As part of a film scoring course at Eastman School of Music, Eastman students had the opportunity to compose music for an eclectic selection of recently preserved silent short films from the collections of the George Eastman House. Their works will be performed live when the archival films are screened at the Eastman House’s Dryden Theatre at 8 p.m. Monday, April 6.
Titled “New Scores, Renewed Visions,” the event is the result of a collaborative project between the Eastman School and the George Eastman House. Initiated by Associate Professor Reinhild Steingröver of the Eastman School, the project gave students the opportunity to compose for films, an experience which culminates in a public performance of their work.
While on a University of Rochester Bridging Fellowship last fall studying film preservation, Steingröver, who teaches courses in German literature and film, searched the Eastman House archive for films that would be suitable for scoring projects. This semester she presented about a dozen short films to students in the year-long Film Scoring Techniques class taught by Michaela Eremiášová and Jairo Duarte-López, candidates for a Ph.D. in composition at Eastman.
After selecting one or more films, each student composer — Eryn Bauer, Yuki Katayama, Daniel Bernardo, and Erica Seguine — wrote a score on a tight two-month schedule. Their works will be performed live by a chamber ensemble of Eastman students under conductor Yorgos Kouritas.
Many of the films are from the Eastman House’s 28mm collection, which were recently restored to 35mm film. They range from narrative movies such as an early Harold Lloyd short to commercials, cartoons, and “actualities,” which used footage of real events, places, and things.
In addition, the Dryden Theatre event will include experimental works by filmmakers Jean Detheux, Stephanie Maxwell, and Peter Byrne and Carole Woodlock, with scores composed by Eremiášová and Duarte-López. These works will be performed live by Eastman Triana, an ensemble composed of Eastman alumnae Julianne Kirk, clarinet, Anyango Yarbo-Davenport, violin, and Yin Zheng, piano, with soprano Chelsea Bonagura, also a graduate of Eastman School.
The featured films are:
- Excelsior (Walther Ruttman, 1922, 3 min.), Key to Beauty (1917, 3 min.), and Dreamy Dud (Wallace A. Carlsen, 1916, 2 min.), music by Yuki Katayama.
- Lonesome Luke’s Lively Life (Hal Roach, 1917, 9 min.), music by Daniel Bernardo;
- By the Sea Waves (Gregory La Cava, 1917, 6 min.), music by Eryn Bauer.
- Mushroom Growing (c. 1915, 4 min.) and Excelsior (Walther Ruttman, 1922, 3 min.), music by Erica Seguine.
- Murmur, film by Peter Byrne and Carole Woodlock (2008, 6 min.), music by Michaela Eremiášová; performed by Chelsea Bonagura, soprano, and Eastman Triana.
- Currents, film by Stephanie Maxwell(2008, 6 min.), music by Michaela Eremiášová and Jairo Duarte-López.
- Shades: Shade Lost (2007) and Shade Recovered (2008), films by Jean Detheux (11 min.); music by Michaela Eremiášová; performed by Eastman Triana.
Admission to the event is $7 general admission and $5 students and members.
In the film scoring course, initiated and taught by Eremiášová and Duarte-López and offered through the Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media Department, students study such topics as understanding visual drama, synchronization of music to picture, the use of technology in the current industry, and the importance of film music history. Students compose music to several projects, a process that includes creating mock-ups in specially fitted workstations as well as orchestrating and conducting their own music in recording sessions. Guests have included Emmy Award-winning composer and Eastman alumnus Jeff Beal as well as George Eastman House staff and local filmmakers.
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Monday, April 6
“New Scores, Renewed Visions!” New scores composed by Eastman School of Music students accompany the screening of archival short silent films from the collection of the George Eastman House. Experimental films by contemporary artists will also be presented. All music will be performed live.
Dryden Theatre at the George Eastman House, 900 East Ave.
Admission: $7 general admission; $5 students and members