Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim has died at the age of 91, reports The New York Times based on a statement from his friend and lawyer F. Richard Pappas. The American became world famous as a screenwriter and composer of well-known musicals.
For example, in 1957, he wrote texts for West Side Story, the beginning of his career in the musical world. Then followed shows like Gypsy and Sweeney Todd, for which Sondheim also composed the music.
He was notable for his complex numbers, with, for example, deviating measures or complicated rhyme. “There always comes a moment when you understand why he wrote it that way and composed it like that,” explained musical singer Stanley Burleson to NRC once. “Everything is right, everything makes sense.”
On social media, the deceased Sondheim is praised. “The theater has lost one of its greatest geniuses,” says British theatre producer Cameron Mackintosh, for example. “But Stephen Sondheim‘s genius will remain, as his legendary songs and shows will be staged forever.”
Mayor De Blasio of New York, the hometown of Sondheim, calls the composer a legend:
One of Sondheim’s best-known hits is the ballad Send in the Clowns. That song has been released hundreds of times over time, including by Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand and Judy Collins.
In his life, the American composer won several Grammys and Tony Awards, the most important theatre awards in the United States. In 2008, he received the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theater for his entire oeuvre.