Blackwing Biography Series: Stephen Sondheim

Stephen SondheimBlackwing Biography Series: Stephen Sondheim

Our last installment of the Blackwing Biography Series, celebrating the June release of the Palomino Blackwing 602 features the only person on our list who is still alive. He’s the American-born composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. Creator of the music from Broadway greats like A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, and Into the Woods, Sondheim is perhaps the most outspoken in his love of Blackwings.

In a 2005 interview with the Academy of Achievement, the interviewer asked him if he uses any special kinds of pens or pencils:

I use Blackwing pencils. Blackwings. They don’t make ’em any more, and luckily, I bought a lot of boxes of ’em. They’re very soft lead. They’re not round, so they don’t fall off the table, and they have removable erasers, which unfortunately dry out.

Sondheim was mentored by Oscar Hammerstein at an early age, and graduated with honors from Williams College. His early work, like Saturday Night never made it to Broadway, and it wasn’t until he wrote lyrics for the legendary 1957 West Side Story did he have his big break.

Since then, he’s won eight Tony awards (more than any other composer), multiple Grammy awards, and a Pulitzer Prize.

We could go on and on with Sondheim’s achievements, but we could just refer you to his extensive Wikipedia page.

2 replies
  1. Ellie
    Ellie says:

    I “discovered” the original Blackwing 602 eons ago through a profile of Stephen Sondheim in the Sunday NY Times. He mentioned this was the pencil he used and I rushed out and bought some and have been a fan ever since. I didn’t, however, buy boxes and boxes of them, so I am eternally grateful for the Palomino revival!!!


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