Choral and dance music arranger Trude Rittman died of respiratory failure Feb. 22 in Lexington, Mass. She was 96.
Born in Mannheim, Germany, Rittmann immigrated to the United States in 1937, where she was hired by Lincoln Kirstein as concert accompanist and pianist for George Balanchine’s American Ballet Caravan, the precursor to New York City Ballet. During her years as musical director for the troupe, she worked with composers such as Aaron Copland, Elliott Carter, Virgil Thomson, Leonard Bernstein and Marc Blitzstein.
In 1941 Rittmann became a concert accompanist for choreographer Agnes de Mille, who invited her to be dance arranger for the 1943 Broadway musical “One Touch of Venus,” choreographed by de Mille and composed by Kurt Weill.
Over the next three decades Rittmann created the dance and/or vocal arrangements for more than 50 Broadway musicals, including “Finian’s Rainbow,” “Peter Pan,” “Brigadoon,” “Paint Your Wagon,” “My Fair Lady,” “Camelot,” “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever” and Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals including “Carousel,” “South Pacific,” “The King And I” and “The Sound Of Music.”
A composer in her own right, Rittmann provided music for television programs as well as several original ballets.
She is survived by a nephew.