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Michel Legrand

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#1 Aratta-Kingdom



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Posted 24 November 2007 - 04:22 AM

Michel Legrand

Michel Legrand and "Jacques Demy invented, with 'The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,' a new genre: neither a musical comedy, nor an opera-simply, a movie that is just sung."

This multitalented and versatile artist is a classical pianist, composer, jazzman, singer, and director. He has won two Academy awards (for the music of "The Thomas Crown Affair," in 1968, and "Yentl," in 1983), and has collaborated with a number of artists, including Clint Eastwood ( in "Breezy"), Agnès Varda ( in Cléo de 5 à 7), Claude Lelouche (in "Partir Revenir"). He has played with any number of the greats of Jazz, and has performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1993. But very few people know that Legrand is part Armenian.

In his own words: "My maternal grandfather was named Sarkis Der Mikaelian. In 1917, he fled the genocide He was a true Armenian: excessive, passionate, generous , the very expression of happiness. I lived in his house in Asnières [, a suburb of Paris], with my mother, for six years. Sometimes, on Sundays, he would drag me to the Armenian church in Jean Goujon street [in Paris proper]. These long ceremonies used to bore me! [Grandfather] owned an oud [and] lots of records of Om Kalsoum [the famous Egyptian singer] whom he adored. [Also,] the band leader Jacques Hélian was my uncle... Eight years ago, I spent a week in Yerevan with my sister. We found some of our kin. It was, on my part a curiosity concerning my roots... Performing with the Yerevan Philharmonic [afforded] a great joy. I had the feeling of rediscovering cousins, if not brothers. It was beautiful, moving."



Birth Name
Michel Jean Legrand

Mini Biography
Michel Legrand is a three times Academy Award-winning French composer, conductor and pianist who composed over 200 film and television scores as well as recorded over a hundred albums of jazz, popular and classical music.

He was born on February 24, 1932, in Becon-les-Bruyeres, in the Paris suburbs, France. His father, Raymond Legrand, was a French composer and actor. His mother, Marcelle der Mikaelian, was descended from the Armenian bourgeousie. From 1942 - 1949 young Legrand studied piano at the Paris Conservatoire. There his teachers were Nadia Boulanger and Henri Challan among other renown musicians. He received numerous awards for his skills in composition and piano and mastered a dozen other instruments. In 1947 he attended a concert by Dizzy Gillespie and caught a jazz bug. He started working as a pianist for major French singers. He eventually collaborated with Dizzy Gillespie on several albums and film scores.

In 1954 Legrand became an overnight star after his album "I Love Paris" became a hit, it went on selling over 8 million copies. He followed the success with such albums as "Holiday in Rome" (1955) and "Michel Legrand Plays Cole Porter" (1957). In 1958 he was invited to play at Moscow Festival of Students and Youth. There, in Moscow, he met his future wife, a young French model with who he went on to have three children.

In the late 1950s and 1960s Legrand was caught up in the French New Wave. He scored seven films for jean-Luc Godard, he also made ten films with Jacques Demy, and became responsible for creating the genre of musical in the French Cinema. In 1963 Legrand did Parapluies de Cherbourg, Les (1964), the first film musical that was entirely sung. For that film score he received three Oscar nominations. His beautiful, haunting melody, "I Will Wait For You", received nomination for Best Original Song.

In 1966 Legrand decided to take his chances in Hollywood, and moved to Los Angeles with his wife and three children. His friendship with Quincy Jones and Hank Mancini helped him a great deal, especially in meeting the lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman. In 1969 Legrand won his first Oscar for Best Music, Original Song for "The Windmills of Your Mind" and was also nominated for Best Music, Original score for a Motion Picture for The Thomas Crown Affair (1968). Eventually Legrand went on to become a star in the US, he received twelve nominations for Academy Awards, and won two more Oscars. He was also nominated for a Grammy 27 times and received 5 Grammys in the 1970s.

