Timothy Brock

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Timothy Brock in his Bologna studio

Timothy Brock (born 1963) is an American-born conductor and composer specializing in concert works of the early 20th-century, orchestral performance practices of the 1920s and 1930s, and live performances to accompany silent film.

Silent film scores[edit]

Brock has restored silent film scores for various films including Dmitri Shostakovich's only silent film score, The New Babylon (Новый Вавилон) (1929),[1] Manilo Mazza's Italian epic, Cabiria (1913),[2] Erik Satie's dadaist score, Entr'acte (1924)[3] and George Antheil's score to Ballet mécanique (1924).[3] Other film-score restorations include Max Butting's Opus I (1920), Camille Saint-Saëns' L'Assassinat du duc de Guise (1908) and Ildebrando Pizzetti's Sinfonia del fuoco (1914).

Charlie Chaplin scores[edit]

In 1998, the Charlie Chaplin estate commissioned Brock to restore the Chaplin-composed score to Modern Times.[4] Brock then restored 11 more Chaplin silent feature and short scores through 2012, including City Lights (1931),[5] The Gold Rush (1924),[6] and The Circus (1928).[7] In 2004, Brock transcribed some 13 hours of unheard Chaplin compositions from a newly discovered acetate recording of Chaplin composing on the piano. This resulted in the creation of a new score for Chaplin's feature drama A Woman of Paris (1923),[8] a work that Brock has conducted in concert a number of times, including at Cinema Ritrovato 2005 in Bologna, the Kino Babylon in Berlin in 2011, as well as a studio recording made with Orchestra Citta Aperta in Rome and London, with whom he has also conducted a complete recording of The Gold Rush in 2012.

Original scores[edit]

Brock has written 27 original scores for silent film, including Miss Europe (Orchestre National de Lyon),[9] Steamboat Bill, Jr. (Berner Symphonie-Orchester),[10] Sunrise (20th Century Fox), The Cameraman (Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra),[11] Burlesque on Carmen (Teatro Zarzuela, Madrid)[12] and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Brussels Philharmonic/BMG).[13] Brock's long-standing relationship with the world-leading film-preservation institution, the Cineteca di Bologna, has resulted in 7 scores. Among them are Nosferatu (1922),[14] Lady Windermere's Fan (1925),[15] 3 Bad Men (1926)[16] and Feu Mathias Pascal (1926).[17]

Concert works[edit]

Brock's concert works include three symphonies, three concertos, a cantata, two operas, and a number of individual orchestral pieces. In 1995 he received a composer fellowship from the Artist Trust Foundation, during which he composed his first opera Billy (1995, libretto by Bryan Willis), the Divertimento: Five Picture-Postcards for Orchestra, and his second opera, Mudhoney (1998, adaptation of the original Friday Locke screenplay by the composer and Bryan Willis). In 1999, he was commissioned to compose an orchestral song cycle for soprano Cyndia Sieden: The Funeral of Youth, four orchestral settings to four poems of the English poet Rupert Brooke.


  1. ^ Lees, Heath, "Auckland Philharmonia at the Film Festival, New Zealand Herald, July 17, 2001
  2. ^ Cavalla, Daniele, Novaria, Guido, “Pastrone sul Podio per I cent'anni della sua Cabiria”, La Stampa, July 17, 2014, page 65
  3. ^ a b Mereghetti, Paolo, “I film rari e restaurati che seducono la piazza”, La Repubblica, June 6, 2008
  4. ^ King, Susan, "Modern Times to Screen with Live Music", Los Angeles Times June 9, 2000, p. 16.
  5. ^ Francesca Parisini, “Luce (e suoni) della Città capolavoro da rivedere ma soprattutto ascoltare”, La Repubblica, July 6, 2004
  6. ^ Downey, Charles T., “BSO scores with Gold Rush score”, Washington Post, April 17, 2011
  7. ^ King, Susan, “The sounds of silents live on”, Los Angeles Times, May 29, 2005
  8. ^ Torresin, Brunella, “Nella Ville Lumière senza Charlot”, La Repubblica, July 7, 2005
  9. ^ Péron, Didier, “Cycle muet. Louise Brooks en symphonie” Libération, January 11, 2012
  10. ^ Allenbach, Thomas, “Wenn der Musik Aufspielt”, Berner Zeitung, September 16, 2010
  11. ^ King, Susan, “Timothy Brock keeps the score in frame for The Cameraman”, Los Angeles Times, May 22, 2010
  12. ^ Marinero, Ismael, “Chaplin en la Zarzuela”, El Mundo, December 26, 2012
  13. ^ Rosiers, An, “Brussels Philharmonic begeleidt expressionistische filmparel in De Bijloke”, Het Nieuwsblad, September 12, 2014
  14. ^ Torresin, Brunella, “Nosferatu e Viaggio nella luna torna il cinema sotto le stelle”, La Repubblica, June 25, 2011
  15. ^ Affronte, Chiara, “Bologna, appuntamento con NovecentoStasera la proiezione in piazza Maggiore del capolavoro restaurato dalla Cineteca”, l'Unità, July 1, 2006
  16. ^ Giampaoli, Emanuela, “Cinema Ritrovato”, La Repubblica, June 23, 2010
  17. ^ Kehr, Dave, “New Identity, Same Old History” New York Times, February 15, 2013
  • Bloom, David. "Org orchestrates silent fete for Chaplin" Variety June 9–15, 2003, p. 59.
  • King, Susan. "The score? Live music and lots of belly laughs" Los Angeles Times May 28, 2007, p. E8.
  • Maland, Charles J. City Lights (London: British Film Institute, 2007), p. 128.
  • Simels, Steve. "The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari" Entertainment Weekly no. 329 (May 31, 1996) p. 69.
  • Tommasini, Anthony. "The Tramp Returns, with Exuberant backing by the Philharmonic" New York Times" Sept. 21, 2014

External links[edit]