Skitch Henderson (January 27, 1918- November 1, 2005) was an American pianist, conductor, and composer. Born Lyle Russell Cedric Henderson, “Skitch” was a nickname said to derive from his ability in his early career to quickly “re-sketch” a song in a different key. He started his professional career in the 1930s playing piano in the roadhouses of the American Midwest, his major break being as an accompanist on a 1937 MGM promotional tour featuring Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.
An affiliation with the Smithsonian Institution resulted in the Trust’s inaugural exhibit: “Skitch Henderson: A Man and His Music”. On January 29, 2005, the Smithsonian awarded him the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal in recognition of his contributions to American culture. Henderson was also honored for the vital role he played in the cultural life of New York, including receiving New York City’s Handel Medallion and was the recipient of three honorary degrees from St. Thomas Aquinas College, the University of South Florida, and Western Connecticut State University.