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Release Date: April 27, 2012

Musical Scores for Chomón Short Films Premiere on Opening Day of Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape at the National Gallery of Art

Washington, DC—On Sunday, May 6, at 4:30 p.m.—opening day of the exhibition Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape—the National Gallery of Art presents a program of visionary Spanish filmmaker Segundo de Chomón's (1871–1929) masterful trick films. The films will be accompanied by the premiere of new musical scores composed by young composers from New York University's prestigious Steinhardt Film Scoring Program including Nicole Brady, Sergi Casanelles Abella, Agatha Kasprzyk, David Marenberg, Jessie Montgomery, and Tomas Peire Serrate, and directed by Ronald Sadoff. The scores will be performed by members of the National Gallery Orchestra and conducted by Gillian Anderson.

The composers have cast their scores, which are drawn from a variety of traditional Catalan music from the era, in tandem with period composition practices. Chomón's endlessly inventive and surreal stories are complemented by scores that highlight his humor, narrative line, and a wealth of delightful physical gestures.

This program is free of charge in the East Building Auditorium. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The program is supported in part by The Sorel Organization for Women in Music.

Film Program

The program includes ten short works by Chomón, illustrating connections between the early cinema and pantomime, witchcraft, magic, folktale, technology, and the theater.

Les Cents Trucs (1906)
Music by Agatha Kasprzyk

Les Tulipes (1907)
Music by Sergi Casanelles Abella

Les Oeufs du Pâques (1907)
Music by David Marenberg

Le Spectre Rouge (1907)
Music by Jessie Montgomery

Une Excursion Incohérent(1909)
Music by Tomas Peire Serrate

La Corriente Eléctrica (1906)
Music by Tomas Peire Serrate

Electric Hotel(1908)
Music by Sergi Casanelles Abella

Le Pied du Mouton (1907)
Music by Nicole Brady

En avant la Musique (1907)
Music by Tomas Peire Serrate

Le Voyage sur Jupiter (1909)
Music by David Marenberg

All films are from the collection of Filmoteca de Catalunya (Catalan Film Archive) in Barcelona.

Segundo de Chomón

A pioneer of enchanting special effects, fantastical narratives, and animation, Segundo de Chomón (1871–1929) rivaled his contemporary, the famous French magician Georges Méliès, as the leading animator in the early years of cinema. Chomón began his career in Barcelona in 1902 making newsreel shorts and stop-motion trick films (delicate sleights-of-hand accomplished through filming his subject, stopping the camera, making quick substitutions, and then resuming the filming). From 1905 to 1909 he worked in France, where the public could compare Méliès' Trip to the Moon with Chomón's Voyage to Jupiter. They could see the latter's technical prowess in the trick films he made for Pathé or with the Italian director Albert Capellani. In 1910, Chomón returned to his native Spain to set up his own production house. His inventiveness in the realm of fantasy is legendary—he even contributed special effects to Gabriele D'Annunzio's Cabiria (1914) and Abel Gance's epic Napoleon (1927).

Gillian Anderson

Conductor and musicologist Gillian Anderson specializes in the relationship between music and moving images and has conducted throughout the United States as well as in Europe, South America, and Canada. Her performances have been described as "triumphant" (The Washington Post), "extraordinary" (Edward Rothstein, The New York Times) and "an enormously involving experience" (Tom Di Nardo, Philadelphia Daily News). She has been featured on a number of television programs, most notably "CBS Sunday Morning" and "All Things Considered Weekend." Together with Ronald Sadoff she founded and is the co-editor of the online journal Music and the Moving Image, published by the University of Illinois Press.

General Information

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