LIVE MUSIC AND FILM PROJECTS
Gary Lucas scores the Spanish-language "Dracula" (1931, d. George Melford) at the 2010 NY Film Festival, Walter Reade Theatre
GARY LUCAS has a long history of scoring and accompanying film live—both silent and sound. A pioneer of the genre who has performed his scores at film festivals and theatres all over the world, Gary began in 1989 with his original live score for the 1920 silent expressionist film "The Golem" which he premiered at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria. He continues composing new solo guitar soundtracks to this day, with live scores for many fantasy and horror films, including Carl Dreyer's 1932 "Vampyr"...James Whale's 1931 "Frankenstein"...the legendary 1931 Spanish "Dracula"...cult Brazilian director Jose Mojica Marins a/k/a Coffin Joe's 1966 horror masterpiece "This Night I Will Possess Your Corpse"...and for Luis Buñuel's 1962 surrealist classic "El Angel Exterminador". He recently premiered new live scores accompanying Orson Welles' re-discovered 1938 silent surrealist comedy "Too Much Johnson", as well as scores for the short experimental films of Hollywood maverick Curtis Harrington. A list of prestigious festivals and venues Lucas has performed at include la Cinematheque francaise in Paris, the Venice Biennale, Cineteca Nacional in Mexico City, the New York Film Festival, the Havana Film Festival with 3 live film score premieres, the Jecheon International Film and Music Festival in South Korea, the Jerusalem Film Festival, the LatinBeat Festival Lincoln Center, the Lodz Cinergia Festival, the Sevilla Film Festival, Queen Elizabeth Hall in London for the London Jazz Festival (4 stars), the Roxy Theatre in Prague, the Silent Movie Theatre in Hollywood, Fundación Botin in Santander, Dom Kino in St. Petersburg and Kinoteatr 35mm in Moscow, the Sydney and Melbourne Jewish Film Festivals, the Kustendorf Film Festival in Serbia, the Stadsschouwburg in Amsterdam, the Beursschouwburg in Brussels, the Transylvania International Film Festival in Cluj Romania, the AFI Silver Theatre, the James River Film Festival in Richmond, Petofi Hall in Budapest, and many others.
Gary Lucas also sold-out the Henri Langlois Theatre in La Cinematheque francaise in Paris with his live score accompanying Tod Browning's 1925 silent thriller "Le Club des Trois" (The Unholy Three) on Feb. 16th 2018.
From Frederic Bonnaud, directeur general de La Cinematheque francaise:
"Gary Lucas' affection for the fantastic cinema of the silent age is well known. His splendid performance for solo guitar on 'The Unholy Three' at the Cinematheque francaise reflects his deep empathy for the twisted characters and the disorderly, sniggering world summoned on the screen by Tod Browning. Intense and inspiring from the first image to the last, Gary's performance seemed to be seeking to give breath to those bodies from a long-dead past, and bring them back into motion and life."
Review of Gary Lucas' performance at the opening ceremonies of director Emir Kusturica's 11th Kustendorf Film Festival 1/16/18:
"The 11th Kustendorf Film & Music Festival held in the snowy mountains of western Serbia couldn't have gotten off to a better opening night start in January 2018 than with Gary Lucas on guitar captivating an enthusiastic audience of filmmakers from around the world along with locals who danced with joy and appreciation to Lucas' blend of everything from blues and jazz and beyond!"
—Andrew Horton, film critic for Cineaste magazine & The University of Oklahoma Professor of Film & Media Studies
"The startling fecundity of Gary Lucas' musical imagination would probably suffice to make him an able creator of film scores. But Gary has more than that. He has an impeccable understanding of, and sensitivity to, cinema itself. Not to mention deep knowledge and unflagging enthusiasm. To see and hear him play, to be in the room as he weaves his string magic while the variegated lights and shadows of whatever movie he’s accompanying dance on the screen, is an essential experience."
—Glenn Kenny, Film and music critic with work at RogerEbert.com, The New York Times, Current and others
From Jiao Xiang, the head of the Chinese film archive in Beijing who restored "The Goddess" which Gary played at the Transylvania International Film Festival recently:
"Thank you very much Mr. Gary Lucas for playing your live solo guitar soundtrack for "The Goddess" at TIFF. This film is about a tragedy in early Shanghai, China. Gary Lucas uses his guitar plus his understanding of the film to show the essence of the film vividly. At the climax of the film, his guitar score drives the audience to tears. This is the best time I've seen famous diva actress Ruan Lingyu's show-stopping scene driven by music outside of China. Lucas' score promotes the integration of Eastern and Western cultures, so that European audiences can better understand the film."
