Marvin Hamlisch died in 2012 at the age of 68 but he left a legacy that will not soon be repeated. With well over 200 musical compositions for film and Broadway, Hamlisch is one of only two people to be named a PEGOT winner for earning a Pulitzer Prize, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards – Richard Rogers was the other one. He also has three Golden Globe Awards and was the POPS conductor for several symphony orchestras including the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
On February 14 and 15 the BPO paid tribute to Hamlisch with “Nobody Does it Better: The Music of Marvin Hamlisch”. Former Hamlisch collaborator and pianist Kevin Cole and vocalist Carlyn Connolly joined the BPO for the celebration.
After opening with the Overture form Hamlisch’s ground breaking musical “A Chorus Line”, Carlyn came on stage to perform “They’re Playing My Song”.
For his first performance, Kevin Cole showed another side of Hamlisch’s compositions. Saying that Marvin Hamlisch revived Ragtine, Cole played “Solace”, “The Entertainer”, and “The Pine Apple Rag”.
Carlyn returned to perform “Dreams”, “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Roses”, and “The Way We Were”.
Kevin returned to play the “Allegro Agitato” from the “Concerto in F Major for Piano” as images of Hamlisch showed on the video screen.
After the intermission the BPO returned for a performance of selections form “Gypsy” and “Carousel” before Kevin Cole returned to perform three of Hamlisch’s favourite compositions – “The Way We Were”, “At the Ballet”, and “What I Did for Love”.
Carlyn returned to the stage to sing “What I Did for Love” the theme form “Ice Castles” – “Through the Eyes of Love”, and the James Bond theme that the BBC ranked as the number one Bond theme song “Nobody Does it Better” from “The Spy Who Lived Me”.
The celebration of Marvin Hamlisch concluded with Kevin Cole emulating Hamlisch on “The Chorus Line Concerto”. Hamlisch always improvised the piano solo for the work and never bothered to write it down.
Kevin noted that when he told Hamlisch’s widow that he would be performing with the BPO, she told him to make sure everyone knew how much Marvin loved Buffalo and the BPO.
For long time BPO fans, it was a day to get emotional as they recalled Hamlisch and his time with the orchestra.