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Lionel Bart Bio

Lionel Bart (1 August 1930 – 3 April 1999) was a writer and composer of British pop music and musicals, best known for creating the book, music and lyrics for Oliver!
 
Bart was born Lionel Begleiter the youngest of seven surviving children in East London to Galician Jews, and grew up in Stepney. His father worked as a tailor in a garden shed in London E1. The family had escaped the deadly pogroms against Jews by Ukrainian cossacks in Galicia, which was then part of the Austrian Empire.
 
Lionel later changed his name to Bart derived from the name of the silk screen printing firm he and John Gorman created ("G & B Arts", for Gorman and Begleiter) after he had completed his National Service with the Royal Air Force.
 
As a young man he was quite an accomplished painter. When Lionel Bart was six years old a teacher told his parents that he was a musical genius. His parents gave him an old violin, but he did not apply himself and the lessons stopped.