Monday, March 30, 2009

Maurice Jarre (1924-2009)

(from the BBC website)

French president Nicolas Sarkozy has paid tribute to Oscar-winning film composer Maurice Jarre, who has died in Los Angeles at the age of 84.

Mr Sarkozy called French-born Jarre, whose credits include Lawrence of Arabia, "a great composer" who produced "majestic and full-bodied works".

Jarre also won Academy Awards for Dr Zhivago and A Passage To India.

His last public appearance was in February at the Berlin Film Festival, where he won a lifetime award.


Mr Sarkozy added: "By working with some of the greatest filmmakers in the world, he showed that music can be just as important as pictures to make a beautiful and successful film."

French culture minister Christine Albanel called the composer a "creative, modern musician who showed a perfect mastery of sound".

"His music provided a counterpoint to the pictures and formed one with the film," she added.

Jarre rose to prominence relatively late in life, writing his first score for a French short film in 1952.

His breakthrough came in 1962 when provided the soundtrack for the epic Lawrence of Arabia, for which he was awarded an Oscar.

He went on to compose music for more than 150 films.

A further six Academy Award nominations came Jarre's way for his scores on other high profile films, including hits like Ghost, Gorillas In The Mist and Witness.

The musician also earned two Bafta Awards, four Golden Globes and a Grammy in a career rich with accolades.

His scores enhanced the work of some of the film industry's greatest directors - among his collaborators were David Lean, Alfred Hitchcock, John Huston and Luchino Visconti.

He also wrote symphonic music for theatre, ballet and television, including the 1970s mini-series Jesus of Nazareth.

Jarre, who moved to the US in the 1960s, was married four times and is the father of Jean-Michel Jarre, a pioneer of electronic music.

His other son, Kevin, is a screenwriter based in the US.

At the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year, event director Dieter Kosslick paid tribute to Jarre saying: "Film composers often are in the shadows of great directors and acting stars.

"It's different with Maurice Jarre - the music of Doctor Zhivago, like much of his work, is world-famous and remains unforgettable in cinema history."

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