Actor Richard Griffiths, star of Little Night Music, was among Stephen

Scholars of the brilliant composer, lyricist and writer have paid tribute to the late theater giant on Twitter

The composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim has died aged 91. Sondheim was a hero to many in the theatre and performing arts, and there has been a great outpouring of tributes on Twitter since he passed away on Thursday evening.

At the Royal Opera House in December 2013, Richard Griffiths, who played the tragically deformed Tony in A Little Night Music, said of Sondheim: “A quality of craftsmanship, a thing of absolute magnificence, genius, which I’ve learnt at the feet of the master himself, and it’s still there after all these years.”

Many music scholars and critics echoed Griffiths’s observations on Thursday.

Paul Rees (@PaulReesRadio) Stephen Sondheim has died. As I wrote after the Royal Opera House perf of Little Night Music, “If you haven’t caught it yet, now’s the time”.

Therese Caroll (@Scottizeann) Sondheim’s Widow filed death papers a month ago. He would have been 93.

Composer Howard Goodall, of the prestigious John Houseman and Stern College of Music, praised Sondheim as the “unsung genius of show tunes”.

“He went way beyond the typical musical variety,” Goodall wrote. “He created a mythology of musical instrumentality.”

Richard Jones (@iamrjones) A legend, Stephen Sondheim. Sadly my last interview with him, next week’s roundtable on Why show tunes matter in today’s musicals. #RIP #StephenSondheim

Music historian Lisa Trainor described Sondheim as “a genius who left an indelible mark on American culture”.

Auntie Dimple May (@MsDaisyMay) Stephen Sondheim was a kind, gentle, and cantankerous man. His dedication to the craft was unwavering and his contribution to American culture was substantial. We will miss him.

The New York Times theatre critic Ben Brantley wrote: “He consistently wrote hummable melodies in movies, on Broadway and recordings, and, over a 35-year career that included the bittersweet musical Company and, as late as Sunday in the Park with George, also wrote unforgettable lyrics … Mr Sondheim, my friend, wrote what made our childhoods alive.”

New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley. Photograph: Rory Carroll/The Guardian

American Theater critic Ben Brantley paid tribute to the composer

Carl Wilson (@CarlWilson) I just caught a showing of A Little Night Music at the Royal Opera House last night. Just listening to the piano or that two notes making, making, making an echo with themselves in the music… Stephen Sondheim was a godsend to any musical artist.

Geri Gotsberg (@GergottIMF) Stephen Sondheim: a lifetime of evidence that awesome, wonderful, ever-reliable, enduring art is never much about staying power.

Jeremy Jones (@jenetyae) Feel so sad now that we have lost so great a talent, let’s make sure we spread the word about his work..

The Omelete’s musical critic Jorge Serrano wrote: “This is a mourning that needs to be shared.”

It’s all I have left, to give you songs of the dead, Stephen Sondheim’s Little Night Music

JustMoreMusic (@JustMoreMusic) “And it’s hard to really realize the universe of music just got a little quieter, when the original master of

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