The conceptual artist Stephen Sondheim, of musical theater, died aged 91

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, a lyricist, songwriter, conceptual artist and creative force mastering the musical American theater, perceived as a Broadway innovator, died aged 91 on Friday. He was the composer of “Into the Woods,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Gypsy,” “Sunday in the Park with George” and other essential works of musical theater. Over the course of his career, he won an Oscar, a Pulitzer, eight Grammy Awards, eight Tony Awards, a Kennedy Center honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His name was given to the Theater in Manhattan’s Theater District. Sondheim was particularly good at expressing romantic longing and loss. “I’m interested in the theater because I’m interested in communication with audiences. (…) I love the theater as much as music, and the whole idea of getting across to an audience and making them laugh, making them cry – just making them feel – is paramount to me,” he told in 2010. His first success, at age 27, was as lyricist to “West Side Story,” with music by Leonard Bernstein. The musical’s famous songs include “America,” “Tonight,” “I Feel Pretty” and “Somewhere.” The show was a massive hit, running for almost 1,000 performances. His last new work was 2008’s “Road Show,” about a pair of social-climbing brothers. Sondheim earned his Oscar for a song he wrote for 1990’s “Dick Tracy,” “Sooner or Later.”

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A virtual concert celebrating Sondheim’s 90th birthday and body of work was organized last year amid the global pandemic. At his death, many people expressed tribute. As an example, Barbra Streisand wrote: „Thank the Lord that Sondheim lived to be 91 years old so he had the time to write such wonderful music and GREAT lyrics!”