Stephen Sondheim Belongs in the Pantheon of American Composers

Stephen Sondheim once expressed the idealistic notion of going into theater when he was twenty, but he later realized that he was going into show Business and that it was foolish to think otherwise. As a titan of musical theater, his decades’ worth of credits as a composer and lyricist included “West Side Story,” “Company,” and “Into the Woods.”

Sondheim’s work challenges the art form of musical theater. His work lacks superficiality, unlike many of his colleagues’ work. His musicals have recently been popular on New York stages. His work constantly pushed the industry further, and he was not only one of the finest American composers but also one of the most essential.

Throughout his prolific career, Sondheim established himself as a postmodernist, with a deep well of references presented with a mix of sincerity and irony. He developed not only a consistent but also a chameleonic sound. His music was always crafted with the spirit of an avant-gardist but without the superficiality of his colleagues with its focus on craft. Sondheim’s work was truly genre-defying.

Critical to Sondheim’s success was his collaborator, Jonathan Tunick. Tunick is his orchestrator and has been essential to the development of the unmistakable sound of Sondheim’s work.

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