—Jiao Xiang, China Film Archive, Beijing 2019.6.18
Check out Gary performing his original live solo scores on the opening night of the 11th Kustendorf Film & Music Festival in Serbia.
Listen to an NPR feature on Gary Lucas' live film scoring.
Gary also performs a stand-alone solo concert of famous movie themes from the films of Fellini, Werner Herzog, Jacques Tati, Bela Tarr, Roman Polanski and other great directors entitled "Gary Lucas' CINEFANTASTIQUE". This can be booked as a separate concert event or in tandem with one of Gary's live film scores.
Gary Lucas Plays "Vampyr"On Nov. 1st 2014, Gary Lucas performed the world premiere of his new live solo guitar score accompanying Danish director Carl Theodore Dreyer's 1932 masterpiece of the macabre "VAMPYR" at the American Film Institute Silver Theater in Silver Spring Maryland.
World Premiere Nov. 1st 2014 at the AFI Silver Theatre, Silver Spring MD—commissioned by AFI chief programmer Todd Hitchcock
Gary Lucas Plays "The Goddess"World premiere Jan. 2014 at Fundacion Botin in Santander Spain—part of the "Golden Age of Chinese Cinema" series curated by Film Society of Lincoln Center Director Emeritus Richard Pena.
Gary Lucas Plays Spanish "Dracula"World premiere Dec. 2009 at the Havana Film Festival and Gary's most popular music and film project to date, performed at the 2010 New York Film Festival, Royal Festival Hall London, Sevilla Film Festival, Transylvania Film Fest et al.—received 4 stars in The Guardian for Nov. 2010 London Jazz Festival performance...performed in Bilbao Spain's Musiketan Festival Jan. 2012, and Nov. 2011 in Lodz Poland's Festival Cinergia where it won the Golden Boot Award
Gary Lucas Plays Jose Mojica Marins (a/k/a Coffin Joe)'s "Esta Noite Encarnerei no teu Cadaver (This Night I Will Possess Your Corpse)"World premiere at the Havana Film Festival Dec. 2010, US premiere at the Latinbeat Festival at Lincoln Center Aug. 2011, and performed two shows with this at SXSW in Texas in March 2012
Gary Lucas Plays Luis Bunuel's "El Angel Exterminador"World premiere in Dec. 2011 at the 33rd Havana Film Festival
Gary Lucas Plays "The Golem"Performed in over 20 countries to date since 1989 world premiere at the Museum of the Moving Image, a collaboration with Walter Horn
Gary Lucas Plays "The Unholy Three"The great Lon Chaney/Tod Browning silent thriller, world premiere at the Walter Reade Theater Lincoln Center, commissioned by the Film Society of Lincoln Center
Gary Lucas Plays "Sounds of the Surreal"3 short French silent surrealist films by Rene Clair, Fernand Leger and Ladislaw Starewicz, world premiere at Lincoln Center, commissioned by the Film Society of Lincoln Center
Gary Lucas Plays "Monsters from the Id"Live improvised scores to Gary's favorite horror, science fiction and beyond sound film clips. World premiere of an expanded "Monsters of the Id (Rated X)" in Kromeriz, Czech Republic Nov. 2011 includes clips from "2001", "Enter the Void", "Freaks", "Possession", Roy Stuart hardcore footage and more
Gary Lucas Plays "Frankenstein"On Oct. 31st 2014—and it being Halloween, what an appropriate Night for this—Gary Lucas performed at the United Palace Theatre in Harlem NYC (175th St. and Broadway) the world premiere of his new live solo guitar score accompanying the classic 1931 James Whale-directed "Frankenstein"
Gary Lucas Plays "Too Much Johnson"In January 2017 at Roulette Intermedium in Brooklyn, Gary Lucas performed the world premiere of his live solo guitar score accompanying the recently re-discovered 1938 silent surrealist comedy "Too Much Johnson" by legendary cinema magician Orson Welles
Gary Lucas Plays His Original Live Scores to the SHORT FILMS OF CURTIS HARRINGTONOn Feb. 3rd 2018 at Roulette Intermedium in Brooklyn, Gary Lucas performed the world premiere of his live solo guitar score accompanying the short films of Curtis Harrington.
Gary Lucas Plays His Original Live Score to The Wedding MarchOn March 1st 2019, Gary Lucas performed the world premiere of his new live solo score for Erich Von Stroheim's sardonic silent 1928 masterpiece "The Wedding March" at La Cinematheque francaise in Paris.