Donald Sosin makes his fourth appearance at the Denver Silent Film Festival this year, and is delighted to be working with local student musicians for the third time. A New York native, he has played and composed silent film music for over forty years, appearing at festivals in New York, Telluride, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, Germany, and China. Donald accompanies silent films at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of the Moving Image, the National Gallery, and on college campuses including Harvard and Yale, Berkeley and Emory. With his wife, singer Joanna Seaton, he has performed at the National Gallery, in Berlin and Moscow, and Italy’s annual film retrospectives in Bologna and Pordenone. They have scored dozens of silents for DVD release, and received commissions from the Chicago Symphony Chorus, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra and the Colorado Children’s Chorus. Donald has taught at Bard College at Simons Rock and at Maharishi University of Management in Iowa. He and Joanna teach songwriting and film music workshops at schools and colleges all over the US. They live in Connecticut and have two children.
More information about Donald Sosin can be found at www.silent-film-music.com.
Joanna Seaton has been performing silent film music with her husband Donald Sosin since 1999. They worked with UC Denver students in 2011 to create a score for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. They have appeared at festivals all over the world and on numerous college campuses. Joanna specializes in singing songs from the early 20th century. She has appeared with jazz pianist Dick Hyman, singing Gershwin and Hyman’s own songs for Woody Allen films.
Ms. Seaton has played leading roles in over 70 productions of musicals and plays, including Boy Meets Boy, A Little Night Music, Carousel, South Pacific and The Mikado at the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee. In 1995-6, she and Donald Sosin travelled with the Broadway tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, training over 1000 children to sing, dance, and act in the show.
Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra is a five piece chamber ensemble that revives the lost art and repertoire of the movie theater orchestra. Since 1994, they have scored over 120 silent movies using historic orchestrations, recording over 30 film scores for video release and broadcast on Turner Classic Movies. The Mont Alto Orchestra are regulars at the Telluride Film Festival, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, the Silent Film Society of Chicago, and the Kansas Silent Film Festival, and have toured around the United States from the Brooklyn Academy of Music to the Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard.
“…it’s a particular pleasure to hear silent-film music as it was actually performed in most of the first-run theaters of that era—which is to say, by an orchestra…. Mr. Sauer specializes in compiling scores from the authentic photoplay music of the period, drawing on the work of neglected composers like Gaston Borch and J. S. Zamecnik; the results are often breathtakingly beautiful and always in the strict service of the film on the screen.” —Dave Kehr, the New York Times.
Pianist Hank Troy began playing for silent movies in 1971 at the Denver Folklore Center. Since then he has accompanied over 1,000 films.
For four years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Hank was the resident accompanist at the Denver Center Cinema. In 1985, he became the pianist for the silent film series at Colorado Chautauqua in Boulder. The series continues as a summer-long event, drawing nightly audiences of 300-500. Hank has performed for festivals in Denver, Breckenridge, Santa Fe, Telluride, and Aspen. Other regional venues include the Rialto Theatre in Loveland, The Denver Art Museum, and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. He was pianist for two seasons of “Golden Silents”, a film-to-video project produced by KBDI Channel 12 and distributed to PBS stations nationally. His accompaniments have also been used in several television commercials.
Hank plays an improvisational style, drawing on the 19th century Romantic tradition of classical music and from popular American tunes from the early 20th Century. Audiences enjoy a unique concert performance when they view a film accompanied by Hank Troy.