Stephen Sondheim

Biography

Born: March 22, 1930; New York, NY  
According to most critics and theater historians, Stephen Sondheim (born 1930) stands among Broadway show composers and lyricists not only as the greatest of his generation but also as the only great one of his generation. Observers may debate why Broadway failed to produce consistently great writers to follow the Rodgers and Hammersteins and Lerner and Loewes of the 1940s and 1950s, but the fact remains that Sondheim clearly ranks with such Read more masters, and even with Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, and other masters of the century's first half.

Sondheim became a protege of Hammerstein's after befriending the lyricist's son in school, but he got his first big break when he was hired to adapt Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet for Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story (1957). That show turned out to be one of the biggest hits and most memorable works of its time, and it brought many proposals for text-writing Sondheim's way --though he had always wanted to write music as well. Nevertheless, he worked with Jule Styne on Gypsy (1959), another enormous hit, and would later agree to collaborate with Richard Rodgers on the unsuccessful Do I Hear a Waltz? (1965).

Before that, however, Sondheim scored his first success as both composer and lyricist with A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962). It was his last hit until Company (1970), a show about contemporary life and mores that did much to revolutionize the Broadway musical and, as many of Hammerstein's 50 shows had, move it more toward serious and exotic subjects. Since that time, Sondheim's shows have been amazingly daring in terms of subject matter, with unusual musical ideas and stunningly original lyrics. But they have not always been big hits, and have marked a time in theater when Broadway show music became a marginalized art form in terms of popular culture.

