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Orchestrating a Musical Legacy

“The only kind of payback is to pay forward.”

William David Brohn

Some of the most beloved theatrical music, from Broadway classics to Hollywood movies, has come together under the attentive eye—and ear—of alumnus William David Brohn (’55, Music).

A music theory graduate of the College of Music, Brohn’s celebrated career includes arranging and orchestrating music for Ragtime—for which he won a Tony Award—Les Miserables, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Mary Poppins, Wicked, Oklahoma!, Miss Siagon, The Sweet Smell of Success and many others.

At MSU, he says, his eyes were first opened to the possibilities that giving his life to music might bring. He hopes to pass that on to the next generation.

Brohn established the Alexander Schuster Endowed Principal Violinist Award for student scholarships, has taught master classes on the future of musical theater and is a charter member of the College of Music National Leadership Council. A member of the Jonathan L. Snyder Society, he recently contributed $50,000 to renovate a space in the Music Building as a professional-quality Green Room for musicians performing in Cook Recital Hall.

“For me, it is trying to pass something on to a younger person who is going forward,” Brohn says. “The only kind of payback is to pay forward.”