They know the score: Wordless orchestra plays movie soundtracks

Soundtrack them down: The Wordless Music Orchestra will return to Brooklyn’s Backyard on Aug. 4 and Aug. 12 to provide live music for two recent films.
Brooklyn Paper
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A movie night? Sounds good!

A 40-piece orchestra known for blending classical and electronic music will provide a live soundtrack to two recent films screening at Prospect Park’s Bandshell next month as part of the Bric Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival. The musically enhanced versions of boxing flick “Creed,” on Aug. 4, and civil rights movie “Selma,” on Aug. 10, will give film buffs a chance to appreciate the full impact of the features, according to the head of the ensemble.

“Usually these films are only done once, but to have an orchestra playing the music live is kind of a different way to see the film,” said Carroll Gardens resident Ronen Givony, who founded Wordless Music Orchestra.

Before the screening, each film has its score stripped from the reel. The ensemble takes the sheet music for the score, usually rehearses the arrangement once, and then performs it live from the orchestra pit below the screen for the big night. Each evening will mark the first time the film has been shown with a live soundtrack, Givony said.

The composer of “Creed’s” score, Ludwig Goransson, will conduct the Orchestra during the film’s screening on Aug. 4, and the composer for “Selma,” celebrated pianist Jason Moran, will join the group during its Aug. 10 event. Having the minds behind the music join the festivities makes playing along to the movies even more special, Givony said.

“It’s a lot of fun to play with the people who wrote the music to start with,” he said.

These appearances will not be Wordless Music Orchestra’s first time in Prospect Park — the group played the soundtrack for 2012 film “Beasts of the Southern Wild” in 2013. The outfit also plays non-film–related gigs, including an upcoming show with John Cale, from experimental rock group Velvet Underground, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in November.

But for now, Divony is focusing on the Prospect Park shows, and said he is thrilled that his band can make music for two movies that will make people think.

“We feel like we brought two timely and important films with a lot to say,” he said. “It’s just going to be a lot of fun to get up there and entertain people.”

Wordless Music Orchestra at Prospect Park Bandshell (enter at Prospect Park West and 11th Street in Park Slope, “Creed” on Aug. 4 and “Selma” on Aug. 10 at 7:30 pm. $5 suggested donation.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 5:56 pm, July 9, 2018
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