Our ‘Huckleberry Friend’: 6 Highlights From Henry Mancini Centennial Celebration Concert at Hollywood Bowl

Every composer hopes their music outlives them – and Henry Mancini’s music certainly has. Thirty years after Mancini died of pancreatic cancer at the too-young age of 70, his music came to life in a star-studded, season-opening concert at the Hollywood Bowl. The event, commemorating the 100th anniversary of Mancini’s birth (the actual date was April 16) featured special guests Michael Bublé, Cynthia Erivo, Dave Koz and Henry’s daughter Monica Mancini and was conducted by Thomas Wilkins leading the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.

Mancini, who conducted at the Bowl 29 times between the 1960s and the ’90s, made plenty of history in his day. He won album of the year at the inaugural Grammy Awards in 1959 (for The Music From Peter Gunn) and was, for many years, the all-time top Grammy winner with 20 awards. (Beyoncé currently holds that distinction, with 32 awards.)

In 1962-63, Mancini became the first composer to win back-to-back Oscars for best original song – for “Moon River” and “Days of Wine and Roses,” both written with lyricist Johnny Mercer.

Mancini was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984. He received a posthumous lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy in 1995. His songs have been covered by a broad range of artists, including Beyoncé, Carpenters, Frank Ocean, Lizzo, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Elton John and R.E.M.

Jon Burlingame’s book Dreamsville: Henry Mancini, Peter Gunn, and Music for TV Noir was published earlier this month. A seven-track album, The Henry Mancini 100th Sessions – Henry Has Company, was released Friday June 21 via Primary Wave Music. The collection was produced by Gregg Field, winner of three Grammys and a Primetime Emmy (and the husband of Monica Mancini.)

Here are six highlights from the Henry Mancini 100th Celebration at the Hollywood Bowl on Sunday (June 23) – and a final frame with details on upcoming celebrations of the centennial.