Jonathan Tunick, the first orchestrator to win a Tony® Award, and one of the few people to have all four top showbiz awards, has just won a fifth -- the Stephen Sondheim Award, the Signature Theatre near D.C. announced Oct. 29.
Sondheim, who has collaborated with Tunick for 45 years, said, "What makes Jonathan Tunick unique as a theatre orchestrator is that he understands the theatre as well as he does the orchestra."
Sondheim added, "Orchestrators don’t get the recognition they deserve. The Signature Theatre Sondheim Award will, I hope, serve as a means of amending this oversight."
The Signature Theatre -- with its own Tony Award for Regional Theatre -- called Tunick's collaboration on Sondheim’s musicals "legendary and groundbreaking."
Signature Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer termed Tunick "a passionate artist who loves every aspect of the musical theatre." He is also a composer, arranger, and music director.
Schaeffer will present the fifth Sondheim Award on April 7, 2014 at the Embassy of Italy at a black-tie gala benefit for Signature’s artistic, education and community programs.
Tunick is one of only 11 people who have won an Oscar, Tony, Emmy, and a Grammy:
He won the Academy Award for Original Song Score and its Adaptation for "A Little Night Music" in 1977. In 1997, he won the Tony for Best Orchestration for "Titanic", a new category that year, and has since received seven nominations in this category.
He won an Emmy in 1982 for Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction for "Night of 100 Stars, and a Grammy Award in 1988 for Best Instrumental Arrangement of "No One Is Alone", performed by Cleo Laine.
Tunick has collaborated with Sondheim on many musicals, including "Promises, Promises" back in 1968, "Company", "Sweeney Todd", "Merrily We Roll Along"...
Tunick has also contributed to 13 films, including "Blazing Saddles" and "Young Frankenstein", "Endless Love", "Reds", and "Sweeney Todd" – and two dozen TV scores, often serving as conductor.
The Signature, in Arlington, Virginia, has presented 23 Stephen Sondheim productions -- more than any other theatre in the United States.