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The Royal Conservatory of Music
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News Release
 

Artists of The Royal Conservatory explore chamber music written by
Hollywood film composers

2005-03-09

From Friday, April 8 to Sunday, April 10, ARC (Artists of The Royal Conservatory), a resident ensemble at The Royal Conservatory of Music featuring the faculty of the Glenn Gould School, presents Reelmusic - a weekend exploring chamber works written by film composers from the "Golden Age" of Hollywood Music (the period from the 1930s to the 1950s).

All concerts take place at the Royal Ontario Museum. Composers whose chamber music will be featured include Erich Korngold (The Adventures of Robin Hood), Bernard Herrman (Citizen Kane, Psycho, Vertigo, Taxi Driver), Miklos Rozsa (Quo Vadis, Ben Hur and Spellbound), as well as Nino Rota (The Godfather, La Dolce Vita, La Strada).

The Reelmusic weekend begins on Friday April 8 with a special screening of Carl Dreyer's 1928 silent movie La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc, with an especially improvised score performed by students and teachers of The Glenn Gould School, led by jazz pianist/composer Marilyn Lerner. The Reelmusic weekend continues on Saturday, April 9 and Sunday, April 10 with two concerts performed by the ARC ensemble.

"Reelmusic - the name inspired by Arthur Honegger's essay "From the Cinema of Sound to Real Music" - explores the chamber works of composers whose creative lives were absorbed by the cinema," says Simon Wynberg, Artistic Director of ARC. "The spotlight is turned principally to Hollywood composers, because for most of us the Hollywood tradition is the one with which we grew up and continue to experience."

Many composers had reservations about the status and legitimacy of scoring for the cinema rather than the concert hall. Hollywood film was a new, mass-market entertainment with little of the cultural, class or academic prestige that accompanied opera and concert music. And although Hollywood made it possible for composers to write imaginative and elaborate music and to have it appreciated by millions, during the 1930s and 1940s, film music's inherent value and its permanence were questioned as often by critics as by the composers themselves. Was music of the cinema "real" music?

In assembling the repertoire for ARC's two Reelmusic programs, Wynberg separated the composers who dedicated themselves exclusively to film - major figures like Alfred Newman, Max Steiner, Dimitri Tiomkin and Elmer Bernstein wrote very little concert music and practically no published chamber music - from those who were active away from the soundstage. Ennio Morricone is a prime example: his pointilistic chamber pieces are diametrically different from the melting lyricism of The Mission and Cinema Paradiso or the evocative, bleak music he composed for Sergio Leone's westerns. Several other composers, emigrés like Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Franz Waxman and Erich Korngold, ended up writing for Hollywood through political circumstance or sheer happenstance.

ARC is The Royal Conservatory's resident ensemble. Led by Artistic Director Simon Wynberg, this group of virtuosi - all faculty at The Glenn Gould School - is dedicated to the performance of chamber music, and to creating diverse and compelling programs. ARC ensemble are: James Anagnoson, Leslie Kinton, David Louie and Dianne Werner (pianos); Atis Bankas and Erika Raum (violins); Steven Dann (viola); Andrew McCandless (trumpet) and Joel Quarrington (double bass).

For the performance of Reelmusic, ARC has also invited special guest Josephine Knight, principal cellist of the English Chamber Orchestra, as well as three exceptionally talented students at the Glenn Gould School: Zsolt Eder (violin), Mary-Kathryn Stevens (viola) and Olenka Slywynska (mezzo-soprano).

Founded in 1886, The Royal Conservatory of Music is the largest and oldest independent arts educator in Canada, serving more than 500,000 active participants each year. Based in Toronto, Canada, it offers extraordinary opportunities for learning and personal development through music and the arts in all Canadian provinces and increasingly in a number of international settings. Later this spring, The Royal Conservatory of Music begins construction of its state-of-the-art TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning. Scheduled to open in 2007, the new facility will feature new academic and performance space, including practice and teaching studios and an acoustically excellent 1,000-seat concert hall.

For more information, please contact Jack Kado, Director of Public Relations, at media@rcmusic.ca or (416) 408 2824, ext. 461.