Peter Matz, a musical director, arranger, conductor, and composer who had a major influence on the careers of such artists as Barbra Streisand and Carol Burnett, died on Friday, August 9, 2002 of lung cancer at the age of 73.
Over a 50-year period, Matz composed scores, created orchestrations, and conducted many live performances in addition to his work for films, television, and recordings. His Broadway credits included Harold Arlen's House of Flowers and Jamaica, Noel Coward's Sail Away, Richard Rodgers's No Strings, and Jule Styne's Hallelujah, Baby; his last Broadway show was Grand Hotel. Matz received a Tony Award nomination (for No Strings); three Emmy Awards (for My Name is Barbra, The Sounds of Burt Bacharach, and The Carol Burnett Show); a Grammy Award for the Barbra Streisand album People; a Clio Award; and an Academy Award nomination. Matz also provided numerous arrangements and orchestrations for the annual Academy Award telecasts over the years.
In addition to Streisand and Burnett, the long list of stars for whom Matz created orchestrations, arranged, and/or conducted includes Marlene Dietrich, Kiri Te Kanawa, Nancy LaMott, Barbara Cook, Bernadette Peters, Peggy Lee, Lena Horne, Bing Crosby, Liza Minnelli, Diahann Carroll, Tony Bennett, K.D. Lang, Sarah Vaughan, Dionne Warwick, Rosemary Clooney, Maureen McGovern, Sam Harris, and Melissa Manchester. In recent years, Matz was known for his work as musical director of the Los Angeles Reprise! series of American musicals presented in semi-staged concert form; he was with Reprise! from its founding in 1995 until his passing.
Matz is survived by his two sons, Jonas and Zachary; a grandson, Kemper', and his wife, the singer-actress Marilynn Lovell Matz, with whom he worked on a number of projects including several AIDS benefits for S.T.A.G.E. and the Shanti Foundation.