Theater and Film
In addition to winning his second Tony Award for Best Score for Broadway’s “Titanic” (which won five Tonys including Best Musical), Yeston won a Tony Award and two Drama Desk Awards for his music and lyrics to Broadway’s “Nine” (based on Fellini’s “8 ½”). That production won four additional Tonys, including Best Musical. The Broadway revival of “Nine”, starring Antonio Banderas, won the Tony Award for Best Musical Revival. Yeston’s contribution to the score for Broadway’s “Grand Hotel” was nominated for a Tony and two Drama Desk Awards, and Michael Grandage’s Donmar Warehouse London production of this show won the Olivier Award.
His score for “Phantom” has received national and international acclaim and is currently in production across America, Europe and Asia. Yeston’s score to “Death Takes A Holiday”, with a Book by Peter Stone and Thomas Meehan, appeared Off Broadway in 2011 –and was nominated for 11 Drama Desk Awards, including Best Score and Best Musical and cited by Time Magazine as among the top 10 plays and musicals of 2011.
The film adaptation of “Nine”, directed by Rob Marshall features Daniel Day-Lewis, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, Dame Judi Dench, Kate Hudson, Fergie, and Sophia Loren, with a screenplay by Anthony Minghella and Michael Tolkin, and was nominated for 5 Golden Globes and 4 Academy Awards. Yeston was nominated for a Critics Choice and Golden Globe for Best Original Song (“Cinema Italiano”) and an Academy Award for Best Original Song (“Take It All”).
Yeston’s music and lyrics cover a wide variety of styles, from his Cello Concerto (premiered by Yo-Yo Ma) to the concept album “Goya—A Life In Song,” (featuring Placido Domingo and Gloria Estefan). The song “Till I Loved You,” from the “Goya” album became a Top 40 hit for Barbra Streisand. When commissioned by Carnegie Hall to write a series of songs commemorating their centennial celebration, Yeston created the modern classical crossover song cycle “December Songs”, inspired by Schubert’s masterpiece “Die Winterreise”. Commissioned by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to create a grand work for the Millennium, he composed and orchestrated “An American Cantata – 2000 Voices” – a choral symphony in three movements for the National Symphony Orchestra and 2000 singers, conducted by Leonard Slatkin and premiering on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in July of 2000. In addition he has written numerous Chamber works including a Piano Sonata, and works for voice and piano
Yeston had the idea of writing a three-act story ballet in the grand European classical tradition, but one steeped in Americana based on an American subject. The result was “Tom Sawyer”—A Ballet in Three Acts”, a symphonic work commissioned for the Kansas City Ballet to inaugurate Kansas City’s new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. It was choreographed by William Whitener, with costumes by Holly Hynes, and Alastair Macaulay’s NY Times rave review declared “this is the first all-new, entirely American three-act ballet: it is based on an American literary classic, has an original score by an American composer and was given its premiere by an American choreographer and company”. A 2-CD recording of the entire three-act, 1 hour 35 minute work, performed by The San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, was released by PS Classics in August 2013.
Recordings and Incidental Music
Three times nominated for a Grammy Award, Yeston’s recordings include cast albums of Nine, Titanic, Phantom, Grand Hotel, Death Takes A Holiday, The Maury Yeston Songbook, December Songs (six times in English and once each in French, German, and Polish), Goya - A Life In Song, the Film Soundtrack of Nine, “If I Tell You” - Laura Osnes sings Songs of Maury Yeston”, “Tom Sawyer - A Ballet in Three Acts”, and the cast album of the musical revue “Anything Can Happen in The Theater”. He also wrote the incidental music for the Broadway 2009 hit revival of “The Royal Family”, directed by Doug Hughes, and for the legendary Off Broadway New York premiere of Caryl Churchill’s “Cloud 9”, directed by Tommy Tune.
New and Recent Works
A recent European premiere of the Small Ensemble “Titanic”, directed by Thom Sullivan and produced by Danielle Tarento, opened to rave reviews at the Southwark Playhouse in London, winning Broadwayworld UK’s Award for Best Regional Production of a Musical in the UK, Whatsonstage Best Regional Production of a Musical, and swept the Offie Awards in four categories including Best Musical Production. Southwark Playhouse matched this success in August 2015 with their well-recieved production of “Grand Hotel”, garnering Critic’s “top picks” from numerous UK publications. Yeston’s latest project is entitled “The Lady Eve”, a new musical with a Book by Thomas Meehan, adapted from the legendary Preston Sturges screwball romantic comedy film that featured Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda. In addition, a revue showcasing his work, conceived and directed by Gerard Alessandrini - “Anything Can Happen In The Theater, The Musical World of Maury Yeston” - opened to great acclaim at the York Theater in New York in the Spring of 2020. He is currently also writing a new musical in the grand tradition based on the story of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge
Academia and Honors
Yeston holds a PhD. from Yale University and BA and MA degrees from both Yale and Clare College, Cambridge Universities. He was Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Music at Yale for eight years, twice cited by the undergraduates as being among Yale’s top ten professors and was Director of the BMI Music Theatre Advanced Workshop in New York City for twenty five years. As a musicologist he is the author of “The Stratification of Musical Rhythm”– a seminal music theory text noted for its groundbreaking innovation in his original theory of rhythm, and “Readings in Schenker Analysis” - a compendium of academic essays elucidating the study of tonality as conceived by the noted theorist Heinrich Schenker – both books published by Yale University Press, in addition to scholarly articles including “Rubato and The Middleground” published in The Journal of Music Theory.
He is a lifetime member of the Council of the Dramatists Guild, and served on the Board of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, The Kleban Foundation and The Kurt Weill Foundation. He also served on the editorial boards of Musical Quarterly and the advisory board of the Yale University Press Broadway Series. Yeston was a Kayden Visiting Artist at Harvard University in 1998, received The Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center Creative Arts Award in New York as Artist of The Year, and was The Encompass Opera’s Lifetime Achievement Honoree in 2009. He is an Ambassador of The Society of Composers and Lyricists, received the Emerson College Artist of Distinction Award, The Sheldon Harnick Award for Creative Excellence, and holds an Honorary Doctorate from Five Towns College. More meaningful to him than any of the above are the awards and accomplishments of his almost four decades of brilliant students. As Ned Rorem has pointed out, “Artists exult in their own self-discovery; teachers exult in the self-discovery of others.”