"Study harmony, study counterpoint, study orchestration, and all the composition. And not only that, but see a lot of opera. Because if you want to write for film or television, you have to have a sensitivity for what is dramatic."
About This Interview
In his one-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Lalo Schifrin talks about his early musical influences and studies, including his years in Paris studying with noted composer Olivier Messiaen. He speaks about coming to the United States and working with famed jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie— joining his band and recording numerous LPs with him. He describes his entrance into writing music for television, working under head of Universal's TV music, Stanley Wilson. He comments on some of the early projects he worked on including the series Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre and the television movie See How They Run. He looks back on the television series for which he is most associated, Mission: Impossible, for which he composed the now world-famous theme music, set against a lit fuse in the memorable opening titles. Among the other series he discusses, for which he scored the theme and episodic music, were Mannix and Medical Center. He then describes his compositions for several notable television documentaries including: The Making of the President—1964, The Hidden World of Insects, and The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. For the later documentary, he recalls that the dramatic cantata he wrote was later performed at the Hollywood Bowl. He also speaks about his compositions outside of television, and acknowledges that a notable piece from his Cool Hand Luke score was later used as the Eyewitness News theme. Jon Burlingame conducted the interview in Beverly Hills, CA on October 3, 2008.