Laurent Cipriani / AP The three-time Oscar winner, songwriter and pianist Michel Legrand died Saturday at his home in France. He was 86.
The conservatoire-trained musician worked across genres, but was best known as a prolific composer of film scores, including The Windmills of Your Mind and I Will Wait For You.
Throughout his career, Legrand played jazz piano, sang, conducted, produced records, wrote music for Hollywood films and collaborated with stars such as Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand. "
" Since I was a boy, my ambition has been to be completely surrounded by music, "Legrand said on his website," My dream is not to miss anything. That's why I've never committed myself to music discipline. "
Its breadth did not diminish its depth: its awards, according to its website, were three Oscars, five Grammys and two top prizes at the Cannes Film Festival.
French President Emmanuel Macron condoled the Legrand family. 19659008] "His inimitable sounds, running through our heads and buzzing in the street, have become like the soundtracks of our lives," he wrote on Twitter . "They are the tunes of an era today."
Born in Paris in 1932, Legrand entered the Paris Conservatory as a child, an experience he described as obvious and motivating.
After completing Conservatory, he traveled with Maurice Chevalier as musical accompanist. Later he began composing and turned to film music in the mid-fifties. His collaborators in the film world included Jean-Luc Godard, Agnès Varda, François Reichenbach and Jacques Demy.
"The Umbrellas of Cherbourg", the musical played by Legrand in 1964 directed by Demy, drew skepticism because of its unusual format – the cast, directed by a young Catherine Deneuve – sang the dialogue – but won the grand prize at the festival in Cannes that year.
"Jacques and I really had to work hard to get this project off the ground," Legrand said in the comments on his website. "The producers showed us the door and said," They are some nice young people people, but do you really believe that people will spend an hour and a half listening to the characters singing the little platitudes of life!
Several years later, Legrand earned his first Oscar for The Windmills of Wife Your Mind, from the movie "The Thomas Crown Affair" (1968) .The Academy awarded him two more points for scoring The Summer of 42 and Yentl He was nominated more than a dozen times.
He rejected any hierarchy among the musical genres and rejected the idea of a linear "career." He described instead, as an eternal learner.
"I want to be aware of what I can do, even if it goes too far," he said, "if I want my ship to continue sailing on the waves, I'll have new sails Try and see where they bring me. "
In 2015, a listener told NPR of his personal appreciation for Legrand, and Kevin Gibbs said that while working in a jazz club in the 1970s, he met a woman and remembered her she with a legran d-song forever associated.
"I believe that all the good that has happened to me since this night owes a great debt to this first love experience so long ago," he said, citing the final lines of Legrand's Once Upon a Summertime ,
"Now another winter season has come and gone.
The pigeons feed square have flown.
But I remember when the vespers sounded
They once loved me in a summertime."