Broadway Orchestrators Get Spotlight in Library of Congress Symposium May 6-7 in DC

News   Broadway Orchestrators Get Spotlight in Library of Congress Symposium May 6-7 in DC
The faces behind the orchestral colors of Broadway scores will be revealed May 6-7 when the Music Division of the Library of Congress hosts a free, two-day public symposium on Broadway orchestrations, in Washington, DC.

Panel discussions will examine the craft and the orchestrations and careers of such Broadway legends as Robert Russell Bennett, Robert "Red" Ginzler, Don Walker, Philip J. Lang and Ralph Burns. Joining in the discussion "will be a dozen top musicians — orchestrators, conductors, composers and musical directors — who have been active on Broadway for more than 50 years."

Panelists will include Jonathan Tunick, Sid Ramin, Marion Evans, Larry Blank and Rob Fisher, among others. Moderating the program will be columnist Steven Suskin (author of the freshly published "The Sound of Broadway Music") and theatre historian Robert Kimball.

The event will be held in the Coolidge Auditorium on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, DC. Tickets are not required.

A panel with music directors will discuss "reconstructing and conducting classic Broadway shows for revivals or concerts today."

There will also be a panel on "the pit musicians' view of working with orchestrators and their scores." Orchestrators scheduled include Oscar winner Sid Ramin (West Side Story, Gypsy and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), multiple award winner Jonathan Tunick (Follies, Sweeney Todd and Titanic), Larry Blank (The Drowsy Chaperone, Irving Berlin's White Christmas and The Producers) and Grammy winner Marion Evans (House of Flowers, Mr. Wonderful and What Makes Sammy Run?).

Other panelists are music directors including Tony and Emmy winner Elliot Lawrence (Bye Bye Birdie, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and the Tony Award telecasts since 1967), Tony and Emmy winner Donald Pippin (Oliver!, Mame and La Cage aux Folles), Rob Fisher (Chicago and the City Center Encores! series), Ted Sperling (The Light in the Piazza and South Pacific) and musical contractor Red Press (Gypsy, Mame and Chicago).

The symposium is presented in conjunction with the release of Suskin's "The Sound of Broadway Music: A Book of Orchestrators and Orchestrations" (Oxford University Press, 2009). The book discusses the work of the major orchestrators of the American musical theatre, includes a description of the art of orchestration, and details contributions to more than 700 musicals. Much of the extensive research was done at the Library's Music Division, which has a vast collection of orchestrations and related materials, including the collections of Richard Rodgers, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein and Don Walker.

The program is being presented under the auspices of the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trust for the benefit of the Library of Congress.

The Symposium hours are May 6 from 10 AM-6:30 PM, and May 7 from 10 AM-5 PM.


The Library of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution, "is the world's preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people." Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may also be accessed through the Library’s website and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized website at

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