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Schifrin to Lead New Paris Philharmonic

November 29, 1987|DANIEL CARIAGA

A musician of several talents, Lalo Schifrin, the music director of Young Musicians Foundation since 1984, has long been associated with differing professional pursuits. A prolific composer for films and television, Schifrin has also been active as a conductor of other writers' music as well as his own--he was music director of the Glendale Symphony for two seasons--and as a jazz pianist, as well as a teacher.

As he promised he might do, when interviewed by The Times two years ago, Schifrin has now taken what may become a permanent post. It is the job of music director and conductor of the recently formed Paris Philharmonic Orchestra, an ensemble of French players based in the French capital, but with an English name.

"These are all players with many years' experience in other orchestras," Schifrin explained recently.

"A number of them are famous teachers at the Paris Conservatoire (Schifrin's alma mater, which he attended in the 1950s). In addition to those faculty players, the orchestra has many alumni of the Conservatoire."

The new ensemble will play its first formal concert in the Theatre des Champs-Elysees (the scene, you will remember, of the premiere of "Sacre du Printemps" 74 years ago), Jan. 26.

"After that, we plan four more concerts in Paris this season, not all of them in the same place. We got started too late to mount an entire season in one theater."

Then, the 55-year-old composer-conductor says, a projected 1988-89 season will comprise eight concerts. "I hope to conduct all of them."

In what corners of the repertory will this new orchestra specialize?

Schifrin laughs, then answers: "Well, when we first got together, the players said to me, 'Let's not play "Bolero." ' I think this orchestra will do all kinds of music, from transcriptions of Perotin and Machaut, through pieces by Lully, all the way to Lutoslawski. We will try to stay much of the time outside the standard repertory."

In Paris, of course, he points out, "You have three of the greatest living composers: Messiaen, Duttileux and Boulez. We would like to play their music in addition to some neglected works from earlier centuries.

"And, already, I can say this about the new orchestra--the members play fantastic. The brass choir, for instance, is made up of an existing ensemble called 'Les Concerts Arban'--Arban was the Sousa of France--which is the best that France has to offer. You know, brass playing is not what the French are famous for. But these instrumentalists are wonderful.

"And together, we have a great chemistry. I find the players most stimulating."

For the time being, Schifrin says, he will commute from California to France and not consider a permanent move. Given his present commitments to YMF--his next concert with the Foundation Orchestra is next Sunday afternoon at 4 in Royce Hall at UCLA, with a season extending through May--that would seem to make sense.

BALLET THEATRE: Sixteen performances--including six of "The Sleeping Beauty" in the production directed by Sir Kenneth MacMillan and designed by Nicholas Georgiadis--make up the two-week engagement by American Ballet Theatre in Segerstrom Hall at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, beginning Tuesday evening at 8. Three evenings of mixed bills start the visit. Then, the newish "Sleeping Beauty," first seen in Southern California in Shrine Auditorium last March, will be danced, Friday through Dec. 10. The engagement closes with five more mixed-bill performances, Dec. 11-13. For program details, see the listings, Page 68.

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