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Hair Composer Galt MacDermot Dead At 89

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NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — Galt MacDermot, a Grammy-winning composer who lent his music to Broadway productions such as Hair and Two Gentlemen of Verona, died on December 17th. He was 89.

According to Playbill, MacDermot’s passing was confirmed by his granddaughter.

A native of Montreal, MacDermot was educated was educated at Upper Canada College and Bishop’s University, but received a Bachelor of Music from Cape Town University, South Africa, where he privately studied piano with Neil Chotem and studied African music.

In 1960, he won his first Grammy Award Cannonball Adderley’s rendition of his song “African Waltz” which appeared on an album of the same name.

In 1964, he relocated to New York and three years later, he wrote the music for James Rado and Gerome Ragni’s musical Hair. While Hair later became a hit, it didn’t have an auspicious beginning and was initially turned down numerous B’Way producers before landing off-Broadway at Joe Papp’s Public Theatre for a limited run.

When it finally made it to Broadway’s Biltmore Theatre in 1968, it became a hit, running for more than 1,700 performances and was adapted into a film in 1979 and the Broadway cast album won a Grammy in 1969.

Galt then scored another hit with the musical Two Gentlemen of Verona, which won the Tony Award for Best Musical, with MacDermot nominated for Tonys for Best Music and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music, which he won.

In 1979, MacDermot formed the New Pulse Jazz Band, which performs and records his original music and which took part in the Broadway revival of Hair as the on-stage band.

MacDermot’s film soundtracks include Cotton Comes to Harlem, Rhinoceros, and Mistress.


n 2009 Galt MacDermot was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. In 2010 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from SOCAN.

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