The Los Angeles Master Chorale, led by Grant Gershon, Kiki & David Gindler Artistic Director, presents the world-premiere live-to-picture performance of Emmy Award-winning composer Jeff Beal’s new score for F.W. Murnau’s iconic silent film Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans on Sunday, January 26, 2020 at 7:00 pm at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Widely considered by many film critics and historians to be one of the greatest films ever made, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, starring George O’Brien, Janet Gaynor, and Margaret Livingstone, won the Unique and Artistic Picture award at the very first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929. It also won the award for Best Cinematography for Charles Rosher and Karl Struss and Best Actress in a Leading Role for Janet Gaynor. For many of the film’s admirers, the only flaw has been its soundtrack. Although one of the first-ever films with a synchronized musical score and sound effects, the music was drawn from various sources and not created for the picture. For this world premiere presentation, Jeff Beal (House of Cards) has created a new score for choir and chamber orchestra, bringing a human touch to the monochrome melodrama and reaffirming the Master Chorale’s long association with the film industry so prominent in its home city. Most recently, the Master Chorale was invited by John Williams to record the soundtrack for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
“Composer Jeff Beal breathes new life into Sunrise, and illuminates its timeless story of temptation, forgiveness and redemption with his powerful new score that masterfully unites the worlds of choral music and film scoring,” says Jean Davidson, President and CEO, Los Angeles Master Chorale. “The beauty of this project is that it appeals to all. First timers and aficionados alike are in for a unique experience.”
“The opportunity to work with the superb Los Angeles Master Chorale to reimagine Sunrise with a new score is a particularly special experience,” says Beal. “My wife Joan was once an ensemble member, and we have been regular attendees at Master Chorale performances for quite some time. The human voice is an extremely powerful and nimble instrument that brings an evocative sense of depth to the drama that unfolds in this timeless film.”
Joining the Master Chorale for this world premiere performance are soloists Holly Sedillos, soprano, Suzanne Waters, soprano, and Dermot Kiernan, tenor. There will be a Listen Up! pre-concert conversation with Jeff Beal, Grant Gershon and Classical KUSC Radio Host Alan Chapman at 6:00 pm. Please visit https://lamasterchorale.org/listen-up for more information.
On Sun. Jan. 19 at 7:00 pm. the Master Chorale will host a panel discussion with Jeff and Joan Beal, Peter Golub, director of the Sundance Institute Film Music Program, and Janet Bergstrom, professor of cinema and media studies at the UCLA School of Theatre, Film, and Television, in Chorale Hall at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Please email [email protected] to make a reservation.
This program is made possible with generous support from donors to the Artistic Innovation Fund: Leeba R. Lessin, Philip A. Swan, and Priscilla and Curtis Tamkin; and the National Endowment for the Arts.