Charles Strouse is an American composer and lyricist. He was born on June 7, 1928, in New York City and began taking piano lessons when he was 10 years old. At 15, he matriculated into the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music. After graduation, while serving some odd music-related jobs, he studied under the likes of Aaron Copland and Nadia Boulanger, among others.
In 1949, at a party, Strouse met lyricist Lee Adams, and a long-time partnership was born. The two spent the next decade writing music for revues as well as for famous entertainers. In 1958, they auditioned for producer Edward Padula, who was looking to put on a new musical about American teenagers, and they got the job. The result was 1960’s Bye Bye Birdie, which won the Tony Award for Best Musical and gave Strouse a name for himself.
Since then, Strouse has written several successful Broadway musicals, including the Tony Award-winning Applause and Annie. Many of his other musicals earned him Tony nominations as well. Strouse has also written for film and television, for movies and shows such as Bonnie & Clyde, All in the Family, and All Dogs Go to Heaven. His music has also been adapted and remixed by pop artists (most famously Jay-Z’s “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” and have earned awards in that realm as well.
Strouse’s music has permeated American culture like few composers’ have, and in his old age, he continues to write music and have projects lined up. Strouse is married to director-choreographer Barbara Siman, and the couple have four children.