The semi-eccentric musical genius composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, who was born in Kensington, has been one of the nation’s most prolific musical theatre composers of the last few decades, and he has been more than financially well-rewarded for it. Webber is worth an estimated net of $1.2 billion.
The maestro who became a heralded Sir in 1992 has earned his rather large crust through 13 musicals, and various other things such as film music, a Latin Requiem Mass, as well as owning his company called the Really Useful Group — which is, in fact, apparently one of the largest theatre groups in the UK. Hardly surprising, however, considering Webber has won 3 Grammys, an Oscar, 7 Oliver Awards, a Golden Globe Award and countless other awards.
Webber did have a good start to his musical career. Perhaps it was a good omen that his father was director of the London College of Music, while his mother was a piano teacher. They are a musical family, his brother is a renowned cellist and Lloyd Webber himself was fingering violin as early as 3-years-old.
Webber teamed up as a young man with a certain Tim Rice, whom he went to to write some classics with, such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which they thoroughly made their own — and which became a massive success. He has also written over the years some of the best and most recognisable music on Broadway. And that’s saying something.
Such is Webber’s success, he was the first person in the early 80s to have three musicals play simultaneously on America’s Broadway and London’s West End, an achievement he somehow managed to repeat again later that decade.
Webber, a Conservative peer in the House of Lords, reportedly flew from America to UK — no expenses barred — to make sure that he could vote on tax credit cuts. Webber must have truly felt something about that vote to spend the cash on his jetting around for it.
But the billionaire maestro has occasionally been met with criticism and accusations of plagiarism. Louis Andriessen, a Dutch composer, said: "There are two sorts of stealing (in music) – taking something and doing nothing with it, or going to work on what you've stolen. The first is plagiarism. Andrew Lloyd Webber has yet to think up a single note; in fact, the poor guy's never invented one note by himself. That's rather poor”.
We’re pretty sure Webber didn’t lose any sleep from this comment, especially when you look at his worth, and has been the receiver of other more charming claims such as the fact that Webber is ‘probably the most commercially successful composers of all time’. Yep, of all time. Hi bank manager must love it when a new musical is headed to the West End of Broadway.