The Silent Film Music Podcast with Ben Model

The Silent Film Music Podcast with Ben Model


A podcast from renowned silent film accompanist/historian Ben Model covering the techniques of creating and performing live scores to silent films, as well as a discussion of the language of silent cinema. Find what goes on in the mind of a silent film accompanist before, during and after playing for a show. Learn about the aesthetics of silent filmmaking and storytelling language. In this episode: Ben interviews composer, silent film pianist and television producer William Perry. Perry is probably best-remembered for his scores for the now-legendary television series “The Silent Years”, produced by Paul Killiam, that ran for two seasons on public television, in 1971 and 1975. For twelve years Perry was the music director and composer-in-residence at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In the second part of this interview, Perry talks about his work as MoMA’s full-time silent film accompanist, his friendship with Lillian Gish, how he approached composing his “Silent Years” scores, how he orchestrated them for symphonic performances and recordings in later years, his decision to leave MoMA and film accompaniment, his serving as producer and composer for series of Mark Twain films for PBS, and more. The 1st half of the interview was posted in September 2022. Show notes for episode 52 can be found here.

Recent Episodes

  • ep. 52: William Perry interview (part 2) – MoMA, Lillian Gish, composing orchestrally for piano, and more.

    2 weeks ago
  • ep. 51: William Perry interview (part 1) – “The Silent Years”, MoMA, and more.

    1 month ago
  • ep. 50: Serial Queens, Kovacs Music Videos, and the Charming Raymond Griffith

    2 months ago
  • ep. 49: Rudolph Valentino, Ernie Kovacs, Buster Keaton, and the Craft of Supporting Subtleties

    4 months ago
  • ep. 48: interview with Rick Benjamin, of the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra

    5 months ago
  • ep. 47: accompanying The Patsy, The Cameraman, and Gilbert Gottfried

    5 months ago
  • ep. 46: Kansas Silent Film Festival…and Other In-Person Shows, plus some new Undercrank Projects

    7 months ago
  • ep. 45: Home Video Releases, Kickstarters, Marion Davies, Wesleyan and MoMA

    9 months ago
  • ep. 08 (re-posted): “A Trip to the Moon” in Tromsø, an Organ in Oslo, live comedy show “Everybody Gets Cake”, Marcel Perez

    9 months ago
  • ep. 07 (re-posted): News From the Road, “Peter Pan”, Hitchcock’s “Blackmail”, physical comedy show “Everybody Gets Cake”

    9 months ago