University News

Silent Film Accompanist to Visit Western Tuesday

September 21, 2013

Share |
Printer friendly version

MACOMB, IL - The classic era of silent films lives again when internationally-acclaimed pianist and composer David Drazin visits Western Illinois University Tuesday, Sept. 24.

Drazin will provide live musical accompaniment for Harold Lloyd's classic 1923 silent comedy "Safety Last." The screening will be held at 7 p.m. in the University Union's Sandburg Theatre. The event is open free to the public.

Drazin is a music and motion picture archivist who has earned a national and international reputation for his piano improvisations accompanying silent films. Silent movie screenings for which he has performed include the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute in Chicago (staff accompanist since 1985), Pordenone Silent Film Festival, Italy (guest pianist 2003 and 2004), Silent Film Society of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, LaSalle Bank Theatre, North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Drazin's performances combine the excitement of a concert with the entertainment of a classic film screening. In describing Drazin's performances at one film festival, noted film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum said "The accompaniments of David Drazin alone are worth the price of admission," and author Arnie Bernstein said, "If you've never heard/seen David Drazin accompany a silent film, then you're in for a real treat."

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Drazin received his Bachelor of Music in jazz studies from Ohio State University. An accomplished performer, he moves easily from dramatic classical to lively jazz styles, boogie-woogie and blues, original novelty works and Harlem stride piano. In addition to his film work Drazin accompanies ballet and modern dance classes for several major groups in the Chicago area.

"Safety Last" is regarded as one of the greatest comedy films ever made. Its scene of hero Harold Lloyd suspended from a giant clock high above a crowded city street is one of the iconic images of film history and Lloyd's stunt work has never been equaled.

The performance will be introduced by film and media Instructor Richard Ness, of the WIU Department of Broadcasting. A reception will be held in the Sandburg Lounge following the performance.

This event is co-sponsored by the WIU Department of Broadcasting, the WIU Department of English and Journalism, the Visiting Lecture Committee and the Council on Student Activities Funds. For more information call (309) 298-2888.

Posted By: University Communications (
Office of University Communications & Marketing