People active in the silent era and people who keep the silent era alive.
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Ben Model, one of the country’s leading silent film accompanists, creates all his own original scores and performs them live on piano or theatre organ. A silent film pianist for the Museum of Modern Art in New York since 1984, he is also cofounder with film historian Bruce Lawton of the popular Silent Clowns Film Series, and travels around the USA and overseas to accompany silent movies. His recorded scores are available on DVDs from Kino, Image, Reelclassicdvd.com and Unknown Video.
Ben composes and improvises all his own scores, and performs in a style that is both evocative of the silent era and also aware of a contemporary (and younger) audience’s awareness of music and film scoring. Ben is also a silent film historian, and often introduces the films he accompanies. In the spring of 2006, Ben coorganised MoMA’s two-month retrospective of the films of Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle.
Ben has been fortunate to have had his lifelong passion for silent film fostered by important figures in classic cinema: he grew up watching silent movies at the home of Walter Kerr, drama critic and author of The Silent Clowns (Knopf, 1975), he accompanied silent movies for noted film historian William K. Everson’s classes at New York University while attending film school there, and learned the craft and technique of silent film scoring from legendary silent film organist Lee Erwin.
Ben has also made the silent film experience portable, by teaming up with fellow film historian Bruce Lawton. Together, they have brought their projectors, films, music and knowledge to schools, universities libraries, museums and churches all over the northeastern USA.