A Final Goodbye to Marvin Hamlisch

Pittsburgh, PA — Jan. 30, 2013 by Andrew Wickesberg at the Pittsburgh Symphony — Last night was a bittersweet moment for the PSO family. Last night we both celebrated and said goodbye to our great friend and conductor, Marvin Hamlisch. We all have our stories about him, and I wanted to share mine before it fades back into memory.

Finale: Guest Artists form “A chorus line”, instead of holding up their own head shots, proudly replaced them with a photo of Hamlisch. — at Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts.

When I first joined the orchestra at 27, I had no idea who Marvin was, or what he meant to the PSO. As I watched him interact with audiences, most memorably during his “rent-a-composer” skits, I realized what a special person he was, and what a gift for entertaining he had.

One evening, after a local university group had performed with the PSO, Marvin asked the audience “Who’s here for this group?” A small group of students from the back of the hall yelled out in response. HE then pointed to me, and asked “Who’s here for this guy?” To my great surprise, the entire hall responded with applause! I know that the applause was for the whole orchestra, and not just for me, but afterwards I joked with my colleagues that I could never be fired because I had “Marvin” tenure.

It was both happy and sad to be onstage last night listening to and playing songs that we had done with Marvin so many times. The orchestra was at the best I have heard it in a pops concert. Marvin would have been thrilled, and I think that that is the best tribute we could have given him.

Marvin Hamlisch (at podium) during one of his visits to The Pittsburgh Symphony

Thanks Marvin, for all the “Memries”!   — By Andrew Wickesberg

Special note from Terre Blair Hamlisch: Thanks to Andrew Wickesberg for this beautiful article. Thank you team Hamlisch for wonderful Powerful tribute to Marvin .. Always thank you to the PSO , management and staff and all the performes… Terre


Source: Andrew Wickesberg at The Pittsburgh Symphony