Tom Peters is a composer and GRAMMY® nominated performer who creates multimedia works featuring classic silent films. He performs a one-man-orchestra that uses cutting edge computer electronics and synchronized electronic soundscapes. In April 2013, he premiered his original score to the 1927 silent classic The Passion of Joan of Arc at the Toronto Silent Film Festival with Joelle Morton on tenor viol. The score was featured in a radio broadcast over the CBC. His score to John Ford’s classic western The Iron Horse (1924) premiered at The Autry National Center in Los Angeles in March 2015. The Phantom of the Opera, which premiered on Halloween Night 2015, is his 14th silent film score.
Tom recently premiered his latest piece, The Man with the Movie Camera with Dziga Vertov’s landmark 1929 documentary in January 2016 at the Portland Art Museum. Two recordings are in the works.
Tom’s 2014 GRAMMY® nominated recording of John Cage’s The Ten Thousand Things on the MicroFest label with acclaimed pianists Aron Kallay and Vicki Ray, legendary percussionist William Winant, and a recently discovered recording of John Cage himself performing 45’ for a Speaker was the first American recording of this seminal work. Tom has been a member of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra since 1993 and Southwest Chamber Music since 1998. He is a lecturer of Double Bass at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at the California State University, Long Beach.
Silent movies were never silent.
From film’s origins in the late 19th Century, music has always played a crucial part in helping the audience sink into the narrative and moods created by visual images on the screen. Larger movie houses employed symphony orchestras, while matinees and smaller theaters used organ and piano accompaniment, often improvised.
Following this tradition composer and Grammy nominated performer Tom Peters creates new music for silent movies, connecting well-known masterpieces and lesser-known cinematic gems with modern audiences through cutting edge music. While the music you hear is current, it always serves the film, outlining the director’s vision and the actors’ performances in a way that is complementary to the action you see onscreen.
Since 2008, Tom has created new scores for such classics as The Iron Horse, Nosferatu, The Man with the Movie Camera, The Cat and the Canary, Pandora’s Box, The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (Alfred Hitchcock’s first big success), Der Golem and Chicago. His score for The Passion of Joan of Arc premiered at the 2013 Toronto Silent Film Festival with acclaimed viola da gambist Joelle Morton.
Tom performs his scores with a bowed electric arpeggione designed by the legendary Ned Steinberger, and laptop computer. Tom is accompanied by computer-synchronized soundscapes that may include anything from voices to drums to ukuleles. He performs the live portion of the score on the electric arpeggione with composed and improvisational elements to create a truly unique sight and sound experience.
Tom Peters is an NS Design Sponsored Artist.