Yorkshire Silent Film Festival celebrates and develops the art of live musical performance with moving image. Musicians and composers are at the centre of what we do and every event we produce is both a screening and a live performance. Some of the world's finest specialist film musicians perform regularly at YSFF, alongside musicians from the worlds of contemporary, classical and experimental music. Most of our musicians are highly skilled improvisers, creating original music in real time, 'in the moment'. We also work with composers, sound artists, actors and foley artists to create unique and memorable sound worlds for each film we screen.
Below are some of the artists who have performed with us.
Monty Adkins is a sound artist based in the north of England. His work is characterised by slow shifting organic textures drawing influences from ambient music to microsound. He has released albums with Cronica (Portugal), Audiobulb (UK), Signature (France) and empreintes DIGITALes (Canada). He is particularly interested in working with other artists across disciplines. He has produced sound for short films, installations as well as performance pieces. Monty will premiere a new work at the third Yorkshire Silent Film Festival in May 2018.
Neil Brand has been a silent film accompanist for over 30 years, at film festivals and special events around the world. The BBC Symphony Orchestra has performed all his orchestral scores, from Anthony Asquith's Underground to Hitchcock's silent Blackmail and Chaplin's Easy Street, as well as his through-scored BBC radio adaptations, The Wind in the Willows and A Christmas Carol. Neil is well known as a TV presenter on BBC4. He's a Fellow of the Aberystwyth University and a Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Music. Neil is a member of the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival's Advisory Board.
Neil has performed at every Yorkshire Silent Film Festival. In May 2017 the world premiere performance of his chamber orchestra score to Alfred Hitchcock's The Lodger opened the festival. We look forward to welcoming Neil back to the 3rd Yorkshire Silent Film Festival in May 2018.
Elizabeth-Jane Baldry is a British harpist and composer whose silent film scores include Peter Pan, Nosferatu, Cottage on Dartmoor, Phantom of the Opera, Sunrise, and Thief of Bagdad. Her compositions have been used by ITV, the BBC and by Irish, Japanese, Danish and Canadian film, radio and television.'“She can draw more tone colours out of the instrument than any other harpist living in the world today” - David Watkins, professor of harp, Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Elizabeth-Jane is a Yorkshire Silent Film Festival Associate Musician.
Elizabeth-Jane has performed at every Yorkshire Silent Film Festival, creating several new scores including Ozu's Dragnet Girl, Hepworth's Helen of Four Gates, Frank Borzage's 7th Heaven and Hitchcock's The Lodger.
Trevor began playing percussion at the age of 6 after becoming fascinated with it after hearing the marimba being played on the radio. In 2011 he graduated with a Masters Degree in Percussion performance from the Royal Northern College of Music. He has an active solo career, as well as performing regularly with a number of chamber ensembles including Harp and Percussion Duo Sticks&Strings and Manchester based contemporary group Sounds of the Engine House. Trevor is a Yorkshire Silent Film Festival Associate Musician.
Trevor made his silent film performance debut with Leeds International Film Festival in 2016 performing with YSFF Director Jonny Best. He joined YSFF in 2017 performing widely across the festival including scores for Ben Hur, Flesh and the Devil, and Sherlock Jr. As well as un-tuned percussion, Trevor plays vibes and marimba, both of which are likely to make an appearance at the 2018 festival.
Stephen has long been considered one of the leading silent film accompanists. A house pianist at London’s BFI Southbank for thirty years, he has played at all the major UK venues and recorded music for many DVD releases of silent films. Although principally a pianist, he often incorporates other instruments into his performances, sometimes simultaneously. He regularly performs internationally and in recent years his accompaniments have met with acclaim at film festivals in Pordenone, Bologna, San Francisco, Telluride, Paris, Cannes, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Shanghai, Istanbul, Berlin and Vienna. In 2011 and 2012, Stephen was commissioned to compose ensemble scores for the London Film Festival Archive Galas of The First Born and The Manxman. In 2012 his accompaniment for Rotaie won the main prize at the Bonn Sommerkino Festival while for three years, from 2014 to 2016, he has been named best solo accompanist in the Silent London end-of-year poll.
Meg Morley is an Australian-born improvising pianist and composer living in London. She recently released a solo piano EP, Through the Hours, comprising original compositions, which draw upon her training as a classical and an improvising pianist and with the title track evoking an iconic image of London. Meg is currently a full-time musician with English National Ballet School and also plays for various dance institutions (Rambert Company and Matthew Bourne at Sadler's Wells, Royal Ballet School etc). Her relatively new-found love of silent film has led her to perform in various UK film festivals (Flatpack, Borderlines) and last year she participated in Pordenone's Aspirant Pianist Masterclasses for silent film and became a resident accompanist for the Kennington Bioscope held at the London Cinema Museum.
Jonny studied at the Chethams School of Music and University of London. He's worked in theatre, opera, music and arts festivals in a variety of roles, including periods on staff with National Theatre, RSC, ENO, Royal Opera, Opera North, and Cameron Mackintosh Ltd. He's led a series of festivals as Artistic Director or Executive Producer and is the founding Director of Yorkshire Silent Film Festival. Jonny researches at University of Huddersfield music department where he also teaches improvisation and musicology. Jonny is a Clore Fellow, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a member of the Royal Musical Association.
Jonny performs widely as an improvising pianist for silent film and recent performances include Battleship Potemkin for York Concerts and Snow White for University of Hull (both with Trevor Bartlett on percussion), a tour of The Lost World, and a series of shows for Leeds International Film Festival. For YSFF has played a wide range of films, including Flesh and the Devil, The House on Trubnaya Street, The Four Just Men, Chicago, Blackmail, The Lodger, Ben Hur and The Cameraman.
Jonathan also researches and writes on the history of silent film accompaniment, presenting findings at the British Silent Film Festival Symposium in 2017 and, in September 2018, at the 54th Royal Musical Association Annual Conference.
OSP (the Orchestra of St Paul's) is one of London's most dynamic and versatile chamber orchestras. Under the baton of Artistic Director Ben Palmer, the orchestra has developed a reputation for imaginative programming and exciting, stylish performances. OSP has made a speciality of performing films live to picture, with screenings of Casablanca, Psycho, The Gold Rush, Peter and the Wolf, The Snowman, and, later this season, a triple bill of Chaplin Mutuals with music by Carl Davis. Future plans include a screening of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial at the Royal Festival Hall, and the DVD/Blu-ray release of Neil Brand's score for The Lodger for The Criterion Collection.
Covent Garden Sinfonia will return to perform at the 3rd Yorkshire Silent Film Festival in May 2018.