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Stephen Sondheim
 
Biography

Award winning composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim does not consider his musicals to be Broadway Operas but they have been embraced as such wholeheartedly. Blurring the lines between musical theatre and traditional opera, he has written music and lyrics for some of the 20th century’s most important stage works for voice, incorporating both humorous and dark subject matter.

Born into a Jewish family in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Sondheim showed early ability in both music and mathematics. After the departure of his father at age ten, he moved to Bucks County, Pennsylvania where he gained an important musical role model, Oscar Hammerstein II. Watching the success of Rodgers and Hammerstein as a teenager and already guided toward musical theatre he studied piano and wrote scripts and scores during his four years at Williams College, earning him a two year composition scholarship studying with avant-garde composer Milton Babbitt.

Sondheim’s breakthrough came with his lyrics to Leonard Bernstein’s musical West Side Story in 1957. The collaboration's success earned him a multitude of creative partnerships before finally writing both the music and lyrics for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in 1962. Recognized as a master of songwriting he went on to win multiple Tony and Grammy Awards as well as an Academy Award for Best Song and the Pulitzer Prize in Drama.
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