Remembering Marvin Hamlisch in Our Collections

Composer Marvin Hamlisch at the James Madison Council 10th Anniversary Celebration in the Great Hall, 2000. Photo by Vivian Ronay

On Monday we lost a remarkable composer, conductor and entertainer with the passing of Marvin Hamlisch (1944-2012). Hamlisch’s legacy is documented in various aspects of the Library’s collections, from sound recordings, to movie footage, to printed music. We hold, among many other items, the published score to his Academy Award-winning film score for The Sting (an adaptation of Scott Joplin’s music), the libretto for his 1986 music Smile (written with Howard Ashman), and of course the piano-vocal score to the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning A Chorus Line. We even have a facsimile of Hamlisch’s manuscript score for the 1978 film Ice Castles.

In 2010, lyricist Alan Bergman performed the Hamlisch/Bergman classic “The Way We Were” in the ASCAP Collection Concert, which you can view online. Hamlisch’s influence is also felt in our archival collections – the Billy Taylor Collection holds a chord chart and the drum part Taylor wrote out for “The Way We Were,” the Billy Byers Collection contains manuscript arrangements of several Hamlisch works, and the Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Collection lists Hamlisch and Liebling’s “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows” among the printed music by other composers kept by Kaye and Fine.

My most personal connection with Hamlisch took place about 15 years ago as a singer in a local children’s chorus; we performed on stage with Hamlisch as a part of a Pops orchestra concert and he led us in a performance of the Hamlisch/Bergman song, “One Song,” a song about peace, hope, and solidarity. Hamlisch’s prolific career has left an indelible impact on American popular music, one that will resonate in our collections for generations to come.

2 Comments

  1. Sharon M.
    August 8, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    How lovely that you got to perform with him! Other folks I know who had the same privilege really enjoyed working with him. Lucky you!
    And now A Chorus Line songs are running through my head….

  2. Frances Ruth Harris
    August 11, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Thank you for sharing your mutual wealth! To have worked with such a genius!

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