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John Kander

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John Kander

Biography

John Kander (b. 12 March 1927, Kansas City, Mo.) is an American composer and producer.

Kander attended his first opera performances, a formative experience, at the age of nine, when the San Carlo Opera came to Kansas City with their productions of Aida and Madama Butterfly. Afer serving in World War II, Kander studied at Oberlin College and Columbia University. For several years, he worked in New York City as a rehearsal pianist, conductor, and arranger.

Choreographer Jerome Robbins suggested that Kander compose the dance music for West Side Story in 1959. After that experience, he wrote dance arrangements for Irma la Douce in 1960.

John Kander's first produced musical was A Family Affair in 1962, written with James and William Goldman. The same year, Kander met Fred Ebb. The first song they wrote together, My Coloring Book, was made popular by a recording from Sandy Stewart and their second song, I Don't Care Much, was made famous by Barbra Streisand and made Kander and Ebb a permanent team.

In 1965, Kander and Ebb landed their first show on Broadway, Flora the Red Menace, in which Liza Minnelli made her initial Broadway appearance.

Kander composed the music for the stage musical Cabaret, for which he and Fred Ebb won the Tony Award for Best Original Score of a Musical in 1967. Kander and Ebb received the Kennedy Center Honors award for Lifetime Achievement on December 6, 1998.


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