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Michel Colombier (May 23, 1939 – November 14, 2004) was a French composer, songwriter, arranger, and conductor. In a career that spanned over four decades, he composed over 100 film and television scores, as well as chamber music, ballets, and concept albums. He won a César Award for Best Original Music for Élisa, and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and three Grammy Awards.
|Born||May 23, 1939|
|Died||November 14, 2004 (aged 65)|
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
|Genres||Pop, progressive rock, rock, contemporary classical, avant-garde, film score|
|Occupation(s)||Composer, conductor, arranger, songwriter|
|Associated acts||Eddie Barclay, Petula Clark, Maurice Béjart, Serge Gainsbourg, Prince|
Colombier was born in Lyon, France into a musical family. His father taught him piano, harmony, counterpoint, and conducting from the age of six. By eleven he started to improvise and at fourteen he discovered jazz and performed with small combos and big bands for which he wrote and orchestrated arrangements. In the meantime, his father continued his education by adding the study of church organ and Gregorian chant. During his stint in the French Army he continued composing, arranging and playing the widest range of music from chamber orchestra to jazz band.
At the age of 22, he spent one year with avant-garde composer Michel Magne and was hired as the in-house musical director of Barclay, a record label founded by namesake Eddie Barclay. His first assignment was to arrange Charles Aznavour's first album in English, produced by Quincy Jones, for release in the United States. Around this time, he began writing and arranging commercial jingles.
In 1967, Colombier collaborated with composer Pierre Henry to write music for Messe pour le temps présent, a piece created by choreographer Maurice Béjart. His interest in modern dance led him to collaborate with the likes of Mikhail Baryshnikov, Twyla Tharp, Roland Petit, Jean Babilée, and Daniel Ezralow, composing and arranging pieces for the American Ballet Theatre and the Paris Opera Ballet. He also composed music for a staging of Le Bourgeois gentilhomme by Comédie-Française, re-arranging original composer Jean-Baptiste Lully's music with contributions from contemporary pop singers and musicians. The collaboration turned into a huge popular success, and the play went on for years.
In 1968, English singer and actress Petula Clark hired him as her musical director. She took him with her to the United States and introduced him to Herb Alpert of A&M Records, who signed him as an artist, composer, performer. The collaboration with Herb gave birth to "Wings", an entirely new concept album hailed as "the first pop symphony" and "the first rock oratorio." It used a rock band, a full brass section, an electric string trio, an entire array of percussion, 5 soloists, a choir and the Paris Opera Orchestra. The composition earned Colombier critical acclaim and attention, and earned him three Grammy Award nominations and the Grand Prize of the Académie Charles Cros. In Canada, the music of Wings became a TV special which won the Genie Award for Best Music Score and in Japan, he became known as "Fusion-Sama" or "Godfather of fusion."
Filmmaker Jacques Demy asked Colombier to compose the music for Une chambre en ville, which Demy called his "dearest and most serious film." Although the film was not a commercial success, it was unanimously lauded by the French film critics, and earned Colombier a César Award nomination for Best Original Score.
His score for Prince's Purple Rain won a People's Choice Award, the song "Elisa", which he co-wrote with Serge Gainsbourg, became the inspiration for the film of the same name and went on to win a Cesar for Best Score. He is also the recipient of a Japan Music Award and the Prix de la Musique Symphonique Légère.
|1969||Harold Robbins' The Survivors||15 episodes|
|1970||The Name of the Game||Episode: "The Tradition"|
|1977||The Rhinemann Exchange||Miniseries|
|1978||What Really Happened to the Class of '65?||Episode: "Class Athlete"|
|1979||11th Victim||Television film|
|1985-86||Alfred Hitchcock Presents||7 episodes|
|1986||Florida Straits||Television film|
|1987||Shell Game||6 episodes|
|The Magical World of Disney||Episode: "Double Switch"|
|1990||Tales from the Crypt||Episode: "Lower Berth"|
|Buried Alive||Television film|
|Sudie and Simpson|
|The Fatal Image|
|1993||Fade to Black|
|1994||Out of Darkness|
|Incident at Deception Ridge|
|1996||Mary & Tim|
|1997||Color of Justice|
|Murder in My Mind|
|Buried Alive II|
|The Right Connections|
|1998||The Long Way Home|
|1999||Sabrina Down Under|
|2001||Warden of Red Rock|
|2001-03||Largo Winch||39 episodes|
|2003||Deacons for Defense||Television film|
- "Michel Colombier, 65; Composer Was Known for His Versatility". Los Angeles Times. 2004-11-17. Retrieved 2019-07-25.
- O'Connor, Patrick (2004-11-19). "Obituary: Michel Colombier". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-07-25.
- Reuters (2004-11-21). "Michel Colombier, French Composer, Dies at 65". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-07-25.
- "Michel Colombier". Jango Radio. Retrieved 2019-07-25.