Visual Music presents horror classic as never before

Around Town

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Eastman School of Music Beal Institute will present “Visual Music: An Evening of World-Premiere Film and Music Collaborations” this Thursday, January 16 at 7:30 p.m. at Kilbourn Hall in Rochester.

Admission is free.

Grammy and Emmy award-winning composer Mark Watters, the Director of the Beal Institute, and Grant O’Brien, the Executive Director of the Empire Film and Media Ensemble, discussed the program Tuesday during News 8 at Noon.

This is the second year the Beal Institute has given the program, where the audience will see the film and hear its score performed live by the Empire Film and Media Ensemble. “We have a couple of R.I.T. films because we have a great collaboration with them,” said Watters of the collaboration. “We have a classic silent film ‘Ballet Mecanique,’ and an original film that one of the composers has – also a wonderful filmmaker. But the highlight of the concert is, or the thing we are most excited about, I think is the full length 1931 ‘Dracula’ movie with Bela Lugosi, which never had an original score written for it, and we’re putting one to it.”

O’Brien explained the Empire Film and Media Ensemble was started by students who thought it would be a great idea to perform media music, not just by itself, but along with the picture. “It started off as a student group and now and now we love doing collaborations with The Beal Institute,” he said.

Beyond the artistic joy of the experience, Eastman students are gaining valuable experience. “It’s a great gathering of all the talents,” said Watters. “The musicians get a chance to play music they don’t normally get to play, using the click track, having to prepare music very quickly. The composers get a chance to write it to picture and then to arrange it so that it can be done live. That’s different from in a recording studio where you record a cue, stop, then do the next cue, stop, do the next cue. Now they have to prepare the music so that it is continuous. And that takes a great amount of skill. And it’s a skill they need to know when they get out.”

Precise timing is essential. “The moving parts have moving parts,” O’Brien said. “You have the 35 piece orchestra that’ll be performing all different types of genres. And it also includes things like synthesizers and pre-records that are going to be playing at the same time as the film. So you have so many different elements that are coming together that have to be synched up exactly. It’s all kinds of programs that are going into this so that the dialogue and the pre-records and all these sounds are happening at the exact same time.”

For more information, visit the Eastman School of Music website and the Empire Film and Media website.

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