This Week In Music

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Composer, pianist, and conductor Boris Claudio "Lalo" Schifrin grew up in a musical family in Buenos Aires, Argentina where he was playing piano at age six. Schifrin enrolled in the Paris Conservatoire in 1952 and while in Paris, became an evening habitué of the jazz scene to satisfy his fascination with contemporary music. During his distinguished career Schifrin worked with such greats as Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, Count Basie, Louie Bellson, Kenny Burrell, and others.

Following the conservatory, Schifrin returned to Buenos Aires; formed a 16-piece jazz orchestra; wrote a suit for Dizzie Gillespie, whom he had met; and became an arranger for bandleader Xavier Cugat. In 1958 Schifrin moved to New York, joined Gillespie's quintet and not long after, became Gillespie's musical director. As leader of his own band, Schifrin recorded mainly Latin jazz and bossa nova arrangements, but his wide-ranging musical tastes soon were expressed in the more than 100 film and television scores the he composed. His virtually unforgettable theme to "Mission: Impossible" exemplifies Schifrin's strongly rhythmic, emotionally charged, and memorable music.

Schifrin continued to experiment with jazz and jazz-funk through the '60s and '70s, and was writing themes for Hollywood through the 1990s. Another interesting turn in his career was his stint as music arranger for the Three Tenors, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, and Jose Carreras. More recently, Schifrin returned to his classical roots, spending time as a conductor and penning more than 60 works for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, and other celebrated orchestras.


One of Italian maestro Arturo Toscanini's most celebrated performances as an orchestral conductor took place almost accidentally. At the time Toscanini was a professional cellist performing with a travelling orchestra in South America. During a performance of Verdi's Aida the sophisticated but unimpressed Rio de Janeiro audience forced the assigned conductor to flee the stage.

Toscanini, then only 19-years-old and possessed of a photographic memory, reportedly rushed to the lectern and successfully conducted the rest of the opera from memory to the great appreciation and applause of the audience. The sensational performance garnered Toscanini praise throughout the world of opera, and by 1898 he was principal conductor of the La Scala opera house.

Considered a master of operatic interpretation, Toscanini's brilliant career included stints in the United States conducting the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and a special symphonic orchestra set up just for him by NBC radio, which he continued to direct until just days before his 87th birthday.


Week of June 13, 2011
Event: New York Jazz Museum Opens

Birthday: Marcus Miller Born June 14, 1959

Week of June 06, 2011
Event: Jelly Roll Morton Records "Jelly Roll Blues" As a Piano Solo

Birthday: Bill Watrous Born June 08, 1939

Week of May 30, 2011
Event: 1962 Bandleader Benny Goodman Leads The First American Jazz Band to Play In The Soviet Union

Birthday: Benny Goodman Born May 30, 1909

Week of May 23, 2011
Event: "In a Precursor to Outdoor Rock Festivals, Ray Charles and B.B. King Perform For 9,000 Fans in Atlanta

Birthday: Miles Davis Born May 26, 1926

Week of May 16, 2011
Event: "When The Saints Go Marching In" Recorded by Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra

Birthday: Woody Herman Born May 16, 1913

Week of May 2, 2011
Event: New York's Philharmonic Hall at Lincoln Center Announces Addition of Rock, Pop, and Jazz Concerts

Birthday: Maynard Ferguson Born May 4, 1928

Week of April 25, 2011
Event: At Decca Studios Charlie Parker Made His First Commercial Recording April 30, 1941

Birthday: Duke Ellington Born April 29, 1899

Week of April 18, 2011
Event: Pipeless Organ Patented by Laurens Hammond April 24, 1934

Birthday: Tito Puente Born April 20, 1923

Week of April 4, 2011
Event: Herp Alpert Born April 4, 1939

Birthday: Freddie Hubbard Born April 7, 1938

Week of March 28, 2011
Birthday: Michael Brecker Born March 29, 1949

Birthday: Herp Alpert Born March 31, 1935

Week of March 14, 2011
Event: Joseph Haydn's Surprise Symphony Is Performed for the First Time March 23, 1792

Birthday: Johann Sebastian Bach Born March 21, 1685

Week of March 7, 2011
Event: Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians Recorded Auld Lang Syne March 7, 1939

Birthday: Leon Bismark (Bix) Beiderbecke March 10, 1903

Week of February 28, 2011
Event: Miles Davis Records "Kind of Blue" on Columbia Records March 2, 1959
Birthday: Frédéric Chopin Marc 1, 1810

Week of February 21, 2011
Event: Duke Ellington Records "The Queen's Suite"
Birthday: Dexter Gordon February 27, 1923

Week of February 14, 2011
Event: Sonny Rollins Records his Title Track "The Bridge" February 14, 1962
Birthday: Buddy DeFranco February 17, 1923

Week of February 7, 2011
Event: Rhapsody in Blue is Performed for the First Time February 12, 1924
Birthday: Marion "Buddy" Childers February 12, 1926

Week of January 31, 2011
Event: Frank Sinatra Debuts on Radio's "Your Hit Parade" February 6, 1943
Birthday: Stanley "Stan" Getz February 2, 1927

Week of January 24, 2011
Event: Original Dixieland Jazz Band Makes the First Jazz Record January 30, 1917
Birthday: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart January 27, 1756