producer Robert Townson served as host.

Jean-Michel Bernard performs Shifrin classics as the composer looks on

Jean-Michel Bernard performs Shifrin classics as the composer looks on
Photo by Marilee Bradford

Bernard played such Schifrin classics as Mannix, "The Cat" and a particularly creative mashup of the two themes from Mission: Impossible (the title theme and "The Plot") with Chopin. For Schifrin's Cool Hand Luke and Bullitt he was joined by flutist Sara Andon; for The Cincinnati Kid, cellist Cecilia Tsan; and all three musicians performed the finale, Schifrin's "Tango del Atardecer."

Bernard also plays music of his own, including themes from The Science of Sleep and Love at First Child, part of an eclectic program that also included music by Bach, Erroll Garner, Art Tatum, John Williams (E.T.), Jerry Goldsmith (Chinatown) and Alan Silvestri (Forrest Gump).

©2018 Jon Burlingame
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