Marvin Hamlisch On Music, Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Famed composer Marvin Hamlisch, who died Monday in Los Angeles, made a lot of friends in his 18 years as Principal Pops Conductor with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

He shared his feelings for Pittsburgh in a 2002 interview with KDKA-TV reporter Dave Crawley. “I like Pittsburgh. I have a good time. I walk around, I’m buying stuff everywhere.”

He said the orchestra is easy to work with.

“The easiest way to have a good rapport is come in, be ready, know what you’re doing, and have great orchestra. This is easy. This is not difficult, you know. I think getting into my tuxedo is may be harder than this. I wanted to be a musician and composer since I was five or six years old, so all of this is gravy. I love this.”

When young performers nervously auditioned for him at Heinz Hall, his critiques were gentle. “I don’t want to become a person that’s this ogre that went, you know, ‘Sorry,’ because it can be traumatic.”

Marvin Hamlisch continued conducting in the final weeks of his life.

“The most pleasant way I can think of dying,” he said in that KDKA interview, “would be conducting an orchestra. To me that would be it.”

Marvin Hamlisch was 68.

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