BACHARACH, BURT (1928– ), composer and pianist. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Bacharach studied cello, drums, and piano from an early age. He studied music at the Mannes College of Music in New York, at the New School of Social Research, and at McGill University in Montreal. Among his composition teachers were Darius *Milhaud, Bohuslav Martinů, and Henry Cowell. He subsequently worked as an accompanist for several popular singers such as Polly *Bergen, Steve *Lawrence, Paula Stewart, and Marlene Dietrich from 1958 to 1961. He began composing popular songs in the mid-1950s, collaborating with the lyricist Hal David and later writing hit songs for Dionne Warwick. Bacharach's style includes heterogenous elements such as variable meter, pandiatonic and jazz harmonies, rhythmic ostinatos, and effects from black American styles. He won two Academy Awards for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) with the well-known song "Raindrops Keep Failing on my Head." In the 1990s he collaborated with Elvis Costello. His compositions include the musicals Promises, Promises (1968) and Lost Horizon (1973), the film score for Alfie, and many popular songs


Grove online; B.A. Lohof, "The Bacharach Phenomenon: a Study of Popular Heroism," in: Popular Music and Society, I (1972), 73–82.

[Israela Stein (2nd ed.)]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.