Classical Sounds of the Cinema: Magnificent Movie Music - Smithsonian Associates

Sunday, January 17 @ 3PM 

Since the beginning of the talkies, film directors have turned to classical music for their soundtracks. Whether it’s Beethoven, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Richard Strauss, Mascagni, Puccini, or Bach, opuses of almost every famous composer have added emotional depth to hundreds of films.

With fascinating clips, witty commentary, and piano demonstrations, concert pianist and movie fanatic

delves into the magic of some of the greatest film music ever composed (even when it was unintentional).

has been a featured speaker for organizations including the Library of Congress and heard on NPR, exploring intersections among classical and jazz music, film scores, and the fine arts.

Why Beethoven—and why so much of him? Dive into Beethoven’s very busy side-gig, providing the soundtrack of hundreds of films. His musical brand is so embedded in Western culture that most of the time we don’t even notice he’s secretly driving our movie experience. What cultural signals does it send us when a director uses a well-known Beethoven work, and is the composer’s sublime inspiration simply being used as a substitute for the lack of it on screen?

If you are interested in additional Classical Sounds of Cinema sessions, view the upcoming winter schedule: