Jonathan Tunick

The work of orchestrator, musical director, composer, and arranger Jonathan Tunick (b. New York City, April 19, 1938) defines the modern sound of Broadway, making extended use of eclectic textures, advanced harmonies, and electronic instruments. Juilliard-educated Tunick is the first orchestrator to have won a Tony Award®; indeed he is one of very few persons to have won all four major American awards in entertainment: the Grammy® (“No One Is Alone” 1988), Emmy® (Night of 100 Stars 1982), Tony® (Titanic 1997), and Oscar® (A Little Night Music 1977).

Besides his outright wins (the Tony® for Titanic and Drama Desk Awards for Passion 1994, Titanic 1997, and Lovemusik 2007), Tunick has been showered with nominations: seven times for the Tony® for Best Orchestration (Marie Christine 2000, Follies 2001, Nine 2003, Pacific Overtures 2005, Lovemusik 2007, 110 in the Shade 2007, A Catered Affair 2008) and eight times for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Orchestration (Baby 1984, Into the Woods 1988, Captains Courageous 1999, Saturday Night 2000, Follies 2001, Elaine Stritch At Liberty 2002, The Apple Tree 2007, A Catered Affair 2008). In 1982 he was given a Special Award by the Drama Desk.

Although Tunick has been associated most closely with Stephen Sondheim (Promises, Promises 1968, Company 1970, Follies 1971, A Little Night Music 1973, Pacific Overtures 1976, Sweeney Todd 1979, Merrily We Roll Along 1981, Into the Woods 1987, Passion 1994, Putting It Together 1999, The Frogs 2004), he has also worked with composers Charles Strouse (Dance a Little Closer 1983, Nick & Nora 1991), Maury Yeston (Nine 1982, Titanic 1997), Marvin Hamlisch (A Chorus Line 1975), Michael John LaChiusa (Marie Christine 1999), and many others.

Altogether, Tunick has orchestrated, re-orchestrated, or composed for nearly sixty musical stage shows, from Take Five in 1957 to the revival of Promises, Promises in 2010, thirteen films, from The Twelve Chairs in 1970 to Sweeney Todd in 2007 (including Blazing Saddles 1974, Young Frankenstein 1974, A Little Night Music 1977, Fort Apache the Bronx 1981, Endless Love 1981, and Reds 1981), and two dozen scores for television (Columbo: Murder Under Glass 1978, Three by Cheever 1979, Night of 100 Stars 1982, Murder, She Wrote 1984, Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories 1985, Into the Woods 1991). For most of his television scores he also served as conductor. In short, Tunick is the go-to guy for arrangements.

He is married to actress Leigh Beery.

– LEC

Back to Artists