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Arts & Culture

BPO remembers former Pops conductor Marvin Hamlisch


The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra says it is shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden death of composer Marvin Hamlisch.  

Hamlisch collapsed and died Monday after a brief illness in Los Angeles. He was 68. 

Hamlisch served as the BPO Pops music conductor from 2003 to 2007.   The orchestra's marketing and communications director Susan Schwartz says Hamlisch excelled in pops music.

"The pops music repertoire was his niche. This is where he did his best work," said Schwartz. "He could write for the stage, he could write for film, he could write for orchestras. He did a wonderful job."

Schwartz says Hamlisch was well-known to Buffalonians.

"He was very popular. He made a lot of great friends while he was here in Buffalo. The audiences loved him and they knew they could count on him for very high quality performances and a great time," Schwartz said.

"He could put things together in unusual ways, in ways audiences really loved."

The BPO's executive director Dan Hart, who worked with Hamlisch, calls the composer a "true musical genius" with "amazing talents."

Music Director JoAnn Falletta is out of town and could not be reached for comment.

Hamlisch won both a Tony and the Pulitzer Prize in 1975 for the long-running Broadway show A Chorus Line.   He composed more than 40 film scores, including Sophie's Choice, Ordinary People,  and The Way We Were.