Irwin Kostal

Irwin Kostal
Born (1911-10-01)October 1, 1911
Chicago, Illinois
Died November 23, 1994(1994-11-23) (aged 83)
Studio City, California
Genres Musical film, musical theatre, animation
Occupation(s) Songwriter, screenwriter, publisher
Years active 1950s–1994

Irwin Kostal (October 1, 1911 – November 23, 1994) was an American musical arranger of films and an orchestrator of Broadway musicals.


Born in Chicago, Illinois, Kostal opted not to attend college, instead teaching himself musical arranging by studying the symphonic scores available at his local library. His first professional job was as a staff arranger for Design for Listening, an NBC radio show based in his hometown. Irwin was one of four children born to James and Emma Kostal. His siblings James, Jerome and Violet all remained in the Chicago area.[1]

After moving to New York City, Kostal was hired for Sid Caesar's popular variety series Your Show of Shows, and followed this with a stint at The Garry Moore Show.

1954-56 Max Liebman's NBC Spectulars: The Merry Widow, Tales of Hoffman, , The Gypsy Baron, Der Fledermaus, The Desert Song with Nelson Eddy, Babes in Toyland, Naughty Marietta, Marco Polo and Lady in the Dark. Orchestrator

1956-57 Washington Square with Ray Bolger

1957 "Stanley" Series with Buddy Hackett and Carol Burnett. Composer, Arranger and Conductor

1957-58 The Patrice Munsel Show

1958-1963 The Gary Moore Show, Orchestrator

1958 Has Brinker and the Silver Skates TV Special, Arranger and Conductor

1961 Candid Camera with Allen Funt and Arthur Godfrey

1962 Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall, Arranged and Conducted

1962 Julie Andrews and Gene Kelly, Arranged and Conducted - Both Emmy Shows

1966 Lucy in London Arranged and Conducted

1966 Brigadoon Hallmark Hall of Fame (Emmy Show) with Robert Goulet and Sally Ann Howes

1971 Dick Van Dyke Special with Michel LeGrand Arranged and Conducted

1973 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, A musical with Kirk Douglas, Arranged and Conducted - Emmy Nominated

1974 Old Faithful with Burgess Meredith, Jadon Robards and Zero Mostel

1978 The Million Dollar Dixie Deliverance, Disney TV Movie, Original Score, Arranged and Conducted

In the latter part of the decade he began working on Broadway, orchestrating for Shinbone Alley, The Music Man, Fiorello!, and West Side Story. His work on the latter resulted in his being hired to score the 1961 screen adaptation with Saul Chaplin, Johnny Green, and Sid Ramin. The quartet won both an Oscar and a Grammy Award for their contributions. Kostal later went on to collaborate with Saul Chaplin for the 1965 film adaptation of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music and won an Oscar for Best Music Scoring.

He also conducted the orchestra for several of the Firestone Christmas Albums.

For the remainder of his life, Kostal divided his time primarily between stage and screen, with an occasional detour into television to work with such people as Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, and Leonard Bernstein. He supervised five of the Sherman Brothers musical film scores (one of them being Mary Poppins) at four different movie studios between 1964 and 1978. In 1982, he conducted the digital re-recording of the music to Walt Disney's 1940 animated feature Fantasia.


Kostal died of a heart attack in Studio City, California. At the time of his death he was president of the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers. In 2004 he was named a Disney Legend in recognition of his contributions to films released by the studio.

Additional filmography

Additional Broadway credits

Additional awards and nominations


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