John Harold Kander (born March 18, 1927) is the American composer of a number of musicals as part of the songwriting team of Kander and Ebb.
Life and career
Kander was born in Kansas City, Missouri, the son of Bernice (née Aaron) and Harold S. Kander. Kander attended The Pembroke Country-Day School and Oberlin College before earning a Master's degree at Columbia University where he was a protégé of Douglas Moore and studied composition with Jack Beeson. He began his Broadway career as substitute rehearsal pianist for West Side Story. The stage manager for West Side Story then asked Kander to play the auditions for her next show, Gypsy. During the auditions, Kander met the choreographer, Jerome Robbins, who suggested that Kander compose the dance music for the show in 1959. After that experience, he wrote dance arrangements for Irma la Douce in 1960. His first produced musical was A Family Affair, written with James and William Goldman. He met lyricist Fred Ebb in 1962 and began a songwriting collaboration that would last for more than four decades. Later that year rising star Barbra Streisand recorded two of the duo's songs, "My Coloring Book" and "I Don't Care Much." In 1965, Kander and Ebb landed their first show on Broadway, Flora the Red Menace, produced by Hal Prince, directed by George Abbott, and with book by George Abbott and Robert Russell, in which Liza Minnelli made her initial Broadway appearance. Kander and Ebb have since been associated with writing material for both Liza Minnelli and Chita Rivera, and have produced special material for their appearances live and on television.
The musicals Cabaret and Chicago have been made into films; the film version of Chicago won the 2002 Academy Award for Best Picture.
John Kander musicals
Lyrics by Fred Ebb unless otherwise noted.
The duo also contributed songs for the following movies:
John Kander film scores
- Tony Award (1967, for Cabaret)
- Tony Award (1981, for Woman Of The year)
- Tony Award (1993, for Kiss Of The Spiderwoman)
- Laurence Olivier Award (1998, for the London production of Chicago)
- Emmy Award (1973, for Liza With A Z)
- Emmy Award (1993, for Liza Minnelli Live! From Radio City Music Hall)
- Grammy Award (1967, for Cabaret, Original Cast Album)
- Grammy Award (1998, for Chicago, Musical Show Album)
They also received numerous nominations, which include five more Tony Awards, two Academy Awards, and four Golden Globe Awards.
In 1998, they received the Kennedy Center Honors award for Lifetime Achievement.