top of page

For over 18 years, Bernie Anderson has performed as a silent film organist / composer and concert artists. He is a resident accompanist at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in NY City and has played for many theaters, libraries and organ societies in the north east and midwest. He served as organ curator for the Union County Arts Center 2/7 Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ (formerly known as the Rahway Theatre) and is a staff organist for the  Landmark Loews Jersey Theatre in Jersey City, NJ

About Silent Films

The term silent film describes any movie made from 1893 to roughly around 1926-1928. In 1927, "The Jazz Singer" was released and Hollywood never looked back; the dawn of sound was here. But for roughly 35 years, the only sound you heard in a movie theatre was made by the live musicians in the orchestra pit. The music could be as simple as a piano player in the Nickleodeons or as grand as a symphony orchestra as it was in movie palaces like The Roxy, The Capitol or The Paramount Theatre in New York City and Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. On the screen you saw movie stars such as Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Lon Chaney, Rudolph Valentino, Mary Pickford and lesser known people today like Harold Lloyd, Harry Langdon and "Fatty" Arbuckle.

About the Film Scores and Presentations:

Most "original" film scores of the day, were compilations based off of a cue sheet from the movie studio, or in the case of an organ or piano, most scores were improvised. All my film scores are original composition which are historically correct. No music has been used in more than one score and I try to incorporate original scores or songs specifically written for the movie when available. In addition, any films may be scored that you wish by request. 

I accompany silent films live mostly on Theatre Organs, Church Organs (Pipe Organ or Electronic Organs). This is the sound heard today in restored movie palaces like the Capitol Theatre in Rome NY or The Loews Jersey in Jersey City, NJ. Church organs are suitable as well. Many churches have hosted showings of King of Kings, Phantom of the Opera or Nosferatu. I will also use a piano. Most venues will own either a grand or upright. Where an instrument in not available, a digital piano can be rented locally or through myself directly. 

Projection of the movie is important. The traditional way of projecting a movie is with 35mm film projectors, which most theatre have installed. 16mm and video are also an option and film rental is considerably cheaper. Complete 35mm portable projector setup,16mm and video equipment are available directly through me, which allows silent films to be shown almost any venue. 

bottom of page