Assistant Professor of Music Mark Olivieri’s original score to the 1920 Douglas Fairbanks’ silent film, “The Mark of Zorro,” will be performed live to a screening of the film in Froelich Hall in the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. Olivieri will perform the score with the Society for New Music, conducted by Travis Newton. The event is free and open to the public.
“Scoring a silent film presents a composer with unique challenges to find the right balance of music and mood to accompany the action of the various scenes,” Olivieri says. “The music also has to hint at revealing nuances of the plot to convey meaning implied by the ‘unspoken’ dialogue.”
Olivieri was commissioned by the Syracuse Film Festival and LeMoyne College to write the hour-and-a-half score. Musicians performing the score will include: Kelly Covert on flute, John Frederichs on clarinet, Blagomira Lipari on violin, Gregory Wood on cello, Darryl Pugh on doublebass and Robert Bridge on percussion.
In addition to Fairbanks, “The Mark of Zorro” stars Marguerite De La Motte and Robert McKim. Set in old Spanish California, the film tells the story of a corrupt Governor Alvarado who crushes the poor, causing wealthy Don Diego Vega to wear a mask and cape and become the legendary Zorro, defender of the people. The film was directed by Fred Niblo.
Joining the HWS faculty in 2010, Olivieri holds a Ph.D. from the University at Buffalo, a M.M. from Ithaca College Music Conservatory, and a B.M. from Heidelberg College. Prior to arriving at the Colleges, Olivieri served as Composer-in-Residence in the Department of Dance at The College at Brockport. He has played and composed for luminaries such as Jose Limon, Sean Curran, Doug Varone, and Smith Dance Companies. Last summer, Olivieri had his Carnegie Hall debut when his composition, “Hommage á Trois” for solo piano was performed by Richard Steinbach. His triple concerto, “Open Secrets,” for piano, viola and flute will premiere in Medellín, Colombia, in the spring of 2016.
This event is the first in a series to be sponsored by the Richard S. Abramson Special Performance Fund. The fund was established to encourage collaborative artistic performances at the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts. A pre-screening discussion will be held at 7:15 p.m. with Olivieri, Professor of Media and Society Lester Friedman, and Richard S. Abramson, a film and music professional and sponsor of the event.
Founded in 1971, the Society for New Music serves as a catalyst for the growth of the musical community in Central New York.