World Stamps

France pays tribute to musician Michel Legrand

Jan 12, 2024, 9 AM
France will honor film composer and musician Michel Legrand on a stamp to be issued Feb. 26. Mathieu Persan designed the commemorative based on photography by Jean-Pierre Leloir.

By Molly Goad

On Feb. 26, France’s postal service, La Poste, will issue a stamp in honor of Michel Legrand, the renowned musician, composer, jazz pianist, and singer who passed away five years ago.

Born on Feb. 24, 1932, in the 20th district of Paris to a Franco-Armenian family, Legrand’s musical journey began at a young age. Refusing to attend school, he immersed himself in the family piano. At just 4 years old, he reproduced songs heard on the radio.

Between 1942 and 1949, the young Legrand pursued piano studies at the Paris Conservatoire under the guidance of notable instructors such as Nadia Boulanger and Henri Challan. During this period, he garnered several awards for his excellence in both composition and piano performance, showcasing his proficiency in mastering a variety of instruments.

In 1947, Legrand’s musical journey took a turn when he attended a Dizzy Gillespie concert, sparking his interest in jazz. This newfound passion led him to embark on a career as a pianist for prominent French singers.

Over time, he not only worked with Gillespie on multiple albums but also contributed to the creation of film scores. Legrand collaborated with filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard and Jacques Demy on iconic French films, including The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (The Young Girls of Rochefort).

His American ventures yielded three Oscars for the compositions in Summer of ‘42, The Thomas Crown Affair and Yentl. Legrand composed more than 200 film and television scores.

Beyond his cinematic achievements, Legrand’s music became a source of inspiration and solace for many. His limitless curiosity transcended musical styles, providing an antidote to life’s challenges. Legrand passed away Jan. 26, 2019, just shy of his 87th birthday.

The green-letter €1.29 Michel Legrand stamp pays the amount for sending letters weighing up to 20 grams to be delivered within three days.

The stamp was designed by Mathieu Persan based on photography by Jean-Pierre Leloir/Gamma Rapho. La Poste’s security printer Philaposte printed it by rotogravure in 705,000 panes of 15.

For ordering details, visit La Poste online.

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