December 2nd, 2013
Marvin Hamlisch
Marvin Hamlisch - Biography & Awards

Marvin Hamlisch was principal pops conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and other orchestras nationwide. Photo courtesy of The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Marvin Hamlisch was principal pops conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and many other orchestras nationwide. Photo courtesy of The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Marvin Hamlisch (June 2, 1944 – Aug. 6, 2012) was a composer and conductor known for his great versatility and humanity. He believed in the power of music to bring people together.

“Music can make a difference. There is a global nature to music, which has the potential to bring all people together. Music is truly an international language, and I hope to contribute by widening communication as much as I can.” Marvin Hamlisch

Marvin Hamlisch: Professional Career

As a composer, Hamlisch won virtually every major award that exists:  three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, a Tony and three Golden Globe awards.

His name is a familiar one on Broadway. He wrote the music for his groundbreaking show, A Chorus Line, which received the Pulitzer Prize, as well as the music for They’re Playing Our SongThe Goodbye Girl and Sweet Smell of Success. Not all of his music scores stayed long on Broadway (the short-lived Smile in 1986) or even made it there — for instance those he wrote for Jean Seberg (1983 National Theatre, London) and Nutty Professor Musical (2012 TPAC, Nashville, TN).

Hamlisch composed more than 40 motion picture scores, including his Oscar-winning score and song for The Way We Were and his adaptation of Scott Joplin’s music for The Sting, for which he received hia third Oscar. His prolific output of scores for films include original compositions and/or musical adaptations for Sophie’s ChoiceOrdinary PeopleThe Swimmer,Three Men and a BabyIce CastlesTake the Money and RunBananasSave the Tiger, and The Informant!, starring Matt Damon and directed by Steven Soderbergh.

Shortly before his untimely death in 2012, he had just finished his last musical score. It was for the film Behind the Candelabra, about Liberace, starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon and directed by Steven Soderbergh. The film was shown at the 2013 Cannes Festival and aired on HBO in May 2013, to great reviews.

Hamlisch was musical director and arranger of Barbra Streisand’s 1994 concert tour of the U.S. and England as well as of the television special, Barbra Streisand: The Concert, for which he received two of his Emmys.

Marvin Hamlisch held the position of principal pops conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Pasadena Symphony and Pops, Seattle Symphony, San Diego Symphony, The Buffalo Philharmonic, and The National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. At the time of his death he was preparing to assume responsibilities as Principal Pops Conductor for The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Hamlisch was a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music and Queens College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Marvin Hamlisch’s Awards

Marvin Hamlisch with his three Oscars, circa 1974.

Marvin Hamlisch with his three Oscars, circa 1974.

Academy Awards

1973 Best Original Song Score and/or Adaptation The Sting

1973 Best Original Song The Way We Were

1973 Best Original Dramatic Score The Way We Were

Emmy Awards

2001 Outstanding Music Direction Timeless: Live in Concert

1999 Outstanding Music and Lyrics AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movies

1995 Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music and Lyrics Barbra Streisand: The Concert

1995 Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music Direction Barbra Streisand: The Concert

Tony Awards

1975 Drama Category A Chorus Line

Grammy Awards

1974 Best New Artist

1974 Best Pop Instrumental Performance The Entertainer

1973 Album of Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special The Way We Were performed by Barbra Streisand

1974 Song Of The Year The Way We Were performed by Barbra Streisand

Golden Globe Awards

1974 Best Original Song The Way We Were performed by Barbra Streisand

1972 Best Original Song Life Is What You Make It

Pulitzer Awards

1975 Best Original Score Written for the Theatre A Chorus Line

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