Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber

Composer

Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber

Andrew Lloyd Webber was born in 1948. He is the composer of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; Jesus Christ Superstar; the film scores of Gumshoe and The Odessa File; Evita; Variations; and Tell Me on a Sunday combined as Song and Dance; CATS; Starlight Express; Requiem, a setting of the Latin Requiem Mass; The Phantom of the Opera; Aspects of Love; Sunset Boulevard; By Jeeves, an acclaimed re-working of his earlier Jeeves; Whistle Down the Wind and, most recently, The Beautiful Game.

In 1982 he became the first person to have three musicals running in New York and three in London, an achievement repeated throughout the 1980s and '90s. He has won six Tony awards, four Drama Desk awards, three Grammys, including the award for Best Classical Composition for Requiem in 1986, and five Laurence Olivier awards. In 1992 he was awarded a knighthood for Services to the Arts. He was inducted into the American Songwriters' Hall of Fame and given the Præmium Imperiale award for Music in 1995. In 1996 he received the Richard Rodgers award for Excellence in Musical Theatre and the London production of CATS became the longest running musical in West End theatre history. In 1997 he and Sir Tim Rice won the Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Original Song for the Evita soundtrack. In 1998 he was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Music.

In January 1997 he was elevated to the peerage as The Lord Lloyd-Webber of Sydmonton.

Regarding CATS

Having enjoyed T.S.Eliot's poems as a child, he began to formulate the idea after buying a copy of the poems while at an airport. After gaining permission from Valerie Eliot, T.S.Eliot's widow, to set the poems to music, he began to do so late in 1977, finding most if not all of them to have a rhythm of their own. However, he did not consider the idea seriously until 1980 when he began to think of making a concert anthology out of the poems. As a result some were performed at the Sydmonton Festival in 1980. It was then that Valerie Eliot appeared with some unpublished verses and poems. These included "Grizabella: the Glamour Cat" and showed a human-like character as well as part of the storyline of CATS as we know it.

Sources: CATS programme and "CATS, The Book of The Musical". Photo copyright © The Really Useful Group and Dewynters.