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Lalo Schifrin

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Lalo Schifrin (born Boris Claudio Schifrin on June 21, 1932) is an Argentine pianist and composer, most famous for composing the “burning-fuse” theme tune from the Mission:Impossible television series.

Lalo Schifrin was born in Buenos Aires of Jewish heritage. His father, Luis Schifrin, led the second violin section of the orchestra at the Colón Theater 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 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 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.

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