About Neil Brand

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This lecture will be in the form of an extended, on-stage interview led by IU Cinema Director Jon Vickers.

Neil Brand

Neil Brand has been accompanying silent films for over 30 years, regularly in London at the Barbican and NFT, throughout the UK and at film festivals and special events around the world, including Australia, New Zealand (three times), America, Israel, Sweden, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, and, in Italy, the Bologna, Aosta, Bergamo and Pordenone festivals where he has inaugurated the School of Music and Image.

Training originally as an actor, he has made his name as a writer/performer/composer, scoring BFI video releases of such films as South (Shackleton's Journey to the South Pole), The Ring by Alfred Hitchcock, the great lost film The Life and Times of David Lloyd George and Early Cinema, avant-garde cinema and Russian pre-Soviet cinema. His most recent DVD scores are for Silent Dickens, Silent Britain, The Cat and the Canary (1927) and the Laurel and Hardy short You’re Darn Tootin’, commissioned by Paul Merton with sound effects provided by the audience.

Neil now has a very fruitful relationship with the BBC Symphony Orchestra which has resulted in London performances of his acclaimed orchestral score for Hitchcock’s silent Blackmail (commissioned by Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna), the BBCSO / Barbican commission to score Asquith’s silent Underground, released to great acclaim theatrically and on Blu-Ray/DVD by the BFI. New adaptations followed of The Wind in the Willows (Audio Drama Award Nominated) and A Christmas Carol for Orchestra and Actors commissioned by Radios 3 and 4 – all of these works orchestrated and conducted by maestro Timothy Brock. His Blackmail score was performed at the British Museum in a reduced ensemble arrangement for the London 2012 festival, and subsequently played the New Zealand Film Festival alongside his new score for Chaplin’s Easy Street and played the Odessa Steps last year before an estimated crowd of 25000. It will play five times in four different countries this year.

Neil is a prolific radio playwright including Sony and Tinniswood nominated dramas Stan (which he adapted for BBC TV) and Getting the Joke, as well as establishing the regular live-recorded musical series The Big Broadcast. He has twice toured nationally with Paul Merton as well as appearing in, and supplying music for, Paul’s silent film-related TV documentaries. He appeared in Ken Loach’s The Wind that Shakes the Barley and played the role of Ted the garage owner in the BBC2’s soap opera for the deaf Switch. Recently he has toured to Finland’s Midnight Sun Festival, Padua Opera House, Kilkenny comedy festival, the Middle Eastern International Film Festival and throughout the UK and abroad with his hilarious and touching one-man-show The Silent Pianist Speaks. Neil is becoming well-known as a TV presenter on BBC4 with his hugely successful series Sound of Cinema and Sound of Song, is a regular presenter on Radio 4's Film Programme and is considered one of the finest improvising piano accompanists in the world.

Neil Brand is scheduled to be present at the November 7, 2015, screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1929 Blackmail, presented with live orchestral accompaniment and the U.S. premiere of a new musical score by Brand.

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