Related topics

Irwin Kostal, Hollywood Orchestrator and Conductor

December 2, 1994

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Irwin Kostal, an orchestrator and conductor who won Academy Awards for his work on ″West Side Story″ and ″The Sound of Music,″ is dead at age 83.

Kostal, president of the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers, died Nov. 23 of a heart attack at his home in Studio City, Scherr Lillico, a spokeswoman for the organization, said Thursday.

Kostal orchestrated music for Broadway, television and movies. He shared an Academy Award in 1961 for scoring ″West Side Story,″ also named the year’s best picture, and won another Oscar and a Grammy for 1965′s ″The Sound of Music.″

He worked as arranger and conductor on ″The Garry Moore Show″ from 1958-1963. He was nominated for Academy Awards for his scoring work on 1964′s ″Mary Poppins,″ 1971′s ″Bedknobs and Broomsticks″ and the 1977 film ″Pete’s Dragon.″

He received Emmy nominations as conductor on ″The Julie Andrews Show″ in 1966 and for his musical direction in the Kirk Douglas musical ″Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde″ in 1973.

Kostal began orchestrating for Broadway in the 1960s, working on the original stage version of ″West Side Story″ and on ″A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.″ Disney then hired him to score films.

In the early 1980s, he was in charge of rescoring Disney’s animated classic ″Fantasia,″ which was released again in 1990.

″The original soundtrack was deteriorating, so they went in and re- recorded,″ said Dominic Fidelibus, music librarian for the Disney studios and a friend for 25 years. ″To re-record something and to match it to the picture was quite a feat.″

Kostal also worked on the films ″Chitty Chitty Bang Bang″ and ″Charlotte’s Web.″

Kostal began his career arranging music for the NBC radio show ″Design for Listening.″ He did arrangements for Sid Caesar’s ″Your Show of Shows″ from 1950 to 1955.

He is survived by three children, Irwin Kostal Jr., Judith Kostal and Diane LaDow.

No funeral service was planned.

Update hourly