The Alloy Orchestra Returns!

Cornell Cinema welcomes back the Cambridge-based Alloy Orchestra for a two-day engagement. 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 over 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 return engagement, they’ll perform two of their most famous scores.

The first will be with Russian master Sergei Eisenstein's feature debut, Strike, a gripping account of a 1912 factory workers' strike and its violent suppression, which will be shown as part of Cornell Cinema’s Labor on Film series and will serve as the kick-off for the School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) Worker Institute’s “Union Days” events.

According to a review in the New York Post, “The Alloy Orchestra helps create a feel of palpable menace as factory workers’ ire against the fatcat factory owners builds to the breaking point.… By the time the final clash of cymbals concludes a devastating finale, the mix of Eisenstein and the Alloy has produced a spellbinding collaboration.”

They’ll also reprise their popular and pulsating score for Buster Keaton’s and Clyde Bruckman’s The General as part of the IthaKid Film Festival. The General is “Keaton's best, and arguably the greatest screen comedy ever made.  Against a meticulously evoked Civil War background, Buster risks life, limb, and love as he pursues his beloved railway engine, hijacked by Northern spies up to no good for the Southern cause. The result is everything one could wish for: witty, dramatic, visually stunning, and full of subtle, delightful human insights and constantly hilarious.” (Time Out Film Guide)

The Alloy’s visit is cosponsored with the Cornell Council for the Arts, the Department of Music, ILR and the Ithaca Youth Bureau. Prices for Strike are $12 general/$10 seniors and students, and for The General, $7 adults/$5 kids 12 & under. Tickets can be purchased in advance at