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Hamlisch’s talents abound in film and beyond

Molly Griffin | Friday, October 14, 2005

Many people work their entire lives to win awards in the entertainment industry. In Hollywood, the Oscar, the Golden Globe and the Emmy are king, while on Broadway the Tony rules and in the media world everyone strives for a Pulitzer.

Few people posses the talent and diversity to win all of these awards, but every once in a while a rare individual comes along who manages to sweep all of them. Marvin Hamlisch is one of these people. While his name may not be immediately recognizable to the average person, he has had a major impact on popular music with his extensive and diverse career. The writer/conductor/composer/performer has worked in all areas of entertainment, and he will be performing some of his repertoire at Notre Dame tonight at 9 p.m. in the Leighton Concert Hall.

Hamlisch, the child of an accordionist, was the youngest person admitted to Julliard at the age of seven. He also earned his B.A. from Queens College in New York.

Hamlisch’s career has spanned many genres and included work in Broadway, film and on stage. His prolific career is not only notable for its diversity, but also for its success and the amount of recognition it has attained.

Broadway is just one of the areas where Hamlisch has found success, and shows that he has composed include “They’re Playing Our Song,” “The Goodbye Girl,” “Sweet Smell of Success” and “Imaginary Friends.” He won a Pulitzer Prize for his work on the musical play “A Chorus Line” in 1975.

Hollywood is a difficult place to find work, let alone find success, but Hamlisch has managed to find a lot of both with his work on music for films. He has worked on scores for more than 40 movies, including “Sophie’s Choice,” “Ordinary People,” “The Swimmer,” “Three Men and a Baby,” “Ice Castles,” “Take the Money and Run,” “Bananas” and “Save the Tiger.” He even wrote music for the James Bond film, “The Spy Who Loved Me.”

Hamlisch was nominated for Oscars for Best Original Song for songs like “I’ve Finally Found Someone” from “The Mirror has Two Faces,” “Surprise, Surprise” from “A Chorus Line,” and the Carly Simon-sung, “Nobody Does it Better” from “The Spy Who Loved Me.” He won Oscars for his work on the score and title song for the Barbara Streisand movie,” The Way We Were,” and for his adaptation of Scott Joplin’s music for the Robert Redford film, “The Sting.” The song, “The Entertainer,” from the film is one of Hamlisch’s most well-known.

He worked as the musical director and arranger for Barbara Streisand’s tour of the U.S. and England in 1994. He received two Emmys for his work on the television special based on this tour, “Barbara Streisand: The Concert.” He also served as musical director and arranger for her Millennium concerts.

Hamlisch works as the Principal Pops Conductor with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., which is the first time a person has held this position with the National Symphony.

Hamlisch will be performing a variety of songs from his extensive repertoire tonight. Tickets are available for $54 dollars for regular admission, $46 for faculty/staff/seniors and $15 for students.