A three-man ensemble from Boston which composes and performs original live scores for silent films. Their raucous scores employ a wide array of weird musical instruments (saw, truck springs, sheet metal, bedpan, etc -- "junk percussion", all displayed in a big rack onstage) along with more conventional ones (banjo, clarinet, synthesizer). They're fantastic; you've haven't seen a silent movie until you've seen it with these guys playing along. Their music brings the films to life, and the audience gets the added treat of watching the musicians, as they crash, bang, toot, twiddle and skweetch in perfect synchronization with the timing of events on screen -- no small feat. Go see them.

They are:
Terry Donahue - percussion, accordion and vocals
Ken Winokur - percussion, clarinet
Roger C. Miller - synthesizer
Caleb Sampson (synthesizer) died in 1998, and Miller joined the group shortly thereafter.

They tour fairly extensively within America, slightly less so internationally, so you probably have a reasonable chance of getting to see them live. You've probably already heard something of theirs, because according to their website, "in addition to their work with silents, the Orchestra has contributed soundtracks to commercial videos for IBM, UPS, The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the National Park Service and other projects." They provided tunes for Errol Morris's films Fast, Cheap and Out of Control and Mr. Death: the Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter Jr. They scored director Jane Gillooly's short film Dragonflies, the Baby Cries (2000), which Winokur produced. Their music has also been used on NPR as segue music.

An incomplete list of silent films they've scored:

So far there are three CDs of their scores:

These CDs, as well as tour dates, and VHS tapes and DVDs of a few movies with Alloy scores, are available at their website, www.alloyorchestra.com.

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