"For me the process of writing and performing silent film music is a spiritual activity, as well as an enjoyable means of practicing my craft. Ironically, I am often looking for ways to make the film accompaniment more silent, so that the disappearance of music would be perceived as an integral part of the film, and not something forced upon the listener."

—Donald Sosin

Donald Sosin and Joanna Seaton

Music for silent films
Keyboard, voice, percussion and more!

About Donald Sosin

Donald Sosin

Donald Sosin has been enthralling audiences in the US and Europe with his silent film music for over thirty years. Born in 1951, he grew up in Rye, NY, and Munich. He studied piano with Kyriena Siloti, and is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Columbia University, studying composition with William Albright and Jack Beeson. He was the resident film accompanist at the Museum of Modern Art in the late 70's, and returns there frequently as a guest pianist.

He performs each October at the Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone, Italy, each July at Bologna's Cinema Ritrovato, and appears regularly at major film festivals including New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Telluride, TriBeCa, and Port Townsend. He is the resident pianist for the Film Society of Lincoln Center, BAM and the Museum of Moving Image, and has appeared at other film repertory house and archives include the Pacific Film Archives’ Asian Film Festival, the Thalia Theater, Symphony Space, Harvard Film Archives, the National Gallery, the Wadsworth Atheneum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Berlin Filmmuseum, MASS MoCA, and The Film Forum.

He has composed music for screenings of women’s films at the Museum of the Moving Image and Chinese films at the Guggenheim Museum. In 2008 he was commissioned by MoMA and Anthology Film Archives to write an orchestral score for MANHATTA, the first American avant-garde film, by Charles Sheeler and Paul Strand. In 2001 he was commissioned by the Westchester Film Festival to score the earliest existing American feature film, RICHARD III, for chamber ensemble and voice. At the Whitney Museum he premiered his score for SALOME as part of the UNSEEN CINEMA series, for which he also recorded ninety minutes of music for this unique series of programs of avant-garde cinema currently touring museums around the world. Mr. Sosin has lectured on silent film music at the Aspen Institute of Humanities.

For DVD release Sosin has scored numerous films, including NOSFERATU, THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI, and BLIND HUSBANDS, A MAN THERE WAS, SALLY OF THE SAWDUST, WARNING SHADOWS, 19 avant-garde films for the fall 2005 Kino Video and Image Entertainment releases, a group of Edison films for Kino Video, four Ozu films including A STORY OF FLOATING WEEDS, and De Mille’s KING OF KINGS for Criterion, and a pair of Pickford films for Milestone, plus many shorts by Lloyd, Chase and Arbuckle.

In 2001 he and his wife, actress/singer Joanna Seaton, participated in a colloquium on silent film music at the Berlin Filmmuseum. They performed his score for FOOLISH WIVES with a five-piece band at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, featuring new songs by the couple, and a chamber score for the European premiere of MoMA’s restoration of EAST SIDE WEST SIDE.The couple has performed at the Virginia Film Festival, the National Gallery, Connecticut’s Music Mountain and many college campuses.The couple has also led workshops in silent film scoring for talented high school musicians. Their CD of Broadway love songs, SAIL AWAY, was released in 1999.

On Broadway Mr. Sosin was assistant conductor for THE FIRST and WELCOME TO THE CLUB; he was music director and vocal arranger for the first production of the Mitch Leigh-Lee Adams musical AIN'T BROADWAY GRAND, the American premiere of Cole Porter's NYMPH ERRANT, and the Folger Theatre premiere of WIND IN THE WILLOWS.

PBS documentaries including THE WEST, and additional orchestrations for the Great Performances Mark Twain series. His arrangements and recordings include “Dance of the Blessed Spirits” for the Naxos label, and two CDs by folk singer Priscilla Herdman. He has recorded an album of original songs, and a twelve-hour background score for the New Testament. Mr. Sosin’s over 1500 pop sheet music arrangements are published by Cherry Lane and Warner Bros. Music.

In 1995-6 the couple toured the US for fourteen months with the national company of JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, training over 1000 children. They have taught songwriting workshops all over the country and have written extensively for theater, television, radio, video, the concert hall and for worship. They live in Connecticut with their son Nicholas.

  • Study piano online with Donald Sosin at WorkshopLive.com

  • If you've ever wanted to learn how to play the piano, here's a great opportunity to learn the basics with Donald. Entertaining and informative, simple to understand and thorough, his lessons will guide you through such topics as reading clefs, learning the names and position of notes, all the different rhythmic values of notes, the circle of fifths, scales, and more. You'll learn many favorite folk songs, and elsewhere on the site Donald also teaches you how to play great songs like "Sunshine of Your Love" and "They Can't Take That Away from Me."

    >click here to get started!

  • The Art of Scoring Film — workshop in Syracuse, NY

Sosin family with Robert Redford at the Kennedy Center

Right: Robert Redford, Donald Sosin, Nick Sosin, Joanna Seaton.

Below: Donald Sosin plays MY BEST GIRL, starring Mary Pickford, at the Kennedy Center, September 2003.

Donald Sosin performing at the Kennedy Center

After Donald's performance at the Kennedy Center, Robert Redford gave the annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on the Arts and Public Policy, speaking on film preservation. Donald repeated this performance at the Directors Guild of America dinner in New York in November 2003.

Recordings and Live Performances

For information on recordings and booking live performance, contact:

41 Horseshoe Lane
Lakeville CT 06039
Tel: (860) 435-4687
Fax: (928) 752-3417