Deciphering the popular music of Marvin Hamlisch (Part 1)

“If you think of music as a language, all I’m doing is taking my thoughts in English and translating what I’m feeling about a scene into music”. — composer Marvin Hamlisch


Kurt Andersen sits at the piano with Marvin Hamlisch, the composer of The Sting, A Chorus Line, and other classic scores, in this interview from 2009. Hamlisch knew as well as anyone on earth how to get a melody stuck in your head.

In 2009, Hamlisch came by the studio to talk about his score for the Steven Soderberg movie The Informant! (Soderbergh was inspired by Hamlisch’s score for Woody Allen’s Bananas.) To come up with the movie’s signature riff, he had to get inside the mind of the main character, a corporate whistleblower (played by Matt Damon) with bipolar disorder.

I realized that I had to approach the score from the point of view of the main character -the way the main character would be thinking, and it turns out that he was just having the best time of his life, and the FBI were  nuts. Then the jaunty melody just comes to you.” – Marvin Hamlisch


LISTEN to radio interview:

(Originally aired: October 2, 2009)




One comment

  1. His music and teaching philosophy is an integral part of my life, and I feel blessed to have been touched by his life, music and more.
    I played “The Entertainer” in his remembrance.
    Take care, and be well!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Upload Files

You can include images or videos in your comment by inserting the [img] tag from below. You can upload as many images as you like and they will all be added to your comment. To upload YouTube or Vimeo videos, just include a link to the video within your comment.