Berklee Silent Film Orchestra to Premiere New Score for Varieté, May 2

By 
Liz Lupton and Rob Hayes
April 14, 2016
Press release
1
Varieté star Emil Jennings.
The main characters in Varieté.
Varieté star Emil Jennings
The main characters in Varieté
Courtesy Murnau-Stiftung.
Courtesy Murnau-Stiftung.

On Monday, May 2, at 7:00 p.m., the Coolidge Corner Theatre will present the world premiere of the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra’s (BSFO) new, original score to E.A. Dupont’s Weimar-era masterwork, Varieté (1925). Silent film giant Emil Jannings stars in this wrenching tale of love and lust, set in a circus, with trapeze artists and murder. 

Known as Jealousy when released in America 90 years ago, Varieté will be shown in New England in its complete, unexpurgated form for the very first time, in a gorgeous new digital restoration, with the 12-piece BSFO performing live-to-picture, conducted by the six student composers. Varieté is the 10th original Berklee score the Coolidge has commissioned through its Sounds of Silents program, which supports new compositions to accompany silent-film classics.

The BSFO performance follows its sold-out, Symphony Hall triumph on October 30, 2015, the night before Halloween:  a performance of its new orchestral score for Nosferatu (1922) with maestro Keith Lockhart conducting the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra.

Advance tickets to the May 2 Varieté film concert at the Coolidge Corner Theatre can be purchased at coolidge.org. Ticket prices are $23 general admission and $20 for Coolidge members. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the Coolidge box office during regular theater hours at 290 Harvard Street, Brookline, Massachusetts. For more information visit the website or call 617-734-2500. 

Following the Coolidge world premiere, there will be three additional Berklee Silent Film Orchestra film concerts with Varieté: the West Coast premiere on Friday, June 3, as part of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival; Friday, June 17, at the Cabot Theatre, Beverly, Massachusetts; and on Thursday, June 23, at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center, as part of their FilMusic Festival.

The recipient of a special commendation from the Boston Society of Film Critics, the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra is dedicated to composing new, original scores for silent feature classics, and performing them live-to-picture. Based at Berklee, in the world’s only undergraduate degree program in film scoring, the student orchestra composes its new works and performs as an ensemble, under the leadership of Professor Sheldon Mirowitz (Outside Providence, Missing in America). To date, the BSFO has scored and performed nine iconic silent features including F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise, FaustThe Last Laugh, Clarence Badger’s It, Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin, Buster Keaton’s Our Hospitality, E.A. Dupont’s Piccadilly, and Rupert Julian’s The Phantom of the Opera, each commissioned by the Coolidge Corner Theatre’s Sounds of Silents program. 

The BSFO has performed to wide acclaim at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, the Nantucket Film Festival, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and a half dozen other major film and performing arts venues. 

The Coolidge Corner Theatre’s Sounds of Silents was launched in 2007 with a mission to present classic silent cinema on the big screen, accompanied by a live original score and performed by outstanding musicians. Since 2010 the initiative has commissioned nine original compositions and their premiere performances from the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra, at Berklee College of Music.

The unique collaboration between the Coolidge and Berklee expands on the Sounds of Silents initiative, providing funds to commission the compositions and a performance. 

More information and tickets to Varieté.

Liz Lupton is a manager of media relations. Media inquiries: llupton@berklee.edu