Peter Matz, Broadway Arranger and Conductor Who Colored Barbra Beautifully, Dead at 73

Obituaries   Peter Matz, Broadway Arranger and Conductor Who Colored Barbra Beautifully, Dead at 73 Peter Matz, the respected musical director, orchestrator, arranger and composer who worked on Broadway musicals, concert and cabaret acts and most recently the Reprise! musical theatre concert series in Los Angeles, died Aug. 9 after a battle with lung cancer, according to colleagues.
Peter Matz.
Peter Matz.

Peter Matz, the respected musical director, orchestrator, arranger and composer who worked on Broadway musicals, concert and cabaret acts and most recently the Reprise! musical theatre concert series in Los Angeles, died Aug. 9 after a battle with lung cancer, according to colleagues.

Mr. Matz was 73 and leaves behind a varied stage, concert and recording career, as well as credits as a film composer ("Bye Bye Braverman," "Marlowe") and TV musical director (he was the Emmy Award-winning conductor for "The Carol Burnett Show" for eight years). Mr. Matz was responsible in recent years for the potent sound of Grand Hotel, for which he wrote orchestrations and produced the cast album.

He won three Emmy Awards, for "My Name is Barbra," "The Sounds of Burt Bacharach" and "The Carol Burnett Show." He won a Grammy for the Barbra Streisand album, "People."

He arranged, conducted and produced Barbra Streisand's "The Broadway Album," and arranged and conducted the majority of material on her first five discs on the Columbia label (he composed the song, "Gotta Move").

The list of artists he shaped songs for include Noel Coward, Peggy Lee, Marlene Dietrich, Liza Minnelli, Lena Horne, Rosemary Clooney, Tony Bennett, Bernadette Peters and more. He was associated with the Reprise! musicals-in-concert series in L.A. since its founding in 1995. Mr. Matz was a 1952 graduate of UCLA. After working in France for two years, he created orchestrations, vocal arrangements, and dance music for Harold Arlen's House of Flowers starring Diahann Carroll, and the brassy faux Caribbean sound of Arlen and Harburg's Jamaica starring Lena Horne.

He was arranger-accompanist for Noel Coward's show in Las Vegas, and arranged and conducted Coward's Sail Away and Richard Rodgers' No Strings (for which he was Tony nommed as musical director) on Broadway. He orchestrated Jule Styne's Hallelujah, Baby!

For many years, Mr. Matz wrote arrangements and orchestrations for the annual Academy Awards telecast.

He is survived by his two sons, Jonas and Zachary, grandson Kemper, and his wife, the singer and actress Marilynn Lovell.