Profile of a Composer: Richard Rodgers

Richard Rodgers is behind the melodies we all lovingly sing from The Sound of Music and numerous other musicals.

In fact he composed over 900 songs and 43 Broadway musicals.

Richard Rodgers
Richard Rodgers

He was born on June 28, 1902 in New York City.  He began playing the piano when he was six years old and was composing music as a composer.

In 1919, he met Lorenz Hart.  The two men teamed together to produce Broadways but struggled through much of their partnership.

In 1930, he married Dorothy Belle Feiner.  They had 2 daughters, Mary {also a composer} and Linda.

His working partnership ended in 1943 with the death of Lorenz Hart.

He then teamed with Oscar Hammerstein II with whom he had great success.  The men produced such hits as Oklahoma!, The King and I, South Pacific and of course, The Sound of Music.  They worked together until the death of Oscar Hammerstein II in 1960.

Rodgers wrote both the music and lyrics for his next Broadway musical, No Strings, in 1962.


Rodgers and Hart
Rodgers and Hart

Rodgers wrote the lyrics and music for two songs that were added to the film version of The Sound of Music.  I Have Confidence and Something Good were not in the Broadway version of the story.  That is why the songs are often not performed when you see a live version of the musical.

Rodgers teamed with other lyricists over the years, including Martin Charnin, Sheldon Harnick and Hammerstein’s protégé, Stephen Sondheim.

Rodgers and Hammerstein
Rodgers and Hammerstein

He received numerous awards over the years and is only one of two people {with Marvin Hamlisch} to win the EGOT and a Pulitzer Prize.   {EGOT stands for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony}.

In 1978, Rodgers received the Barnard Medal of Distinction from Barnard College in New York City.

He died the following year on December 30, 1979 in NYC.

In 1990, the 46th Street Theatre was renamed “The Richard Rodgers Theatre.”