Bob Scher

Bob Scher has made his career as a business man as well as a script writer, director, writer, pianist, and composer.

Photo: Bob Scher, used with permission of the composer

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    Bob Scher was born in Cleveland and educated at Harvard with a degree in Philosophy. Early in his career, he wrote music for Off-Broadway theater and starting in 2009 began creating piano improvisations. Three of his albums, including compete samples (all under five minutes) are on his website,

    In 2007, he scored five of A.E. Housman’s lyrics for piano and voice, and has just completed a setting for piano and voice of Keats’s lyric, “La Belle Dame Sans Merci.”

    On setting lyrics: “I consider the music to be already embedded in the text, and my task is to extract it. Some of A.E. Housman’s best poetry is too arch for this approach. The “speech” in the texts I’ve chosen is always more or less natural.

    “I’m fundamentally a melodist. I don’t stretch the lyrics or repeat lines but keep the rhythm of the lines and the integrity of the stanzas intact–though in between the stanzas there is room. This also means not over-dramatizing the text at the expense of the clarity of the poetic form. Certainly a very dramatic rendering that results in an effective musical form at the expense of the poem’s original form is common in many, if not most art songs. The well-known setting of the Keats lyric, by Charles Sanford (early in the 20th century), is a fine example.”

    Previously, Scher scripted and directed award-winning documentary films, one of which, narrated by Orson Welles, is in three international film museums, including La Cinémathèque Française and MOMA. He is also the author of five non-fiction books, including As If the Sky Were Open, Selected Poems; There’s a Hole in Your Sky, illustrated by Peter Szasz: clean limericks (called “Limes”); Lightning, the Nature of Leadership, photographs by Jane English; The Little Know How Book; and The Fear of Cooking. His articles and poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Parabola, The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), The American Mathematical Monthly, and Works and Conversations. For publication in 2013: My Words Chill and Burn Me, The Amazing Sense of Emily Dickinson.

    He is currently working on a new musical with Laurence Rosenthal.

    –Bob Scher



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