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Contributed by Patricia Zimmermann on 09/07/2004
IC music school alum and experimental electric cellist Chris White will improvise with Robert Weine's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Germany, 1919), one of the landmark films of German expressionism as well as an early model for both the horror and film noir genres.
At the premiere in Germany, a full orchestra accompanied the film playing from an original score. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari was aggressively marketed as an Art film with a capital A to appeal to a more elite audience.
As this important work of international art cinema film toured the world, however, local exhibitors provided their own musicians. They interpreted the film through improvisation and compilations from silent film accompaniment books. For the New York premiere in 1921, for example, the score was compiled from the modernist music of Schoenberg, Debussy, Stravinsky, and Prokofiev -- an unusual tactic for film music.
Chris White is changing how audiences think about the cello. White's playing combines the vibrancy of bowed string instruments with the urgency of direct communication with an audience. White has performed in Europe, Canada, and the United States. While living in Spain, he played with flamenco, Celtic, and jazz groups. White completed a master's degree in music performance at Ithaca College. Since then he has published articles on the history of jazz cello in STRINGS (Spring '89) and Down Beat (Feb. '89).
White performed with his jazz quartet at the First World Cello Congress (June 1988), the Quanzaine de Montréal (April 1992), the New Directions Cello Festival (1995, 1997, and 2001) and at the sixth American Cello Congress in Maryland (2001). He also performs regularly as a classical cellist with the Binghamton Symphony.