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Pandora’s Box – commission a film score to this classic silent film, premiere & repeat performances

Commission and premiere score for silent film "Pandora's Box" by regional composer Erin O'Hara, giving voice to lead female, Louise Brooks.

Overview

Erin O’Hara will compose a score for the G. W. Pabst silent “Pandora’s Box”, trying to capture the essence of the lead female portrayed by Louise Brooks, who lived in Rochester and whose archives are at Eastman House.  This program will be a highlight of the Society’s 48th season. Scored for trumpet, French horn, violin, viola, cello, piano, voice (composer), percussion, electronics and conductor, the premiere will take place in Syracuse during the Syracuse International Film Festival in late October 2019. This music, similar to a cabaret, will take place between the film on screen & the audience, amplifying the interior landscape of the characters through the music, thereby bringing them into the room as living beings.

SNM & LeMoyne College are working via the Humanities Corridor for repeat performances at Eastman House Dryden Theater (U. of Rochester), and Cornell or Colgate, all members of the Humanities Corridor. Several Syracuse University VPA faculty are on the working group with LeMoyne College who are applying to the Mellon funded Humanities Corridor to help subsidize these repeat performances.

Jared Case, the curator at the Eastman House Dryden Theater, confirmed that they have nearly-new prints in the archive, so the print of “Pandora’s Box” would be gorgeous!

SNM has premiered & repeated O’Hara’s score for Hitchcock’s “Blackmail” before 2 capacity audiences, and both earned standing ovations. That work also had a female protagonist. Erin was able to give voice to the character through her music, which is why she is being commissioned for this work focused on portraying musically the complex world in which women have had to navigate professionally and personally.

The plan is that, subsequent to these performances, Erin will create a “Suite” from the music she creates for “Pandora’s Box”, which will live on as a concert piece with or without the film after the initial 4-5 performances with silent film.

Project Media

Blackmail
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Erin O’Hara created a score for Hitchcock’s last silent film & 1st talkie, his 1929 “Blackmail.” Scored for a chamber ensemble of electric & acoustic instruments & voice that aimed to express the interior voice of the heroine – Alice, as she navigates her way through some of the all too common traps of a misogynist culture- sexual assault, survival, and the murky search for justice. Premiered in fall of 2016 before an audience of 600, it had its 2nd performance in Nov. of 2018 before another sold out audience, then a 3rd performance in Seattle.

Larger than Us for chamber ensemble, electronics, & video (created by the composer)
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Teaser for commissioned composer Paul Leary’s “Larger than Us”, set to premiere Jan. 20, 2019 before a snowstorm hit and all was cancelled. It’s re-scheduled for March 16. This work celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo mission, and was a collaboration with the Museum of Science & Technology in Syracuse, NY, including a show & tell with Leary’s musical bicycle wheels & pendulum (the latter used in “Larger”), plus panel on physics & the music of the spheres with Chief Program officer of the MOST, S.U. chaired prof. of Physics & Leary.

Chorale, 2018 by Kevin Ernste – commissioned by SNM
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Written in memory of Steve Stucky, its materials are from his “Chorale” (“Album Leaves”-piano). Staging/choreography enact a kind of memorial, centered in the piano as the composer’s center of ideas. The piano is played inside, strumming, striking, magnetically oscillating (use of ebows), or resonating sympathetically through electronics. Instruments are amplified & projected into the piano. Purcell’s “Funeral March for Queen Mary” emerges, realized by Stucky, now a procession for him-leaving only the viola & piano (Stucky was a violist.)

Start and End Dates

07/01/201906/30/2020

Location

Syracuse, New York

Project Created By

Syracuse, New York
Founded in 1971, the Society’s purpose is to act as a catalyst for the continued growth of the Central New York musical community by commissioning new works; by advocacy (e.g. Society News; Fresh Ink on WCNY-FM & its Watertown & Utica affiliates & online); featuring regional composers alongside guest composers; providing regional musicians an opportunity…

In Collaboration With

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