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Lehman Engel (Composer, Arranger)

Born: September 14, 1910 - Jackson, Mississipi, USA
Died: August 29, 1982 - New York, New York, USA

The American conductor, composer, and writer on music, Lehman (Americh) Engel, attended the University of Cincinnati and studied composition at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (1927-1929) before completing his training in New York with Goldmark at the Juilliard Graduate School (1930-1934) and with Sessions (1931-1937).

Lehman Engel conducted his own Lehman Engel Singers and the Madrigal Singers from 1935 to 1939. He worked as musical director for the St. Louis Municipal Opera for a number of years before moving to New York, to concentrate on conducting and composing for the serious and popular New York theater.

Lehman Engel worked in a variety of positions on television specials. He was composer and conductor of the music for the famed 1954 television production of Shakespeare's Macbeth, starring Maurice Evans and Judith Anderson, but did not work on the 1960 remake starring the same two actors. He was conductor of the first (and so far, the only) television version of Leonard Bernstein's Wonderful Town (1958) (TV), as well as, in the preceding years, of Twelfth Night in 1957 and the TV version of The Taming of the Shrew in 1956 He also conducted the music for the Broadway musical version of Lil' Abner, as well as the 1959 motion picture adapted from the show. Lehman Engel also composed the music for the 1939 Broadway revival of Hamlet, starring Maurice Evans, as well as for the original 1948 stage production of Maxwell Anderson's Anne of the Thousand Days, starring Rex Harrison and Joyce Redman. Engel founded the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop, a workshop in New York for musical theatre composers, lyricists and librettists.

Lehman Engel won Broadway's Tony Award twice as Best Conductor and Musical Director: in 1951 for The Consul and in 1953 for Wonderful Town and Gilbert and Sullivan Season. He was also nominated in the same category three other times: in 1959 for Goldilocks, in 1960 for Take Me Along and in 1964 for What Makes Sammy Run? This made him the most nominated Conductor and Musical Director, a category that no longer exists.


Dramatic: Operas:
The Pierrot of the Minuet (1927; Cincinnati, April 3, 1928)
Malady of love (New York, May 27, 1954)
The Soldier (1955; concert performance, New York, November 25, 1956)

Musical Comedies:
Golden Ladder (Cleveland, May 28, 1953)
Serena (1956)

Ceremonials (1932; New York, May 13, 1933)
Phobias (New York, Nov. 18, 1932)
Ekstasis (1933)
Transitions (New York, February 19, 1934)
Imperial Gesture (1935)
Marching Song (1935)
Traditions (1938)
The Shoe Bird (1967; Jackson, Mississipi, April 20, 1968)

Also incidental music to over 50 plays and some film scores

2 symphonies (1939, 1945)
Overture for the End of the World (1945)
Viola Concerto (1945)
Jackson, overture (Jackson, Mississipi, February 13, 1961)

String Quartet (1933)
Cello Sonata (1945)
Violin Sonata (1953)

The Chinese Nightingale, cantata (1928)
The Creation for Narrator and Orchestra (1945)

Writings (all published in New York):
This Bright Day (autobiography; 1956; 2nd edition, revised, 1974)
Planning and Producing the Musical Show (1957; 2nd edition, revised, 1966)
The American Musical Theatre: A Consideration (1967; 2nd edition, revised, 1975)
The Musical Book (1971)
Words with Music (1972)
Getting Started in the Theater (1973)
Their Words are Music: The Great Lyricists and Their Lyrics (1975)
The Critics (1976)
The Making of a Musical (1977)
Getting the Show On: The Complete Guidebookfor Producing a Musical in Your Theatre (1983)

Source: Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997); IMDB Website; Wikipedia Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (July 2007)

Herman Engel: Short Biography | Piano Transcriptions: Works | Recordings

Links to other Sites

Lehman Engel (Wikipedia)
Lehman Engel (

Lehman Engel - Biography (IMDB)
The Lehman Engel Collection (Millisap College)


Biography in: The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives. Volume One, 1981-1985, pages 258-259 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998)

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