Gilmore Keyboard Festival

Festival Film Series

The Gilmore Keyboard Festival Film Series is presented in the Mary Jane Stryker Theater at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum at noon, April 30 through May 4.

Films presented in this series are carefully selected by Festival staff to enrich the Festival patron experience and, in some cases, illuminate lesser-known figures in the world of keyboard music. Admission is free, and all seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Monday, April 30

Zuzana: Music is Life

This documentary feature film is the triumphant story told by Zuzana Ruzickova, and how she became a world-famous harpsichordist and interpreter of Bach under the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia after surviving three concentration camps during her teenage years.

Zuzana Ruzickova’s story is remarkable not just because she returned to Czechoslovakia after the war to fulfill her childhood dream of a career in music, but also in how she navigated Communist and anti-Semitic persecution at home, while becoming a tour de force in concerts and competitions around the world.

After the fall of Communism in 1989, Zuzana and her husband, Czech composer Viktor Kalabis, worked tirelessly to bring music education to people throughout the Czech Republic.

Directed by Harriet Getzels, Peter Getzels
Length: 83 minutes


Tuesday, May 1

Keep On Keepin’ On

This documentary depicts the remarkable story from the end of the life of 93-year-old jazz legend Clark Terry, a living monument to the golden era of jazz, having played in both the Duke Ellington and Count Basie bands.

He broke racial barriers on American television and mentored the likes of Miles Davis and Quincy Jones; but his most unlikely friendship is with Justin Kauflin, a 23-year-old blind piano prodigy who is appearing at this year’s Gilmore Festival.

Directed by Alan Hicks
Length: 84 minutes
RATED R (for language)


Wednesday, May 2

The Gilmore 2004: In the Key of G

In the Key of G is the 2004 documentary hosted by Fred Child from NPR’s Performance Today, where viewers get a behind-the-scenes look at the Festival… the rehearsals, backstage nerves, shenanigans, and final performances. In the Key of G captures the personalities, artistry, the drama of the biennial Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and includes the rehearsals and performance of Liszt’s Hexaméron, the extravagant and rarely performed piece for SIX pianos and orchestra!

Directed by Peter Rosen
Length: 57 minutes


Thursday, May 3

Abbey Lincoln: You Gotta Pay the Band

This special documentary showcases the life and music of jazz vocalist Abbey Lincoln, who grew up in Kalamazoo and graduated from high school here before going on to a spectacular career as a movie actress, a civil rights activist and, especially, as an eminent jazz artist.

The film interweaves shots from a special performance and recording sessions with interviews of Lincoln, her relatives, friends, and colleagues.

Directed by Gene A. Davis
Length: 58 minutes


Friday, May 4 – Double Feature

Warsaw Is My Name

Warsaw Is My Name is a new 36-minute film that unfolds with images of Warsaw and a spare narrative. Conceived and directed by 2002 Gilmore Artist Piotr Anderszewski, who has been haunted by growing up in a city that had, he said, “ceased existing” not long before his childhood. The horrors inflicted on the Jewish ghetto under Nazi rule caused the almost total annihilation of the city in 1944.

For the accompanying score, Anderszewski chose to perform several works by Chopin, Szymanowski, and Webern to illustrate the complex emotional landscape of his psyche.

Directed by Piotr Anderszewski
Length: 36 minutes

Omnibus – Leonard Bernstein and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5

The Golden Age of Television’s most distinguished production – the Omnibus series – brought sophistication, refinement, and sparkling intelligence to a national audience. Leonard Bernstein, whose Omnibus appearances rank among the series’ highlights, made his television debut with this program – a down-to-earth analysis of the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony – in 1954.

This fascinating archival presentation of Bernstein’s early educational effort that presages his New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concerts is part of the Gilmore Festival’s commemoration of Leonard Bernstein, who was born 100 years ago.

Directed by Andrew McCullogh
Length: 33 minutes

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Saturday, April 21

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