"It’s easy to write things that are so self-conscious that they become pretentious, that have a lot of noise. It’s very hard to write a simple melody.” - Marvin Hamlisch
I was stunned to learn this morning of the sudden death of Marvin Hamlisch, who was, without question, one of the most visible and prolific composer/ conductors in American history. Best known as the composer of A Chorus Line, The Way We Were, and The Sting - all written when he was in his 20's - Hamlisch wrote eight musicals, nearly fifty film scores, and countless other songs, arrangements and incidental music. At the time of his passing, Hamlisch was at work on his musical adapation of The Nutty Professor (for which he wrote the score), as well as a new musical, Gotta Dance.
Hamlisch also rose to become one of this country's most prominent pops conductors, with no fewer than six pops directorships to his credit at the time of his passing: Pittsburgh, Seattle, Milwaukee, Dallas, Pasadena and San Diego. And, with the exception of Lenny, no conductor has logged more hours on American TV.
More than anything, Hamlisch was a tireless advocate for music education and outreach, often speaking out in defense of the arts. "I don’t think (the government) understands it’s as important as math and science," he said. "It rounds you out as a person. You don’t have to become the next great composer. It’s just nice to have heard certain things or to have seen certain things. It’s part of being a human being.”
Full Times obit is here.