Conservatory of Performing Arts

Hamlisch shares personal insight, stories during workshop

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Marvin Hamlisch, Point Park's 2011 distinguished master artist in residence, provided personal insight into his work, creative process and career success during his Dec. 13 workshop The Works and Imagination of Marvin Hamlisch at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. 

Hamlisch recounted stories of working with legendary artists, such as Barbara Streisand, and how his choice of projects in music, Broadway shows and film led to one of the greatest music careers in history. Hamlisch delighted the audience as he played some of his most notable songs on the piano interspersed with stories and questions from the audience.

“If you’re passionate about something, you just have to do it,” Hamlisch said. “People in college should know that now is a very glorious time to do what you want to do.”

The topics Hamlisch discussed resonated with Conservatory of Performing Arts students and those pursuing other fields of study. 

“It was wonderful listening to him talk about his life and give advice on show business, especially being someone who wants to become an actress. Hearing how his connections resulted in different projects later on made me realize how important it is to meet people in this business. He is such an incredibly talented person and it was such a great opportunity to spend time getting to know him, “ said Tess DeStefano, a sophomore acting major.

Sophomore advertising and public relations major Kayleigh Smith commented, “This type of advice is meant for everyone, not just composers, actors or screenwriters. Truly, those who go through life without following their dreams regret their decision. Also, our time at Point Park University is an excellent chance to try the things we think we want to do. Virtually at our fingertips, we are offered hundreds of classes to explore our desires and plenty of mentors that want to help us in our endeavors.”

Hamlisch's life in music is notable for its great versatility as well as substance. As a composer, Hamlisch has won virtually every major award that exists: three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, a Tony and three Golden Globe awards. For Broadway, he has written the music for his groundbreaking show, A Chorus Line, which received the Pulitzer Prize, as well as They're Playing Our Song.

He is the composer of many motion picture scores including his Oscar-winning score and song for The Way We Were and his adaptation of Scott Joplin's music for The Sting, for which he received a third Oscar. His prolific output of scores for films include original compositions and/or musical adaptations for Sophie's Choice, Ordinary People, The Swimmer, Three Men and a Baby, Ice Castles, Take the Money and Run, Bananas, Save the Tiger and his latest effort, The Informant!, starring Matt Damon and directed by Steven Soderbergh.

Hamlisch holds the position of principal pops conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Pasadena Symphony and Pops, Seattle Symphony and San Diego Symphony.

In October, Hamlisch conducted an audition workshop for students. His final workshop will be Jan. 27 and will focus on his work for film.

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