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A performer as well as a composer and author, Noel Coward made his professional debut at the age of 11, and his first songs were published a few years later. His plays, such as Private Lives, Design for Living, and Blithe Spirit, remain repertory standards, and he also created a number of revues, musical comedies, and operettas, usually writing the book and lyrics as well as the music. Largely self-taught, Coward generally had the help of an orchestrator on his shows. His songs cover a variety of styles and genres, from patriotic ditties through nostalgic love songs, to the cleverly comic, on his own sophisticated lyrics.

-David Fick