Andrew Lloyd Webber, Baron Lloyd-Webber (born 22 March 1948), is an English composer and impresario of musical theater. He has created many of the most famous musicals of all time, including The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Evita, and Starlight Express. His production company, Really Useful Group, is one of the largest in London and Lloyd Webber was given a Knighthood in 1992, followed by an honorary peerage in 1997.
Andrew Lloyd Webber was born in London in 1948 into a musical family. His father was the Director of the London College of Music and his brother, Julian, became a celebrated cellist. Lloyd Webber began to play the violin, piano and French horn at an early age and, by the time he turned 6, he was writing his own music. He initially studied at Oxford University but soon dropped out to enroll in the Royal College of Music. When he was 17, he received a letter from Sir Tim Rice (then 21), expressing an interest in writing lyrics for Lloyd Webber's music. This was the beginning of a hugely successful collaboration.
Lloyd Webber and Rice's first musical theater hit was Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat, which opened in 1968 as a short piece, quickly evolving to the full musical we know today. They followed this up with Jesus Christ Superstar in 1971. This production was significant as it started the musical pair's interest in creating a concept album first and following this up with the full production afterwards. The next musical to follow this pattern was Evita, which debuted on the London stage in 1978.
Soon after Evita, Lloyd Webber and Rice stopped working together, but Lloyd Webber's success continued in the 1980s with the huge hits, Cats, Starlight Express, and The Phantom of the Opera. During the 1990s and 21st century he has continued to produce musicals, although they have often been met with differences in critical success. Among the more successful were Sunset Boulevard (1994), The Woman in White (2004), and Love Never Dies (2010). During this time, Lloyd Webber has also dabbled in television work, producing and casting new musical theater stars from reality television shows. In 2015, Lloyd Webber found success on both Broadway and the London stage again with the rock musical, School of Rock. Based on the 2003 film of the same name, the musical has received critical success and was nominated in the Best New Musical category at the 2016 Tony Awards and the 2017 Olivier Awards.
In total, he has composed 13 musicals, a song cycle, a set of variations, two film scores, and a Latin Requiem Mass. He has also gained seven Tony Awards, three Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, fourteen Ivor Novello Awards, seven Olivier Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2006. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, is an inductee into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame, and is a fellow of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.