Berklee Orchestra Wows San Francisco Silent Film Festival with Varieté

The Berklee Silent Film Orchestra recently received a raucous standing ovation from thousands of attendees at the renowned San Francisco Silent Film Festival for its performance, live-to-picture, of a new score for E.A. Dupont's 1925 classic film Varieté.

June 9, 2016

On Friday, June 3, 2016, the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra (BSFO) performed its new score to E.A. Dupont’s 1925 classic film Varieté for the renowned San Francisco Silent Film Festival. Six Berklee student composers conducted the 12-piece BSFO, passing the baton in a live-to-picture performance that was greeted with an instantaneous, raucous standing ovation from the 1,400 attendees in the sold-out Castro Theatre.

The film—which weaves a tale of circus love, lust, and murder involving trapeze artists—was presented in a gorgeous new restoration, and many heralded the performance as the highlight of the festival, which is the preeminent silent film event in this hemisphere, now in its 21st year.

The festival performance comes in advance of two upcoming BSFO Varieté performances in the vicinity of Berklee’s Boston campus. On Friday, June 17, the group will perform at the Cabot, a grand movie palace in Beverly, Massachusetts that was home to many silent films during the jazz age (get tickets). On Thursday, June 23, the BSFO returns to its most intimate touring venue, the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center (get tickets).

The BSFO’s artistic director is Emmy-nominated composer Sheldon Mirowitz, Berklee professor of film scoring, and the international group of Berklee student composers who worked with Mirowitz on the new score are Nathan Drube (U.S.), Larry Hong (U.S.), Kanako Hashiyama (Japan), Austin Matthews (U.S.), Mateo Rodo (Argentina), and Hyunju Yun (South Korea).

Watch student composers discuss scoring Varieté: