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Stephen Joshua Sondheim, 22 March 1930, New York City, New York, USA. Sondheim is generally regarded as the most important theatrical composer of the 70s and 80s - his introduction of the concept musical (some say, anti-musical) or unified show, has made him a cult figure. Born into an affluent family, his father was a prominent New York dress manufacturer, Sondheim studied piano and organ sporadically from the age of seven. When he was 10 his parents divorced, and he spent some time at military school. His mothers friendship with the Oscar Hammerstein II family in Philadelphia enabled Sondheim to meet the lyricist, who took him under his wing and educated him in the art of writing for the musical theatre. After majoring in music at Williams College, Sondheim graduated in 1950 with the Hutchinson Prize For Musical Composition, a two-year fellowship, which enabled him to study with the innovative composer Milton Babbitt. During the early 50s, he...