Stephen Sondheim may have been best known as one of the greatest
composer/lyricists the theater has ever known. But he often said
that he would have loved to have been a teacher — and he was an
extraordinarily generous one to generations of young composers.
I was one of them. I came to New York right after college, full of
ambition to write Broadway musicals. Somehow I met Sondheim, and
for many years, he’d give me feedback on my songs, and I gave him
First of all, he always said, content dictates form. In other
words, the kind of music you’re writing should depend on the
character and the dramatic situation.