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Obituaries

Composer and Musical Director Mike Renzi Dies at 80

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Renzi was musical director for Peggy Lee and Mel Torme for over 25 years, worked on Sesame Street, and alongside many musical legends

BroadwayWorld is saddened to report that Mike Renzi, composer, music director, pianist, and jazz musician, has died at age 80.

Renzi was musical director for Peggy Lee and Mel Torme for over 25 years. He also worked on Sesame Street as the music director for seasons 31 through 40 and recorded Our First Christmas with singer Cynthia Crane and leads the Mike Renzi Trio.

The news of Renzi's passing was shared on Instagram by Nicolas King.

After living and working in and around Providence, he graduated from the Boston Conservatory of Music in 1973 and Berklee College Of Music the following year, working with local bands and as accompanist to visiting artists. Among these was Sylvia Sims and it was as a direct result of this engagement that he was hired to work with Mel Tormé. In 1976 he moved to New York City and from the late 70s onwards through the next two decades and into the early years of the twenty-first century, he appeared on scores of albums, sometimes only as pianist but most often also as arranger.

He served as musical director for legends including Ruth Brown, Laverne Butler, Ann Hampton Callaway, Diahann Carroll, Freddy Cole, Cynthia Crane, Meredith D'Ambrosio, Blossom Dearie, Scott Hamilton, Lena Horne, Etta Jones, Jack Jones, Eartha Kitt, Steve Laspina, Cleo Laine, Peggy Lee, Jay Leonhart, Gloria Lynne, Maureen McGovern, Liza Minnelli, Gerry Mulligan, Mark Murphy, Houston Person, John Pizzarelli, Annie Ross, George Shearing, an eight-week tour with Frank Sinatra, Carol Sloane, Grady Tate and, most recently, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga


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