Maurice Jarre, the French conductor and Oscar-winning composer, and father of electronic music composer and producer Jean-Michel Jarre, died yesterday (March 29) at age 84. The cause of his death has not yet been announced. The composer, who had over 150 movie soundtrack credits to his name, won Academy Awards for his orchestral scores for the films Doctor Zhivago in 1965, Lawrence of Arabia in 1962, and A Passage to India in 1984.
Other films that the extremely prolific artist composed the scores for include The Train in 1964, Ryan's Daughter in 1970, The Man Who Would Be King in 1975, The Message in 1976, Dead Poets Society in 1989, Jacob's Ladder in 1990, Ghost in 1990, Witness in 1985, The Year of Living Dangerously in 1982, Fatal Attraction in 1987, No Way Out in 1987, The Damned in 1969, The Tin Drum in 1979, and Circle of Deceit in 1981. Jarre, who lived for many years in Los Angeles to be close to the Hollywood film studios, was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to the art of film.
Born in Lyon, France in 1924, he began his third level studies as an engineering student at Lyon University and enrolled in the engineering school at the Sorbonne. But it was against his father's wishes that he quit engineering and switched to music, dropping out of the Sorbonne and soon after enrolling at the Paris Conservatoire. According to the UK Telegraph, it was there that he studied under the Swiss composer Arthur Honegger, the timpanist Félix Passerone and Joseph Martenot, inventor of the Martenot Waves, an electronic keyboard that prefigured the modern synthesizer and which Jarre would often use in his film scores.
It was in the 1980's that he began to use synthesizers, even though he composed for orchestras. The videos below are of Jarre conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on the main theme of Lawrence Of Arabia, and Jarre's "Lara's Theme" from Doctor Zhivago set to stills from the movie.