Nevertheless, Sondheim's shows of the 1970s and 1980s are benchmarks of the genre: Follies (1971) brought together aging Follies girls for a look at American middle age; A Little Night Music (1973) is based on Ingmar Bergman's film Smiles of a Summer Night and contains Sondheim's sole hit song, "Send in the Clowns"; Pacific Overtures (1976) ambitiously took on the subject of Japanese-American relations; Sweeney Todd (1979) was an operetta based on the British grand guignol tale of a murderous barber; Sunday in the Park with George (1984) was a biography of impressionist painter Georges Seurat; and Into the Woods (1987) wove together children's fairy tales with the theories of psychologist Bruno Bettelheim. At this writing, Sondheim's latest show is Assassins (1991), a short piece about presidential killers. In recent years, he has turned more to films, writing songs for Madonna in Dick Tracy in 1990 and reportedly working on an original movie musical. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 103 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Label: Ghostlight   Catalog: 84500 Release Date: 05/13/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Spoken Word,  Jesse Wiener,  Harry Huret,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Performer:  Kurt Peterson,  Victoria Mallory,  Aaron Heick,  Don Downs  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Rafter
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  • 2.
    The Essential Stephen Sondheim
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 518032 Release Date: 02/26/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein,  Jule Styne,  Stephen Sondheim,  Richard Rodgers
    Performer:  Rita Moreno,  Larry Kert,  Carol Lawrence,  Marni Nixon  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Original Broadway Cast
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  • 3.
    Hollywood Blockbusters, Vol. 2
    Label: Royal Philharmonic   Catalog: 50 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Powell,  John T. Williams,  Jóhann Jóhannsson,  Hans Zimmer  ... 
    Performer:  Duncan Riddell,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Nic Raine,  James Fountain  ... 
    Conductor:  Nic Raine
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  • 4.
    Liaisons: Re-imagining Sondheim from the Piano / Anthony De Mare
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 002378802 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim
    Performer:  Anthony de Mare
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  • 5.
    Label: Walt Disney Records   Catalog: 002076392 Release Date: 12/15/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim,  Unspecified
    Performer:  Christine Baranski,  Emily Blunt,  Karen Jones,  Simon Russell Beale  ... 
    Conductor:  Julian Kershaw,  Paul Gemignani
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  • 6.
    Label: Walt Disney Records   Catalog: 002124092 Release Date: 12/15/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim,  Unspecified
    Performer:  Christine Baranski,  Emily Blunt,  Karen Jones,  Simon Russell Beale  ... 
    Conductor:  Julian Kershaw,  Paul Gemignani
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  • 7.
    Jerome Robbins' Broadway / Original Broadway Cast
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 60150 Release Date: 12/02/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Various,  Leonard Bernstein,  Morton Gould,  Stephen Sondheim  ... 
    Performer:  Debbie Shapiro,  Robert La Fosse,  Scott Wise,  Michael Kubala  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Gemignani
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 8.
    James Galway - The Complete RCA Album Collection
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 302633 Release Date: 09/16/2014   Number of Discs: 73
    Composer:  Arthur Smith,  Various,  Traditional,  Stan Lebowsky  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway,  Sylvia,  Marisa Robles,  Phillip Moll  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Scimone,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Jörg Faerber,  Eduardo Mata  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti Veneti,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Galway Pops Orchestra  ... 
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  • 9.
    Forever / Diana Damrau
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 60266 Release Date: 03/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wojciech Kilar,  Emmerich Kálmán,  Eduard Künneke,  Franz Lehár  ... 
    Performer:  Diana Damrau
    Conductor:  David Charles Abell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 10.
    The Lyric Clarinet
    Label: Ravello   Catalog: 7886 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carlos Guastavino,  John Woods Duke,  Claude Debussy,  Francis Poulenc  ... 
    Performer:  F. Gerard Errante,  Philip Fortenberry,  Voltaire Verzosa,  D. Gause
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  • 11.
    Marry Me A Little - New Cast Recording
    Label: Ghostlight   Catalog: 84474 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim
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  • 12.
    A Change In Me / Jean Danton
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1452 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim,  Cole Porter,  Richard Rodgers,  Rupert Holmes  ... 
    Performer:  Doug Hammer,  Steve Chaggaris,  Jean Danton
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  • 13.
    A Little Night Music - Original Movie Soundtrack
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 72393 Release Date: 09/10/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim
    Performer:  Christopher Guard,  Lesley-Anne Down,  Diana Rigg,  Len Cariou  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Gemignani
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  • 14.
    Passion / 2013 New York Cast Recording
    Label: P.s. Classics   Catalog: 1317 Release Date: 07/02/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim
    Performer:  Judy Kuhn,  Rebecca Luker,  Ryan Silverman
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  • 15.
    Icon
    Label: Universal   Catalog: 001800802 Release Date: 03/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  George David Weiss,  André Rieu,  Johann Strauss Sr.  ... 
    Performer:  André Rieu,  Carmen Monarcha,  Carla Maffioletti,  Mirusia Louwerse  ... 
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  • 16.
    Sondheim: Sweeney Todd / Henschel, Stone, Schirmer
    Label: Br Klassik   Catalog: 900316 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim
    Performer:  Mark Stone,  Jane Henschel
    Conductor:  Ulf Schirmer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Chorus,  Munich Radio Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Live At Carnegie Hall / Cleo Laine
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 60960 Release Date: 01/25/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Carole King,  Daryl Runswick,  Wesley Wilson  ... 
    Performer:  Cleo Laine
    Conductor:  John Dankworth
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  • 18.
    Classic Musicals
    Label: Clear Note   Catalog: 74587 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Strouse,  George Gershwin,  Burton Lane,  Richard Rodgers  ... 
    Performer:  Gregg Nestor,  Tommy Morgan
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  • 19.
    American Trumpet / Silberschlag, Schwarz, Seattle Symphony
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559719 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leo Eylar,  Steve Rouse,  Robert Starer,  Stephen Sondheim  ... 
    Performer:  Jeff Silberschlag
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Get Happy / Lin
    Label: Steinway & Sons   Catalog: 30011 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Irving Berlin,  Earl Wild,  Stefan Malzew,  Richard Rodgers  ... 
    Performer:  Jenny Lin
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  • 21.
    Merrily We Roll Along / 2012 Encores! Cast Recording
    Label: P.s. Classics   Catalog: 1208 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim
    Performer:  Lin Manuel Miranda,  Sean McKnight,  Mylinda Hull,  Marja Harmon  ... 
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  • 22.
    All Through The Night / George Dvorsky
    Label: Jay Records   Catalog: 1424 Release Date: 06/12/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Rodgers,  Leonard Bernstein,  Cole Porter,  Frank Wildhorn  ... 
    Performer:  George Dvorsky
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  • 23.
    Alfie / Alfie Boe
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001642202 Release Date: 06/05/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Sondheim,  Claude-Michel Schönberg,  Andrew Lloyd Webber,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Performer:  Alfie Boe,  Nick Jonas,  Robert Plant
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  • 24.
    Alfie Live
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001688159 Release Date: 06/05/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Flaherty,  Stephen Sondheim,  Andrew Lloyd Webber,  Richard M. Sherman  ... 
    Performer:  Alfie Boe,  Tom Mcfly,  Shakaira,  Claude-Michel Schönberg
    Blu-ray Video: $29.99
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  • 25.
    Alfie Live / Alfie Boe
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001688009 Release Date: 06/05/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Flaherty,  Stephen Sondheim,  Andrew Lloyd Webber,  Richard M. Sherman  ... 
    Performer:  Alfie Boe,  Tom Mcfly,  Shakaira,  Claude-Michel Schönberg
    DVD: $27.49
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