ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER is one of the outstanding contemporary English composers. He is famous for his electric, rock-based works which helped revitalize British and American musical theatre in the late 20th century.
Lloyd Webber was born on March 22, 1948 in London. He studied at Magdalen College, Oxford, and at the Royal College of Music. While a student he began collaborating with Timothy Rice on dramatic productions. Rice wrote the lyrics to Lloyd Webber’s music. Their first notable venture was «Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat» (1968), a pop oratorio for children. It earned world-wide popularity. It was followed by the rock opera «Jesus Christ Superstar» (1971), an extremely popular work that blended classical forms with rock music to tell the story of Jesus’ life. This show was one of the longest-running musicals in British theatrical history.
Lloyd Webber’s last major collaboration with Rice was on «Evita» (1978), a musical about Eva Peron, the wife of the Argentine dictator Juan Peron.
In his next major musical, «Cats» (1981), Lloyd Webber set to music verses from a children’s book by T.S. Eliot. «Cats» became the longest- running musical in the history of British theatre and eventually (1996) eclipsed the record-setting Broadway performance run of A Chorus Line.
In 1986 Lloyd Webber composed a hugely popular musical version of «The Phantom of the Opera» with lyricist Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe. It strikes the spectators’ imagination with superb music, powerful and captivating melodies, which have become classical.
Lloyd Webber’s other musicals include «Song and Dance» (1982), «Starlight Express» (1984) and «Aspects of Love» (1989).
Lloyd Webber’s best musicals were flashy spectacles that featured vivid melodies and forceful dramatic staging. He was able to blend such disparate genres as rock and roll, English music-hall song, and operatic forms into music that had a wide popular appeal.
In 1992 Queen Elizabeth II dubbed Webber a knight.