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Without Lalo Shifrin, there would be no iconic “M:I” theme music! June 21 composer birthday.

Station Blog2018-6-19By: Classical Staff

Good morning, Classical Music Lover. Your mission, should you decide to accept it …


“Good morning, Mr. Phelps. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to [insert ridiculously difficult mission here]. As always, should you or any member of your M:I Force be caught or killed, the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds.” These words seared themselves permanently onto the brain of this kid sister of a brother who loved (and still does) TV shows with car chases, explosions, and missions, not to mention exploring “where no man has gone before” (isn’t it great that Leonard Nimoy joined the M:I series?). I also recall that every time The Matriarch (my mom) wandered by the TV set during this recorded message, she would sputter in contempt, “Bad grammar. Everybody KNOWS it should be ‘self-destroy.’” Not bad for whom English is a second language.

When I look back at the dates of the original TV series “Mission: Impossible”, I would have been a toddler when it originally aired, so I’m guessing my brother Jamie was all over the re-runs, and since I had no say in what to watch when he was around, I learned to like cop shows and crime dramas (which I sill I do, along with science fiction). The theme music for Mission: Impossible is one of the most iconic ever composed in television. The series eventually lead to a re-boot in the 80’s, and then the films in the 90’s starring Tom Cruise.

Composer Lalo Shifrin not only wrote Mission: Impossible, but also Mannix, a private eye TV series (that I also watched alongside the bro) and music for Clint Eastwood films such as Coogan’s Bluff and the Dirty Harry series. Schifrin has some amazing classical and jazz connections; he studied piano with Enrique Barenboim, father of pianist and conductor Daniel, and with Andreas Karalis, former head of the Kiev Conservatory. While a student at the Paris Conservatoire, he played jazz in the clubs at night, and performed with bandoneon legend Astor Piazzolla. He also joined Dizzy Gillespie’s quintet as pianist.

The music that defined television of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s: the original “Mission: Impossible”. I love the lit match graphic throughout. If you let it run, it’ll go on to “Mannix” and other television shows scored by Schifrin.

Boris Claudio “Lalo” Schifrin was born June 21, 1932, in Buones Aires, Argentina.


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