UMD students to explore art of film scoring at Music + Film Event
This blog post is by Emily Schweich, junior broadcast journalism major.
Music and film collide at The Clarice with the School of Music’s first ever Music + Film Event, a celebration of new music and film heritage held February 19 and 20.
Nowadays in music, it’s so hard to get a job, so the more you diversify, the more you’re entrepreneurial, the better you’re going to have a chance at making a living with this.
Students will work with visiting artists Dreamland Faces to perform live original compositions and new scores to both classic and recently preserved silent films.
“Film was actually never silent,” said Program director and School of Music Clarinet Professor Robert DiLutis. “There was always an organist or a pianist or small orchestra…somewhere accompanying the film.”
DiLutis worked with his wife Patti Doyen, a film archivist at Colorlab in Rockville, to choose short films for four student chamber ensembles to accompany. About 12 students – from freshmen undergraduates to doctoral students – are involved. Three groups selected musical excerpts from existing pieces, and one group is playing an original piece by composition student Bryce Fuhrman.
Selecting music for a film, however short it may be, is crucial to fostering the audience’s emotional connection with the story, DiLutis said.
“We spend a lot of time in lessons and classes here thinking about how to connect emotionally for yourself with the music,” DiLutis said. “Now you not only have to connect emotionally yourself, but you have to see a movie that has its own emotional content and try to align those things.”
The second half of the screening will feature Minneapolis-based duo Dreamland Faces (Andy McCormic and Karen Majewicz) performing their original score to the animated classic The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926). The duo, known for its unique sound blending accordion and musical saw, has composed scores for over fifty silent films and regularly plays live throughout the country.
DiLutis hopes the event will inspire students to seriously consider accompanying films as a career.
“Nowadays in music, it’s so hard to get a job, so the more you diversify, the more you’re entrepreneurial, the better you’re going to have a chance at making a living with this,” he said.
DiLutis said response from students has been positive so far and that he hopes to continue and expand this event, perhaps including the university’s film studies department or even turning the process into a semester-long class.
“It’s really the creative process that we’re looking to, to keep [students’] minds active with this and inspired,” he said.
The Music + Film Event culminates in a film scoring workshop with Dreamland Faces February 19 from 7-9PM and a film screening featuring Dreamland Faces and UMD music students February 20 from 7-9PM. Both events are held in the Leah M. Smith Lecture Hall at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.