Berkeley, California boasts a repository of uniquely talented musicians some of whom have a wide array of interests and activities that elevate them to renaissance status. Bruce Loeb is one of those exceptionally diversified, high achievers with a C.V. to substantiate. His vast list of identities includes silent film accompanist, vocal coach, piano teacher, composer, and recitalist.
To my delight, within a matter of minutes of having phoned him, he amiably squeezed me into his crowded schedule of Bach Invention and Fugue transpositions, piano practicing, private teaching, journal writing, avid reading, concert and movie-going. The last endeavor requires his immersion in silent era movies as preparation for his appearances at the Nile Film Museum in Fremont, California. As accompanist he devises a “schema” for well-known favorites starring Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Douglas Fairbanks and a host of silent era luminaries. He’ll also accompany comedy shorts featuring Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, Charley Chase, et al.
A DVD (Her Night of Romance) with a printed acknowledgment of Bruce Loeb having “composed and performed the music,” gives testimony to his expertise in a creative realm that may be of niche market interest, but nonetheless underscores Loeb’s originality and enterprise.
Once I was led into Loeb’s sprawling creative universe by way of a Baroque era collaboration between us at the Knabe grand, he became instantly embedded in his art, sharing hands on knowledge with precise verbal articulations and demonstrative keyboard samples.
Here’s a sprinkling of Bruce Loeb’s musical sources for his silent film “schemas.”
Bruce Loeb is seen playing at a Silent Film event: Musica Marin–Belvedere, CA
Featured movie: The Docks of New York (1928)
Niles Film Museum
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