Le pianiste accompagnateur de films muets
The Silent Film Pianist
(21 x 16 cm / 60 pages / black&white and color illustrations)
Fernand Schirren (1920-2001) accompanied screenings of silent films right from the creation of the Film Museum in 1962. This manuscript, published here for the first time, helps us understand how he became a master in the art of improvisation.
Born in Nice in 1920, Fernand Schirren was the son of the painter Ferdinand Schirren. A pupil of Marcel Maas, this brilliant pianist soon gave up the piano to devote himself to research into rhythm. With the help of magnetic tape and percussion he composed the soundtrack to several films. Working as a musician for Maurice Béjart from the moment he arrived in Brussels, he appeared on stage alongside the dancers in his ballets, including Les Quatre fils Aymon. A teacher of rhythm at Mudra from 1970 to 1988, he influenced a whole generation of choreographers, among them Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, who was later to hire him at P.A.R.T.S. He also taught for fifteen years at Studio Herman Teirlinck. From 1962 until the end of his life, he accompanied silent films on the piano at the Filmmuseum, nowadays CINEMATEK. He is internationally recognised as one of the great specialists in this art.