A 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Alloy Orchestra

Cornell Cinema welcomes back the Cambridge-based Alloy Orchestra for a three-day engagement in honor of the ensemble’s 25th anniversary! Founded in 1991, the group has been composing and performing their original scores for an array of silent films ever since then, and Cornell Cinema has had the pleasure of hosting them, on a near annual basis, ever since the late ‘90s. The three-man ensemble, known to sound like a twelve-piece orchestra, is made-up of Roger C. Miller on synthesizer; Terry Donahue on junk percussion, accordion, saw and banjo; and Ken Winokur on junk percussion and clarinet. The group has played a major role in the resurgence of interest in silent films shown with live musical accompaniment over their 25-year history, introducing new audiences to the wonders of silent film year after year, and inspiring other musicians to apply their talents to the unique task of composing for silent films.

During this extended engagement, they’ll perform two of their most famous scores: the first with Dziga Vertov’s Man With a Movie Camera, shown in a new digital restoration taken from Vertov’s personal print, left in Amsterdam when he visited there (after the film was banned in the USSR). It is “an exquisite full frame, nearly scratchless, gorgeous contrast restoration that blows away the regular 35mm film print or its DVD restorations that we’ve used in the past,” according to Winokur. They’ll also reprise their most beloved score for Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, the definitive restoration of which premiered at Cornell Cinema with the Alloy in 2010 after 25 minutes of lost footage was found in Argentina. Over their history, the Alloy has scored four different versions of the film! Rounding out the program will be two new scores with two new film restorations! Marcel L’Herbier’s L’Inhumaine (The Inhuman Woman) was a groundbreaking landmark of artistic collaboration and avant-garde design; a fantastical, science-fiction melodrama featuring amazing sets by artist Ferdinand Leger. E.A. Dupont’s Varieté (1925) stars German film legend Emil Jannings as a former trapeze artist who seeks revenge after he loses the love of his life and performing partner to the cold and calculating man who hires the couple to star in his trapeze show in Berlin.

The Alloy wows Ithaca audiences every time they visit, so don’t miss out! Prices for the first three shows are $12/$10 students & seniors, and for Metropolis, $14/$12 students & seniors. Interested in seeing multiple shows? Save $$ by purchasing a special Alloy x 3 Pass (online or at one of the first two shows) for just $32/$25 students & seniors. Use it for any three of the four films. Individual tickets and passes available in advance at CornellCinemaTickets.com as of August 15.

Cosponsored with the Cornell Council for the Arts, College of AAP, Dept of Music, Dept of Performing and Media Arts, Institute for German Cultural Studies, Dept of German Studies and the Wharton Studio Museum.

©2016 Cornell Cinema, r.haarstad