Arts + Culture

Organist Robert Israel Accompanies 1924 Silent Film 'Sherlock Jr.' Starring Buster Keaton at UCLA's Royce Hall Jan. 13


Hailed as one of the finest practitioners of the art ofsilent-film accompaniment, organist Robert Israel will accompany the classicsilent film "Sherlock Jr." on the UCLA Royce Hall organ at 2 p.m., Sunday, Jan.13, at Royce Hall. The 1924 film stars the "Great Stone Face," Buster Keaton,at his whimsical best. An overture concert and a selected short subject, alsofrom the 1920s, will precede the film. This event is presented by UCLA Live andco-sponsored with the UCLA Film and Television Archive.

The RoyceHall Organ Concerts are generously underwritten by the Ahmanson Foundation.

In"Sherlock Jr.," Keaton portrays a movie projectionist whose big dream is tobecome an ace detective. After being framed for theft by the "meanie" who wantsto steal his girlfriend, our hapless hero dreams himself into a movie whoseplot gives him a chance to show off his detective skills. "Sherlock Jr."features bravura gags and special effects that are brilliantly simple butwonderfully inventive. The famous scene that shows the projectionist enteringthe on-screen film explores the reality and fantasy of the movies. The40-minute film, produced by Joseph M. Schenck, also stars Kathryn McGuire, JoeKeaton and Ward Crane.

A protegeof the legendary theater organist Gaylord Carter, Israel made his professionaldebut at the age of 17. He has performed before such silver-screen greats asDouglas Fairbanks Jr. and Charles "Buddy" Rogers, and has entertainedcontemporary audiences in such venues as UCLA's Royce Hall and the Los AngelesConservancy's "Last Remaining Seats" series. In 1993 Israel was named musicdirector by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for their tributeto silent screen great Mary Pickford. Since 1993 he has been music director forsuch tributes annually at the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre.

A resident of Los Angeles, Israel is featured regularly at filmfestivals held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's Bing Theater and atUCLA's James Bridges Theater. He also appears as guest lecturer andperformer for various universities through Southern California and Europe.

In 1999 hewas commissioned by Turner Entertainment to compose a four-hour symphonic scorefor the Rick Schmidlin reconstruction of Erich von Stroheim's masterpiece,"Greed" (1924). This was followed by another commission by Turner to create anew score for the Lon Chaney classic "Tell It to the Marines" (1926).

Israel andhis orchestra have recorded scores for films released by Sony PicturesEntertainment and Kino International in cooperation with Film Preservation andAssociates. He has also composed scores for the television series "Biography"on the A&E channel. As soloist and orchestra conductor, Israel hasperformed throughout the United States, Japan and Europe.

Tickets tosee "Sherlock Jr." with organ accompaniment by Robert Israel at UCLA's RoyceHall are $10 and $7 (for students and seniors) at the UCLA Central TicketOffice at the southwest corner of the James West Alumni Center, online at and at all Ticketmasteroutlets. For more information or to charge by phone, call (310) 825-2101.

Aninternationally acclaimed producer and presenter of music, dance and theater,UCLA Performing Arts' dynamic program UCLA Live brings hundreds ofoutstanding and provocative artists to Los Angeles each year. Committed tosupporting the development of new work, UCLA Performing Arts has commissionedpieces by major artists including Pina Bausch, the Kronos Quartet, Bill T.Jones, Philip Glass and Robert Wilson. Lectures, residencies and extensiveoutreach programs expand the impact of its unparalleled performances, whichinclude a lively mix of distinguished masters and innovators from around theworld.



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