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Cinderella: A New Score for a Restored Silent Film

Musiqa and composer Karim Al-Zand partner with Houston Cinema Arts Society to present a new score to a restored 1922 silent film.

The Latest Update

Cinderella: Full Film

Posted on March 27, 2015 by Karim Al-Zand

A full recording of the  score to Lotte Reiniger’s Cinderella (1921), presented with the film.

Performance by:
Aaron Perdue, flute
Lin Ma, clarinet
Philip Hembree, cornet
Greg Hammond, trombone
Craig Hauschildt, vibraphone/glockenspiel
Ling Ling Huang, violin
Boson Mo, violin
Jarita Ng, viola
Max Geissler, cello
Jerry Hou, conductor

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Posted on January 11, 2015 by Karim Al-Zand

A view from the pit, featuring conductor Jerry Hou, Aaron Perdue (fllute), Lin Ma (clarinet), Philip Hembree (cornet), Grag Hammond (trombone), Craig Hauschildt (vibes, glockenspiel) and the Del Sol String Quartet.


Posted on January 11, 2015 by Karim Al-Zand

Another still from Cinderella’s premiere performance at Zilkha Hall, Hobby Center, Houston. 


Posted on January 11, 2015 by Karim Al-Zand

A picture from the January 10th Musiqa premiere presentation of Cinderella.

Houston Chronicle Preview

Posted on January 8, 2015 by Karim Al-Zand

Musiqa puts modern spin on classic ‘Ulysses’ tale

A feature article in the Houston Chronicle on Musiqa‘s upcoming Jan. 10th premiere performance of Cinderella. The concert also includes the premiere of Anthony Brandt’s new chamber opera Ulysses, Home



Cinderella Teaser

Posted on December 31, 2014 by Karim Al-Zand

A “teaser” trailer for Musiqa’s upcoming performance of Cinderella: Zilkha Hall (Hobby Center) Jan 10th, 2015, 7:30pm tickets

Cinderella Full Score

Posted on December 15, 2014 by Karim Al-Zand

First page of the completed score. The rehearsal process begins in early January,


Posted on December 5, 2014 by Karim Al-Zand

Announcement of the premiere of Cinderella, to be heard on Musiqa’s January 10, 2015 performance at Zilkha Hall, The Hobby Center, Houston, TX. The concert also features a new chamber opera by Anthony Brandt and a string quartet by Pierre Jalbert. Performers include the Del Sol String Quartet.   

Composing Cinderella

Posted on December 5, 2014 by Karim Al-Zand

Exceprts from the manuscript score for Cinderella in progress, showing (on the right) the garden scene from Lotte Reiniger’s 1922 silent film.


Contemporary music group Musiqa, in partnership with the Houston Cinema Arts Society, has commissioned composer Karim Al-Zand to create a new film score to a classic of the silent film era. Al-Zand, one of the founding artistic directors of Musiqa, will write a score to a silent film by German filmmaker Lotte Reiniger (1899-1981), a recently re-mastered print of her rare 1922 short animated film Aschenputtel (Cinderella). Al-Zand is known for wide-ranging lyrical works, from settings of classical Arabic poetry to scores for dance and pieces for young audiences. His works explore connections between music and other arts, and draw inspiration from diverse sources such as 19th century graphic art, fables of the world, folksong and jazz, making him an ideal partner in this project. Reiniger was a pioneer of animated film with her distinctive paper-cut silhouette style. Working within the broader context of the German Expressionism movement, her intricately cut silhouettes marked a milestone in the development of film animation. The Houston Cinema Arts Society (HCAS) will oversee all details regarding the screening and presentation of the film. HCAS organizes and hosts the annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival, a groundbreaking and innovative arts festival featuring films and new media by and about artists in the visual, performing and literary arts.


This project will provide an exciting artistic opportunity for all participants. The unique style of Reiniger’s Cinderella is well suited to musical re-imaginings and retains a distinctly modern styling despite its age. The creation of a new score by a living composer attaches a vibrancy and freshness to an enchanting and often overlooked part of film history. Musiqa regularly collaborates with various Houston film organizations to present screenings of short films during Musiqa concerts. However, this collaboration is particularly notable as it marks the first time Musiqa will contribute the score to a film screening, resulting in a true collaborative project merging film and contemporary classical music.


More than a simple child’s fairy tale, Reiniger’s Cinderella is rooted in the original, and occasionally gruesome, tale by the Brothers Grimm. By addressing issues of oppression, longing and the constraints of social status, Cinderella evokes a range of emotions rooted in a much darker version of this fairy tale that will continue to resonate with modern audiences through this new presentation. Reiniger was known for the strong musical connections in her work. Her Dr. Dolittle had a score (now lost) by Paul Dessau, Kurt Weill and Paul Hindemith. Cinderella features several on-screen musical allusions and references, and a colorful accompaniment promises to make vivid its cast of whimsical characters.


The commissioned musical work will be a 13-minute composition, scored for a large chamber ensemble of 10 players (flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, percussion, piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass) plus conductor. The piece will be performed live to the film screening, and the presentation will be preceded by an introduction to Reiniger and her distinctive silhouette technique, including excerpts from the short film The Art of Lotte Reiniger (1971).

Project Media

The Spinning Ballerina, by Karim Al-Zand
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Features: Karim Al-Zand

A large chamber work for 15 players, “Spinning Ballerina” is a movement from a larger work inspired by J. J. Grandville (1803–1847), one of the most popular and innovative French illustrators of the 19th century. His comical “Apocalypse du Ballet” features several of the artist’s characteristic “metamorphoses”: a ballerina emerges from a dancing foot, is transformed into a spindle and thread, then takes the form of a sprinting dog. The remarkable image objectifies a sort of frantic, madcap motion.

Video excerpts from Musiqa concerts during 2013 and 2014
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Features: Musiqa

Excerpts from:

a. “Dance Mix” by Rob Smith, performed at Market Square Park on November 8, 2013
b. “Images”, Mvt. II. Tunnel by Marcus Karl Maroney, world premiere performance performed at Asia Society Texas Center on January 11, 2014
c. “Mother-of-Pearl” by Roshanne Etezady, performed at Zilkha Hall on April 6, 2013
d. “In C” by Terry Riley, filmed at the CAMH on January 30, 2014

Lamentation on the Disaster of War, by Karim Al-Zand
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Features: Karim Al-Zand

“Lamentation on the Disasters of War” (2006) is an elegy. This string sextet is based on etchings by Francisco de Goya, and was written for the Enso String Quartet with Katherine Lewis and Valdine Ritchie. The piece is a response to Goya’s powerful anti-war work “Los Desastres de la Guerra” (1820) and a reflection on its modern-day significance, particularly in light of the US invasion of Iraq which, like Napoleon’s Peninsular War, was a senseless conflict with enormous and tragic consequences for civilians.

Start and End Dates



Houston, Texas

9 updates
Last update on March 27, 2015

Project Created By

Houston, Texas
Musiqa is dedicated to the performance of new classical music, with a focus on presenting new and original compositions created within the last 20 years. Our mission is to enrich and inspire the community through programs that integrate new music with other modern art-forms. Musiqa concerts are unique artistic experiences that highlight fresh, modern music by…

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Houston, Texas


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