In the 1980s and 1990s Legrand continued giving live concerts with his own jazz trio. He also led his big band which he took on several international tours, accompanying such stars as Ray Charles, Diana Ross, Bjork, and Stephane Grappelli who celebrated his 85th birthday in 1992. He also recorded several classical albums, including an album with cross-genre hits entitled "Kiri Sings Michel Legrand" with the opera singer Kiri te Kanawa. During the 2000s Legrand has been working mainly in the studio, and also made several international tours.

In 2005 a compilation of Legrand's best known film soundtracks was released under the title "Le Cinema de Michel Legrand", featuring 90 songs composed in the course of his career.

Son of composer Raymond Legrand, and brother of singer Christiane Legrand.

Was nominated for Broadway's 2003 Tony Award as Best Original Music Score, his music with lyrics by Didier Van Cauwelaert and English adaptation by Jeremy Sams, for "Amour."

Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1990.


Edited by Aratta-Kingdom, 24 November 2007 - 04:23 AM.

#2 Aratta-Kingdom



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Posted 07 February 2009 - 11:52 AM


Derby Evening Telegraph
Feb 6 2009

MICHEL Legrand has had bad night. Nocturnal noises at his London hotel
have kept the veteran composer awake through most of the small hours
but he's far too polite to cancel our morning chat.

He shrugs off the lack of sleep in typically Gallic fashion and begins
to reminisce about a musical career spanning more than half a century.

Born in Paris in 1932, of Armenian descent, Michel has composed more
than 200 film and television scores, several musicals and recorded
more than 100 albums.

He studied music at the Paris Conservatoire from 1943-50, beginning
at the age of 11 in Nazi-occupied territory.

"I was very young. We had nothing to eat, no heat when we were cold
in winter but we had our music and we carried on working," he says

"When I finished my classical studies I was 20 and needed to make
my living so I became an accompanist for singers in Paris. I was
accompanying lousy singers, singing out of tune but slowly it was
better singers, my own orchestrations and then a chance to make

Those jazz-influenced records became some of the biggest instrumental
hits of the post-war years and gave Michel a chance to write film

"In 1959 in Paris the New Wave of cinema started," he says. "New
directors with new ideas who wanted new technicians, new cameramen, new
composers. I had done a lot of instrumental albums these film-makers
liked and they asked me to do their film music - which I did for the
next 10 years."

But it was the 1965 international hit The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
that Michel conceived with director Jacques Demy that opened doors
in Hollywood.

A sung-through musical with no dialogue starring Catherine Deneuve,
it was as revolutionary in the 60s as Moulin Rouge was this decade.

"Jacques and I loved musical films," says Michel. "But we didn't want
to copy Americans and wanted something different and French.

"It was hard to find a producer and we did it with almost no money
but it was a big success. They said it wouldn't work but we were
stubborn and did it in spite of everything else.

"After that I told the French directors 'don't call me anymore,
I'm going to Hollywood'. I scored a little comedy first and then The
Thomas Crown Affair- an extraordinary opportunity and the film was
a big success and won me my first Oscar."

The Steve McQueen film also contained the song Windmills of Your Mind
which remains one of the most popular in the Legrand repertoire. It
started a run of 13 Oscar, five Grammy and one Emmy nominations.

"It's all a nice bit of sugar but it doesn't make me write better or
worse," says Michel.

Now, at the age of 76, he's bringing British audiences a taste of
his music with the help of one-time Alison Moyet.

"I knew Alison's work very well so it was a pleasure to do a tour
with her and I came to London to organise it and orchestrate it and
now we are going to do these concerts together. It's only my music
that she will sing on this tour but it suits her really well."

The concert is one of the highlights of the Four-Four Time Festival
in Buxton (see panel). "It's a new adventure for me and I love an
adventure," says Michel.

But before he embarks on the tour, he will need a few better nights'

"When someone tries to smoke in a hotel these days it starts off all
the sirens and there was a chain smoker who set off alarms all night
long," he says. "Tonight has to be better - I will arrange it."

