Musicians at Festival 2022
Live music is an integral element of our mission to create unique live cinema experiences. Our 25th festival brings together more than 50 international musicians to create and perform unique scores for all 29 programs at SFSFF 2022. Learn more about these exceptional musicians below.
The Anvil Orchestra is Terry Donahue (Alloy Orchestra, Concussion Ensemble) and Roger Clark Miller (Alloy Orchestra, Mission of Burma, Trinary System). Their unique live musical performances to silent films transform the viewing experience for adults and children alike in locales across the United States and abroad. As two-thirds of Alloy Orchestra, Roger and Terry will continue the tradition of high caliber compositions and performances. Percussionist Lawrence Dersch (Binary System, Trinary System, Concussion Ensemble, AKA/COD) will be added to the line-up when films call for a bigger percussive sound. The Sound of Silent Film will live on in The Anvil Orchestra.
Wayne Barker has garnered acclaim both for his original compositions and live performances in the theater, including a Tony nomination for best original score on Peter and the Starcatcher. His numerous credits include piano scores for Beth Henley’s Laugh, an homage to silent-era slapstick; and Joe DiPietro’s Hollywood, centered around the 1922 murder of director William Desmond Taylor. He composed for Dame Edna Everage as well as appeared onstage as Master of the Dame’s Music for six years.
Image Credit: Jim Cox
Versatile percussionist Frank Bockius specializes in jazz and is versed in medieval, flamenco, and Latin music styles. He has performed for dance and theater companies as well as in his own bands, including the jazz quintet Whisper Hot and the percussion ensemble Timpanicks. He joined the Guenter Buchwald’s Silent Movie Music Company twenty years ago and has since performed for silent films at festivals in Kyoto, Pordenone, and Sodankylä, Finland. He made his first appearance at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in 2014.
A specialist in orchestral music from the 1920s and ’30s, conductor and composer Timothy Brock has been responsible for the restoration of several landmark silent-era scores, including Dmitri Shostakovich’s for New Babylon to George Antheil’s Ballet Mécanique. In 1998 the Chaplin estate commissioned Brock to restore the filmmaker’s score to Modern Times and he has since restored twelve Chaplin-penned silent feature and short scores. He is a prolific concert composer in his own right and has also written original scores for silent films as varied as Prix de Beauté and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
Conductor, composer, pianist, and violinist Guenter Buchwald is a pioneer of the renaissance in silent film music. He has accompanied silent films for thirty-eight years with a repertoire of more than three thousand titles and has conducted orchestras worldwide from Iceland to Romania, Tokyo to Zurich. In great demand as a composer, he has scored silent films as varied as Suzuki and Ota’s What Made Her Do It?, René Clair’s Paris qui dort, Chaplin’s Pawn Shop, and Murnau’s Nosferatu. A soloist known for his virtuoso improvisation, he has appeared regularly at film festivals in Berlin, Bonn, Bologna, Zurich, Pordenone, and Seattle. He is a lecturer at the Film Science Institute at the University of Zurich and resident conductor of the Freiburg Philharmonic Orchestra for Silent Film in Concert. He is cofounder of the Silent Movie Music Company and is musical director of Bristol’s Slapstick Silent Film Festival in England.
Philip Carli brings both prodigious musical talent and a committed scholarly outlook to his lifelong passion for the music and culture of the turn of the last century. He has toured extensively as a film accompanist throughout North America and Europe, performing on keyboard and with orchestra at such venues as Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery in Washington, DC, the Cinémathèque Québécoise in Montreal, the National Film Theatre in London, and the Berlin International Film Festival. He is the staff accompanist for the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York, and performs annually at several film festivals in the United States as well as at Le Giornate del Cinema Muto in Italy.
Classical Revolution is an ensemble of classically-trained musicians who perform in non-traditional venues. Led by violist Charith Premawardhana, the group includes Anthony Blea, Joey Chang, and Sascha Jacobsen.
Club Foot Hindustani featuring Pandit Krishna Bhatt
Composer/conductor Richard Marriott has put together a stellar group to accompany the Indian film Prem Sanyas, Club Foot Hindustani, comprised of Marriott, Beth Custer, Jessica Ivry, Michael Lewis, Alisa Rose, featuring Pandit Krishna Bhatt on sitar.
Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky, is an artist and composer with an affinity for silent film. In 2004 he premiered his live remix of D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation—Rebirth of a Nation— at New York’s Lincoln Center and has composed for Oleksandr Dovzhenko’s Earth and Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, among others. He executive-produced the Pioneers of African-American Cinema box set, which features his scores for two Oscar Micheaux films.
Based at London’s BFI Southbank, Stephen Horne is considered one of the leading silent film accompanists working today and his music has met with acclaim worldwide. Principally a pianist, he often incorporates other instruments such as flute and accordion into his performances, sometimes playing them simultaneously. He has recorded music for DVD releases and television broadcasts of silent films and regularly performs internationally.
A classically-trained pianist, organist, composer, and marionettist, this is William Lewis’ debut performance at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. Mentored as a composer and silent film accompanist by Donald Sosin, he has been writing for silent films since 2014. Composing the scores entirely of his own music, he strives to create both passionate and (mostly) historically appropriate music.
Matti Bye Ensemble
The Matti Bye Ensemble seeks that magical, emotional alchemy between music and images, playing a wide variety of instruments that include piano, glockenspiel, violin, musical saw and percussion. It is led by award-winning film composer Matti Bye, who has been the Swedish Film Institute’s resident silent-movie pianist since 1989. In addition to Bye, the ensemble members at SFSFF 2022 are Helena Espvall and Laura Naukkarinen.
Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
A chamber ensemble that revives the tradition of silent-film orchestras, Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra culls historic libraries of music for its live musical accompaniments. Mont Alto have recorded and toured widely, creating vibrant, emotional, and historically appropriate scores for more than 125 films. Officially formed in 1994 after discovering the music collection of a 1920s-era theater music director, the ensemble combines precision playing with expert selections to bring silent cinema to life. This year’s ensemble is comprised of Rodney Sauer, Brian Collins, Dawn Kramer, David Short, and Britt Swenson. Kate Polera will join the group for The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Image credit: Pamela Gentile
Sascha Jacobsen Quintet
Led by bassist and composer Sascha Jacobsen, The Sascha Jacobsen Quintet also features Michele Walther on violin, Sheldon Brown on clarinet, Seth Asarnow on piano and bandura, and Dylan Garrison on percussion.
Image credit: Tommy Lau
San Francisco Silent Movie Orchestra
San Francisco Silent Film Orchestra will accompany Sylvester conducted by Timothy Brock. The group includes Anthony Blea, Sheldon Brown, Beth Custer, Tim DeCillis, Flora Espinoza, Chris Grady, Jessica Ivry, Sascha Jacobsen, Allison Lovejoy, Darcy Rindt, Alisa Rose, and Scott Siler.
Pianist Donald Sosin has been creating and performing silent film music for fifty years, playing for major festivals, archives, and DVD recordings. He has been resident accompanist at New York’s Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Museum of the Moving Image, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. His scores are heard regularly on Turner Classic Movies and his music accompanies films on more than fifty DVD releases. Donald has performed at SFSFF since 2007.
San Francisco Conservatory of Music Orchestra
Over the past century, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music has become a vibrant world-class conservatory providing a well-rounded curriculum that seeks to break down barriers between the intellectual, artistic, professional, and individual, helping musicians to achieve their best possible selves.