It was Garth Brooks who boasted of having friends in low places, but when it comes to virtuoso musician, arranger and conductor Michel Legrand, just the opposite is true. Legrand will be trotting out several of the most famous faces—and voices—in the world for his 50th Anniversary Concert Tribute at 8 p.m. March 27 in the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Legrand will conduct a 66-piece orchestra and there will be performances by George Benson, Melissa Manchester, Jerry Lewis, Dionne Warwick, Andy Williams, Patti Page, Frank Sinatra Jr. and Steve Lawrence. Actors Jon Voight and Jennifer O’Neill will host the concert, which will air at a later date as a made-for-TV concert special. But perhaps the biggest news is the rumored surprise appearance by Sting.
Why all the fuss? If you didn’t know, “Legrand is a musical genius and for many years has touched people in all age groups with his work,” says Vincent Vellardita, producer and president of concert promoter Valencia Entertainment.
A three-time Academy Award winner and five-time Grammy winner, Legrand has written and conducted some of the most memorable movie music of all time. When Barbra Streisand asked, “Papa can you hear me?” That was Legrand. The sweeping score from Summer of 42? That was him, too. The Academy Award-winning song from The Thomas Crown Affair, “Windmills of Your Mind,” sung, not so coincidentally, by Sting? All Legrand.
Legrand’s lifelong dedication to music (he began his study at the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 11) has yielded a career marked by industry and fan accolades. He has composed more than 200 film and television scores for directors, including Jean-Luc Godard, Richard Brooks, Clint Eastwood and Robert Altman, has recorded more than 100 albums with international musical stars. And you’ll get to see a few of them yourself.