The countdown: the 100 most important people of 2018

No one can accuse composers of being too careful – Stephen Sondheim fans rejoice. Throughout his career, he has had a bit of a knack for writing a song that lasts its length, says the Observer’s Matthew Collings

Songs are a great friend to writers. For decades, our ability to be left alone has been and continues to be under threat. That may now be about to change: as Roger Ebert wrote last year about US president Donald Trump, “It is in this climate that songwriters might make a comeback.” The evidence speaks to his point: Sondheim’s fans certainly believe so. Now more than ever, they are celebrating his US oeuvre with the annual Stephen Sondheim Songwriters Circle awards. The show, which began in 2007 as simply a way to honour Sondheim songwriting talents, is a multimedia extravaganza that includes a play, lecture and performance, and culminates in a ceremony attended by recording artists and politicians. This year’s nominees include Frank Ocean and Jon Batiste from the Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

Rory O’Connell

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