Disney’s Award Winning Composer Alan Menken

Rachel Marino, Landrum Today Staff

Alan Menken was born into a family of dentists. At first, Menken assumed he would follow in their footsteps
and pursue a career in medicine as well. However, he discovered that music was what he truly has a passion for.
“As soon as I knew of music, I was obsessed with it,” he says.

Menken has a deep passion for creating since he was a kid. His parents quickly realized how much their
son loved music and provided piano and violin lessons for him. Though Menken has done tons of movies, musicals, and shows (such as composing music for The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Newsies), He is unable to pick a favorite.

“My projects are like my children. How could I pick a favorite child? I can ask what other people’s favorites are, but I can’t choose.”

Despite facing rejection and criticism countless times, his mindset remains firm on the belief to never fall in
love with his work, and to let other people form their own opinions. Having been in the business for 31 years,
Menken is familiar with how the wants and preferences of Broadway movies, shows, and songs can change over
time. “I think as people’s attention spans get shorter; things will get more concise. There are some things that will
always be there though; the desire to tell a story.” Menken’s desire to tell a story is what propelled him into the business. Over the course of his career,

Menken has won over 80 total awards throughout his lifetime including eight Academy’s, eleven Grammys, and seven Golden Globes. He is one of the 16 people to ever receive EGOT status. (Winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony) Menken can also be found in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Despite such perusable accomplishments, Menken’s advice to those striving for success remains the same: “Whatever it is that you feel passionate about every day, that’s what you should be doing with your life. Even if it is just a hobby, you should take it seriously. Whatever it is you’ve fallen in love with, that’s what you are going to be good at later in life.”

Alan Menken is going to continue with what he’s doing and hopes others will be inspired to follow in his footsteps and continue to create.