"As ever, Donald and Joanna were brilliant - our audience adores them."

Peggy Parsons, The National Gallery

About Us

“Thanks again for the magic evening!”—Isabella Rossellini.  “The top of the line of film pianists!”—Leonard Maltin, film critic

“Sosin…brilliantly captures both the buoyancy and the anxiety of this remarkable film.” [Ozu’s I Was Born But…]  —A. O. Scott, NY Times

For twenty years Donald Sosin and Joanna Seaton have been among the only major performers in the US creating and performing music for classic silent films with vocals as well as instrumentals, and have won high praise from experts in the field, as well as enthusiastic supporters of all ages everywhere they appear. Their unique blend of keyboard, vocals, electronics and percussion delights a wide variety of audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.

Their film scores incorporate original songs with Joanna’s lyrics and Donald’s music, as well as select songs from the early 20th century appropriate to the film, and even, in some cases, giving voice to the muted singing of the actors onscreen.

FILM FESTIVALS COAST TO COAST

New
 York, Telluride, San Francisco, Seattle, TriBeCa, Denver, Houston, Virginia, Westchester, Ithaca, Bellport, Newport. They are often at MoMA (where Donald has performed since 1973) and other New York venues—BAM, Film at Lincoln Center, the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, Alliance Française, the Cosmopolitan Club, Scandinavia House, the Film Forum, Citicorp Center, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, and the Museum of the Moving Image.

ACROSS THE ATLANTIC

They perform regularly at the world’s largest silent film festival, Le Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone and at Bologna’s Cinema Ritrovato. They have appeared at the Berlin Filmmuseum, Moscow’s Lumière Gallery, South Korea’s Jecheon Festival of and Music Festival, and the Thailand Silent Film Festival in Bangkok. Donald is a longtime member of the musician roster at both festivals, and part of the masterclass faculty in Pordenone, training upcoming pianists from all over the globe in the art of silent film accompaniment.

FROM THE KENNEDY CENTER TO SHANGHAI

Additionally, Donald has performed in the Lincoln Center Great Performances series and was the guest pianist for Robert Redford’s Nancy Hanks lecture at the Kennedy Center. Konzerthaus Wien commissioned a score for organ and piano, which he premiered in 2013. He brought five programs of Chinese and American films to the First Shanghai Silent Film Festival in 2009.

OTHER MUSEUMS & COLLEGES

They are favorite guests at the National Gallery, and have played the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Boston’s Museum of Fine
 Arts, MASS MoCA, the High Museum, the Wadsworth Atheneum, Music Mountain (Falls Village CT),Windsor (CT) Historical Society, Windsor Arts Center, Tarrytown (NY) Music Hall, Coolidge Corner (MA), Palace Theatre (Syracuse NY), WAMC (Albany) Linda Norris Auditorium, AFI/Silver, Concordia Chamber Players (PA). Colleges—Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brown, U. of Michigan, Emory, Webster, Le Moyne, and Bard’s SummerScape series, as well as many elementary schools, libraries and senior centers.

OVER 60 DVDS

Their music is available on the Criterion, Kino, Milestone and several European labels. Titles include Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, King of Kings, The Docks of New York, Upstream, and many other features and shorts by Ozu, Naruse, Chaplin, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, and Orson Welles. Turner Classic Movies has broadcast several rare Chinese features with Donald’s scores, and dozens of shorts from Mack Sennett to avant-garde masterpieces like Manhatta by Charles Sheeler and Paul Strand.

NOT JUST FILM

They have written choral music on commission from the 
Chicago Symphony Chorus and the Colorado Children’s Chorus. Donald has arranged for the Orchestra of St. Luke and written music for PBS, NPR, ABC and CBS. His children’s opera Esther was perfomed in 2012 at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst MA. Joanna has sung at the 92nd Street Y with jazz great Dick Hyman.

Donald and Joanna play an active part of their community in northwest Connecticut, teaching, leading community vocal groups, and directing and conducting musical theater. They live in Lakeville CT and have two children. 

Film Scores

With more than one thousand film scores written and hundreds recorded, Donald Sosin is one of today’s leading silent film composers. Joanna and Donald have collaborated on over thirty scores for DVD, including Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Docks of New York, Upstream, Coney Island and King of Kings. Other silent film music by the duo on YouTube.

Here’s the very first Frankenstein film, restored by the Library of Congress, with Donald’s score.

UPCOMING PERFORMANCES

 

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New releases on BluRay/DVD:   From Flicker Alley: The Ancient Law, 1923, E.A. Dupont, with Alicia Svigals, violin and co-composer. From KinoLorber: The Call of the Cumberlands and two shorts, co-composed with Joanna Seaton, part of their comprehensive set, Women Film Pioneers. The Criterion Collection’s mammoth 43-DVD set of 100 years of the Olympics. My contributions: Stockholm 1912, Paris 1924, 3 hrs each. From Milestone: Lois Weber’s Shoes (1917), and from KinoLorber early 2018, W. C. Fields in Running Wild.

 

 

 


video cover George Melies video cover Silent Ozu video cover Peach Girl video cover Harold Lloyd video cover Avant Garde video cover Siren of the Tropics  video cover Edison Invention of the Movies video cover King of Kings video cover Spies video cover Cabinet of Dr. Caligari video cover Nosferatu video cover Long Pants video cover Blind Husbands video cover Titanic video cover Story of Floating Weeds

Workshops

Donald and Joanna have led workshops for music teachers at the Westminster Performing Arts Center in Salt Lake City, and the Darien CT school system. Student workshops include the 2012 Telluride Film Festival, 2011 Music Teachers Association of California convention, two at the Virginia Film Festival (songwriting), Houston Cinema Arts Festival, two at the University of Colorado Denver in association with the Denver Silent Film Festival, Le Moyne College, The Music Studio (Albany). They taught songwriting at New York City magnet schools for ten years and are part of the teaching team of Kid Pan Alley, a nationwide organization teaching songwriting in schools and other venues.