May 5, 2012

Scoring Silent Films

Last semester I took a class called Scoring Silent Films, with professor Sheldon Mirowitz.  In this class, four composers and I wrote all the music to the famous 1925 film, Battleship Potemkin, by Sergei Eisenstein.

The movie is a slightly fictionalized depiction of one of the first battles of the Soviet Revolution.  It was originally commissioned by Stalin as a communist propaganda film.  It was one of the first films to use a cinematic technique that we take for granted now called montage.

After orchestrating and composing under Sheldon's direction, we recorded all the music, and performed it live with a small orchestra to picture at Coolidge Corner Theatre.  The showing was a success, and we then had the amazing opportunity to perform Battleship Potemkin at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. on March 9th.

Here's the link to the live performance:

This semester, I'm the intern for the Scoring Silent Films class along with another composer from last semester, Akhil Gopal (in the previous photograph, all the way to the right).  This semester there are seven composers writing the music for the 1929 film, Piccadilly.

Piccadilly is a prototypical film noir about a night club in London in the 1920's.  In the film there is jealousy, murder mystery, traditional chinese music, courtroom drama, and dance songs, all set in a jazz idiom.

The score is really fun and even includes an erhu, a traditional chinese instrument that resembles a 1-string violin played vertically.  You can come and see the performance at the Coolidge Corner Theatre this monday (May 7th) at 7p.m.  For more information go to the following link:

The experience of being a composer and an intern for the past two semesters has taught me so much.  I've learned from my teacher, the other composers, the players, and all of the countless mistakes I made.  After taking this class, I'm a different composer and a different person.  And I've also gained so many new friendships.  I'll never forget being a part of this impossible undertaking.

See you on monday!