- The most comprehensive worldwide listing of musicians and composers ever published
- Find favourite accompanists or the right artist for your screening or scoring project
- There are currently around 400 entries of active musicians – and counting
- The Hall of Fame section features some notable musicians of the past
It’s often said that music is half the film, and this is especially true of silents. Whether it be a restored DVD, Blu-ray, DCP or an actual print, it’s vitally important that all silent films have appropriate, good quality musical accompaniment. This is a listing of most of the best musicians performing in the world today. Although many regularly play internationally, they are categorised by their main countries of residence and listed alphabetically by their full names. For example, both Lillian Henley and the Live Film Orchestra are under ‘L’. If you have any suggestions for musicians or links not listed, let me know. Musicians based in the Americas are covered in Part 2.
Musicians and promoters are welcome to tag or message me on social media for sharing events.
- US: Criterion BD (2019) and DVD (2001)
- UK: Tartan Video DVD (2007)
- Sweden: Svenska Filminstitutet DVD (2007), also in 6-DVD Svenska Stumfilmsklassiker; w/Matti Bye orchestral score
- Häxan: The Real Unreal – Chris Fujiwara
- Häxan: About the Music – Gillian Anderson
- Häxan: “Let Her Suffering Begin” – Chloé Germaine Buckley
Hillel Tokazier: website
Drums and Movies: website
Harry Kulzer: website
Molitors Stummfilmtheater: Band-Book
- Norbert Vollath: website
Otto Maria Krämer: website
The Penguin Walkers (ex-Trio Celluloid): website
Silentones (active?): website
Stadtorchester Holstenwall: website
Stefan Moser: website
Wolfgang Zettl: website
Wilfried Kaets: website
I Solisti Lombardi: website
- Alessandro Calcagnile: website, website #2, YouTube, YouTube #2
- Rossella Spinosa: website, June 2012 | Aug 2012 interview
Napoléon (1927) scored by Carl Davis
Darius Battiwalla: website
Geoff Smith: website
- Visible Music: website
Larry McGuire: ATOS
- New Palace Theatre Organ Heritage Centre: website, Facebook
- Scottish Theatre Organ Preservation Society: website, Facebook
- 1927 Productions: website, Twitter , June 2012 article, April 2015 BBC report (iPlayer, UK only), YouTube
Mike Nolan: Twitter
Ménilmontant (1926), one of the most beautiful and haunting of all silent films, scored by Sound and Silence
- Claire Abbott Twitter
The Cinema Pianist: How to Become One
By S. Turnbull, The Musical Mirror, March 1928
“Although work in the cinema is undoubtedly attractive, it does not suit everybody. If a person has an artistic temperament of high quality, also the ability to teach or otherwise earn money, he had better leave the cinema alone. The continued and forced playing of piece after piece does not give much scope for originality, and often tends to kill interest in music – as real music. It would be better for such a musician to earn his living in real surroundings, where he can develop himself to the fullest extent and no doubt profit by so doing. But for others who are not so highly developed musically or temperamentally, the cinema offers as many opportunities as any branch of the musical profession.”
Note that this is a practical resource for folk seeking active silent musicians, not simply a list of everyone who’s ever accompanied a silent film. Those who have only scored one or two silents are largely avoided, unless they were particularly significant projects. Dozens of acts with no useful online presence have also been omitted; in most cases that means either they don’t work with silents regularly or aren’t interested in alerting people to the fact! Please supply links to as many of the following as possible:
- At least one contact link and verification of being active (performance listings, recent reviews, etc.) – essential.
- Website, blog, Facebook business page, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, BandCamp, Wikipedia, IMDb, YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud, etc.
- Anything else of relevance: articles, interviews, books, recordings, etc.
- No personal details – email or physical addresses, phone numbers, etc. – but links to other sites featuring them are ok.
Post your suggestions in the comments or contact me here.