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Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra

“The results are often breathtakingly beautiful and always in the strict service of the film on the screen.” — Dave Kehr, The New York Times.

The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra celebrates its thirtieth year of scoring silent films in 2024. Formed originally as a small dance orchestra, in 1994 Mont Alto used the Al Layton Collection of photoplay music to compile a score for Beau Geste (1926). Using the repertoire and techniques of the original silent film orchestras, Mont Alto quickly became the world’s foremost historically-based silent film ensemble.  

Mont Alto has scored over 140 films, recording over 40 film scores for releases on home video, and their music is often heard on Turner Classic Movies. The Mont Alto Orchestra appears regularly at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, the Telluride Film Festival, the TCM Classic Film Festival, the Denver Silent Film Festival, the Chautauqua Auditorium film series, and the Kansas Silent Film Festival. 

Mont Alto has toured the country accompanying films, from New York City’s Lincoln Center to Grauman’s Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. Their most recent release is Entreaty, a CD of silent film compositions for romantic scenes. 

In 2023, pianist and director Rodney Sauer was given the David Shepard Career Achievement Award by the Denver Silent Film Festival. He recently curated a “Photoplay Music Starter Kit” along with an eight-video series for musicians interested in this repertoire of music, which can be found at their website, 

The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra features Britt Swenson, violin; David Short, cello; Deborah Marshall, clarinet; Bruce Barrie, cornet; and Rodney Sauer, pianist and score compiler. 

Sunday, April 21
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Special Presentations
Egyptian Theatre