Composer, arranger, musician and conductor Robert Russell Bennett studied piano with his mother and other instruments with his bandmaster father, and also with Carl Busch and Nadia Boulanger (honorary DHL, Franklin & Marshall College and Guggenheim fellowships). He began conducting at 11, was organist at a Kansas City theatre and a violinist and violist with string ensembles...See full bio »
[on Irving Berlin] Irving couldn't play a scale, an arpeggio - nothing. He had no piano technique at all. But inside, he hears it. I remember in particular, when we were together and he was doing a song for Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the picture 'Carefree'. It's called 'Change Partners'. He came to a spot in this...
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His orchestration of "The March of the Siamese Children" for the stage version of "The King and I" was considered so excellent that it was the only one of his orchestrations for the stage production which was exactly duplicated for the 1956 film (although augmented for full orchestra).
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