Michel Legrand (with special guest Alison Moyet) WHERE: Buxton
Opera House.

WHEN: Tuesday, February 17 at 7.30pm.

TICKETS: £30 and £35.

CALL: 0845 127 2190.

#3 Yervant1


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Posted 27 January 2019 - 12:03 PM

Panorama, Armenia
Jan 26 2019
11:44 26/01/2019
Oscar-winning French-Armenian composer Michel Legrand dies aged 87

Famous composer and pianist Michel Legrand has dies at the age of 87, Ria Novosti agency reported. Michel Legrand was a musical composer, jazz and classical pianist and an accomplished arranger and conductor who performed with orchestras all over the world.

Legrand was born in the Bécon les Bruyères district of Courbevoie, a suburb of Paris, France in 1932. His father Raymond Legrand was a conductor and composer renowned for hits such as Irma la douce, and his mother was Marcelle Der Mikaëlian (sister of conductor Jacques Hélian), who married Legrand Senior in 1929. His maternal grandfather was of Armenian descent.

Legrand has composed more than two hundred film and television scores and several musicals and has made well over a hundred albums. He has won three Oscars (out of 13 nominations) and five Grammys and has been nominated for an Emmy. He was twenty-two when his first album, I Love Paris, became one of the best-selling instrumental albums ever released.


#4 Yervant1


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Posted 27 January 2019 - 12:04 PM

Panorama, Armenia
Jan 26 2019
In memory of Michel Legrand - “Armenian music flows in my blood”

French-Armenian composer Michel Legrand, who won three Oscars during a career spanning more than half a century, has died aged 87. Legrand, who had been scheduled to hold concerts in Paris in April, died during the night, his spokesman told Agence France-Presse on Saturday.

In memory of the world-known musician, we recall his last visit to Armenia in 2012. Legrand’s visit came in the scope of the Yerevan 6th International Music Festival. The Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra and City Lights Entertainment (London) gave a joint concert in honor of his on his 80th birthday.

During interactions with Armenian media, Legrand spoke much of his Armenian roots and feelings toward the second motherland.

To remind, Legrand’s maternal grandfather - Sarkis Der Mikaelian was Armenian. In 1917, he fled the Armenian genocide and settled in France.

On Armenia
Armenia holds a special place in my heart. My Armenian grandpa died in 1942. As I lived for I 10 years with him learnt much about Armenia. He used to show the chords on piano to accompany Armenian national music instruments. His love toward Armenia was filled with sorrow. When I visited Armenia for the first time in 2009, I met with my extended family members I had never heard before. I have equally suffered along with Armenians for past grievances,” Legrand said.

Оn age
I do not feel fettered because of my age. In general, I'm not interested in birthday celebrations. I consider them as routine things, stages that pass.

On the past life
I wouldn't like to go through certain periods of my life as I am not attached to the past.

On key to happiness
I find it difficult to answer what the happiness is…For me, may be it is about dedication of your life to music. Music is my passion, that’s why I create, improvise and work so hard.

To note, during the visit Legrand was hosted by then president Serzh Sargsyan. “Every time I have a chance to visit Armenia, I feel, I return back to my roots. It’s cordial for me and Armenian music flows in my blood,” M. Legrand said at the meeting. 



#5 Yervant1


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Posted 27 January 2019 - 12:04 PM

Panorama, Armenia
Jan 26 2019
Sport 13:43 26/01/2019 Armenia
French Ambassador tweets in Armenian in memory of Michel Legrand

Ambassador of France to Armenia Jonathan Lacôte took to Twitter to pay homage to the memory of French-Armenian composer and pianist Michel Legrand who passed away aged 87 on Saturday.

“Melodies of Michel Legrand will be heard from all cafes and houses of Armenia to show no one has forgotten the Armenian roots of this universal artist, and everyone is proud of his world fame,” Jonathan Lacôte tweeted in Armenian.


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