Michel Jean Legrand (born 24 February 1932) is a French musical composer, arranger, conductor, and pianist. Legrand is a prolific composer, having written over 200 film and television scores in addition to many memorable songs. He is best known for his often haunting film music and scores, such as The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) and The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) featuring the song "The Windmills of Your Mind" for which he won his first Academy Award.
Legrand was born in the Bécon les Bruyères district of Courbevoie, a suburb of Paris, France. His father Raymond Legrand was a conductor and composer renowned for hits such as Irma la douce, and his mother was Marcelle Der Mikaëlian (sister of conductor Jacques Hélian), who married Legrand Senior in 1929. His maternal grandfather was of Armenian descent and considered a member of the bourgeoisie.
Legrand has composed more than two hundred film and television scores and several musicals and has made well over a hundred albums. He has won three Oscars (out of 13 nominations) and five Grammys and has been nominated for an Emmy. He was twenty-two when his first album, I Love Paris, became one of the best-selling instrumental albums ever released. He is a virtuoso jazz and classical pianist and an accomplished arranger and conductor who performs with orchestras all over the world.
Legrand studied music at the Paris Conservatoire from 1943-50 (ages 11–18), working with, among others, Nadia Boulanger, who also taught many other composers, including Aaron Copland and Philip Glass, and Ástor Piazzolla. Legrand graduated with top honors as both a composer and a pianist.