In memory of Stephen Sondheim (1930-2021)

The enormously prolific and influential composer and lyricist, Stephen Sondheim, passed away on November 26, 2021. Known for his generosity in sharing his knowledge and tutelage in the field of musical composition, Sondheim came to SMU to receive the Meadows Prize in 1994 and spoke to students and the SMU community about his ideas on the creative process and a career in the arts.

Forbes cover with Hal Prince

Bequeathed to the Meadows School of the Arts, from the family of Ann Folz, 1950 SMU alumnae and donor to SMU Libraries, are posters from several musicals during Sondheim’s most prolific period of the 1970s and 1980s. Ann explained that her family was a friend of Hal Prince and they invested in his productions, some of which were quite successful – and others, not. These posters adorn the walls of Hamon’s Hawn Conference room.

If you would like to know more about Sondheim’s works and life, Music Librarian, Pam Pagels, offers a selection of suggestions, which includes three sound recordings from musicals depicted in the Hawn Conference room posters.

Sondheim Links

The Hamon Arts Library has access to an extensive array of items pertaining to Sondheim and his compositions. These include books, interviews, sound and video recordings, and music scores.

Sondheim as author, lyricist, composer:

Sondheim, Stephen. Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes. 1st ed. New York: Knopf, 2010.

Sondheim, Stephen. Look, I Made a Hat : Collected Lyrics (1981-2011) with Attendant Comments, Amplifications, Dogmas, Harangues, Digressions, Anecdotes and Miscellany. 1st ed. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011.

Interviews with Sondheim

Horowitz, Mark Eden., and Stephen. Sondheim. Sondheim on Music Minor Details and Major Decisions. 2nd ed. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press in association with the Library of Congress, 2010.

Scholarly books about Sondheim:

Gordon, Robert. The Oxford Handbook of Sondheim Studies. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Swayne, Steve. How Sondheim Found His Sound. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2010.

Libretti and music scores:  

For libretti, you can browse in the ML50 .S705 section, with each work alphabetized by title.

For piano-vocal scores, look for M1503. S698, then each work alphabetized by title.

Sound recordings: (note: these selections include performers from original casts of the Hal Prince productions.)

From Pacific Overtures, “Pretty Lady,” original cast recording:


“Ladies Who Lunch” from Company, performed by Elaine Stritch:


“Send in the Clowns” from A Little Night Music, performed by Glynis Johns:



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