These days, Stephen Sondheim has to step back just to breathe. As he approaches his 70th birthday next year, the beloved Broadway and Hollywood composer credits longevity to the fact that he gets to make art on his own terms.
“You know, we don’t seem to be working very hard at all anymore. Not terribly, but I don’t seem to take it for granted, and I think it keeps me very busy,” Sondheim told CNN in an interview earlier this year.
To celebrate his milestone birthday, Sondheim sits down with CNN Arts Contributor Bridget Foy for an intimate conversation about his career, his family and friends, and his work.
Steve Sondheim on piano with the cast of “West Side Story”
His creative process lies in the sounds he hears in his head, and what he transcribes on to the page is still a challenge, he said.
“I’ve done thousands of things. I’ve never written a song that doesn’t come from my head,” he said. “You know, you can’t write a song because you wanted to. You write a song because of the feeling that gets swept up in the idea.”