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Larry Blank

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Larry Blank is an American composer, arranger, orchestrator and conductor. He has worked in film, theatre and television, and has been nominated for a Tony Award three times.

Early life and education[edit]

Blank was born in Brooklyn, New York on July 15, 1952, and grew up in Bayside, Queens.[citation needed] He began piano lessons at 16 and gained experience by performing as a rehearsal pianist, playing and conducting at various summer-stock theaters and dinner theaters around the United States.[citation needed]

Blank studied drama at the High School of Performing Arts, Manhattan.[citation needed] He was mentored by Don Pippin, Irwin Kostal and Ralph Burns. Blank later studied conducting with Rudi Bennett and piano with Leslie Harnley.[1][self-published source] Blank then moved to Los Angeles to continue his studies in orchestration and composition under Kostal.[citation needed]



Along with Alfred Newman and Glen Roven, Blank was one of the youngest conductors in Broadway history.[citation needed] He first conducted on Broadway at the age of 22, leading the orchestra as a replacement conductor for Goodtime Charley and other shows.[citation needed] On the recommendation of Donald Pippin, he was hired by Michael Bennett and Marvin Hamlisch as music director for the International Touring Co. productions of A Chorus Line and They're Playing Our Song.[citation needed] Several other productions followed, including Evita, Sugar Babies, La Cage Aux Folles, The Phantom of the Opera, Teddy and Alice, Onward Victoria, Copperfield,[2] and Colette.[citation needed]

In March 1999, Blank conducted the 20th anniversary production of Sweeney Todd at the Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, with Kelsey Grammer and Christine Baranski.[citation needed] In 2002, he was asked to conduct Sweeney Todd for the Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration, as well as a subsequent production for Wolf Trap Opera.[citation needed]

Blank is a regular guest conductor and orchestrator for Friday Night is Music Night on BBC Radio Two.[3] He has been associated with the Olivier Awards for 10 years as a musical supervisor and conductor.[3] Blank is the resident POPS conductor for the Pasadena Symphony, California.[citation needed] He has guest conducted for the Opera de Toulon, including conducting their production of Bernstein's Wonderful Town.[citation needed]

Blank was the musical director for Katie Couric's Hollywood Hits Broadway and her fund-raising tribute to West Side Story.[citation needed] In February 2020, he conducted for Jerry Herman's memorial at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.[4]

Arranging and orchestration[edit]

Blank has arranged two songs for the Boston Pops tribute to Jerry Herman, and two songs for American Idol.[citation needed] He was the conductor and arranger of Jerry Herman's title song for the film Barney's Great Adventure.[citation needed]

Blank has created orchestrations for Tommy Tune: White Tie and Tails, Three Coins in the Fountain, White Christmas and Roman Holiday at The Muny.[citation needed] He orchestrated and arranged Let the Eagle Fly, a musical about labor organizer Cesar Chavez.[citation needed] On the request from the composer Charles Fox, Blank orchestrated the ballet Zorro, performed by the San Francisco Ballet.[citation needed] He was the orchestrator for Barbara Cook’s christmas CD Count Your Blessings, as well as Christine Andreas' CD Piaf: No Regrets.[citation needed] Blank was also the orchestrator for Jerry Herman's concept recording Miss Spectacular.[citation needed]

In 2012, his orchestrations were performed during Singin' in the Rain at the Palace Theatre, London.[citation needed] In 2019, Blank orchestrated and conducted the music for FX's Fosse/Verdon for the composer Alex Lacamoire.[citation needed] He was the arranger, orchestrator, and conductor for Dolly Parton's 2020 film, Christmas On The Square.[citation needed]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Blank has been nominated for a Tony Award three times, for his orchestrations of Catch Me If You Can (with Marc Shaiman),[5] White Christmas, and The Drowsy Chaperone. Blank's orchestration of eight songs for the Broadway production of The Producers was acknowledged by Doug Besterman and Mel Brooks at the 2001 Tony Awards after the show won Best Original Score.[citation needed]

He has been nominated six times for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Orchestrations for White Christmas, The Drowsy Chaperone, Catch Me If You Can, A Christmas Story, Honeymoon in Vegas and Fiddler on the Roof.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Ben Finn (1 December 2006). Look, The Sun Is Shining. Xlibris Corporation. pp. 142–. ISBN 978-1-4628-1576-0.
  2. ^ Steven Suskin (2011). The Sound of Broadway Music: A Book of Orchestrators and Orchestrations. Oxford University Press. pp. 44–. ISBN 978-0-19-979084-5.
  3. ^ a b Ackman, Nicole. "BWW Interview: Larry Blank On Being Music Director of the Olivier Awards". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 2023-03-26.
  4. ^ "An Interview with Tony-nominated orchestrator and conductor Larry Blank ". Musical Criticism
  5. ^ "Catch Me If You Can - 2011 Broadway Musical: Tickets & Info | Broadway World". www.broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 2022-07-18.

Additional sources[edit]