SUISA mourns the passing of member Michel Legrand

On Saturday morning, the French composer, pianist, singer and arranger Michel Legrand passed away at the age of 86. Legrand was one of the world’s most important film score composers and won three Oscars and five Grammys, among other awards, for his compositions. In addition to film scores, he was passionate about jazz music and worked together with artists such as Edith Piaf, Ray Charles, Barbara Streisand and Frank Sinatra. Legrand had been a member of SUISA since 1998.

Michel Legrand

(Photo: Mykhailo Koifman / Shutterstock)

Michel Legrand was born in Paris in 1932 and was raised in a musical environment. His father was the director of a vaudeville orchestra and his older sister, Christiana, was a member of the a capella vocal group The Swingle Singers. After finishing his studies at the Conservatoire de Paris, he first focused on chanson and jazz, working together with greats such as Maurice Chevalier, Charles Trenet, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis, before increasingly moving towards film scores by the end of the 1950s.

His most famous works include the score to the film The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, which won the Palme D’Or in Cannes and was nominated for five Oscars. Legrand won Oscars for the title song of The Thomas Crown Affair, ‘The Windmills of Your Mind’, as well as for the scores to Summer of ’42 and Yentl. He has also been awarded five Grammys.

As a pianist, Legrand worked together with musicians such as Donald Byrd, John Coltrane and Miles Davis. Legrand continued to perform at concerts as a piano player and soloist until the end of his life, with a world tour also planned for this year.

Michel Legrand became a SUISA member in 1998 and leaves behind an impressive body of work.