SBS Youth Orchestra to score New Babylon

[Release by tsuki]

On Sunday 9th November at Sydney’s iconic City Recital Hall Angel Place, the Russian Resurrection Film Festival proudly presented by BHP Billiton, will host a special one-time-only screening of the ultimate masterpiece of Soviet expressionist silent cinema, New Babylon (1929), directed by the internationally award winning duo of Gregoriy Kozintsev and Leonid Trauberg. For this special screening, the SBS Youth Orchestra, under the direction of Russian-born Chief Conductor Matthew Krel, will perform the original Dmitri Shostakovich score live for an exceptional presentation exploring the peak of Russian artistic expression.

Since its premiere performance in Moscow in 1929, New Babylon has only been accompanied by a live orchestra 5 times. Russian Resurrection is extremely delighted to present the inaugural live performance screening in Australia, an experience not to be missed! The screening will be a truly unique opportunity to see and hear the film as it was originally envisioned, promising to deliver both historical significance and lively pleasure.

New Babylon was not only Shostakovich’s first attempt at a full-score, but his only full-length live accompaniment to a silent movie. Written for a small pit orchestra, the early performances of the film with Shostakovich’s wild and satirical score caused a huge political uproar. Today, New Babylon is recognised as a pioneering and brilliantly original piece of work, particularly in tune with the witty and satirical relationship the music develops with the images on screen.

This ground-breaking film is an experimental and politically-inspired melodrama about violence, revolution and class-conflict between the Paris workers and the bourgeoisie during the Commune of 1871. The film’s heroine Louise works as a clerk in a luxury store in Paris – the New Babylon of the film’s title. Forced by the circumstances of her position to cater to the whims of the rich, her sympathies lie with the working-class patriots, and as she becomes increasingly politicised she joins the Communards, sacrificing herself in pursuit of her principals and ‘The Cause’. New Babylon is a powerful reminder of the incredible explosion of artistic energy in 1920s Russia – an explosion which reverberates even today. Kozintsev, Trauberg and Shostakovich all truly believed that film could and would change the world.

The Shostakovich score is an entirely characteristic work of his early period, and shows the beginnings of his transition into the darker, more intense music of his maturity. Under the baton of Artistic Director and Founding Conductor Matthew Krel, the SBS Youth Orchestra will present this unique score, filled with references to 19th century French music, and given the intensely dynamic Shostakovich touch.

Sydney Premiere Performance
Date: Sunday 9th November
Time: 4:00pm – 6.00pm
Venue: City Recital Hall Angel Place
Location: 2 Angel Place
Sydney NSW

Location: City Recital Hall Angel Place
Box Office
2-12 Angel Place
Sydney NSW 2001
Price: $35
Phone: 02 8256 2222

The SBS Radio & Television Youth Orchestra was formed in 1988 by Russian-born conductor Matthew Krel with the help of the Special Broadcasting Service in Sydney. One of its unique aims is to give young musicians experience in performing for national broadcast on television and radio. Its members are aged 12-24, and travel from as far afield as Wollongong and Newcastle to the SBS Radio and Television studios every Friday night to rehearse. The Orchestra reflects the best principles of multiculturalism, from the composers it plays, the countries it tours, and in the culturally diverse backgrounds of its young players.

Since its formation the Orchestra has given the Australian premieres of the newly discovered Liszt Piano Concerto No.3 with pianist Roman Rudnytsky, Respighi’s "Belkis, Queen of Sheba", and Charles Lennon’s "The Famine Suite", involving collaborations with traditional musicians from Ireland – to name but a few. It has also commissioned new Australian works exploring the crossover between classical and jazz music: Julian Lee’s "Don Burrows Suite" (1991) and Judy Bailey’s "Four Reasons" (2000), which were premiered by Don Burrows and James Morrison respectively, and have since been released on CD. The SBS Radio and Television Youth Orchestra was a participant in the Olympic Cultural Festival leading up to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games – "A Sea Change", "Reaching the World" and "Harbour of Life".

For more information about the SBS Youth Orchestra, please visit