Silent Film and Live Score at Schwartz Center

August 23, 2017

Award-winning composer and founding member of the Klezmatics Alicia Svigals performs her original score alongside the 1918 silent film “The Yellow Ticket,” September 7 at 8 p.m. in the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts.

Starring Pola Negri and created as anti-Soviet propaganda at the end of WWI, this rarely-seen German silent film follows a young Jewish woman who is compelled by anti-Semitic restrictions to lead a double life in a St. Petersburg brothel while attempting to study medicine and save her father’s life.

The film screening will be accompanied live by an original score from klezmer fiddler Alicia Svigals. Svigals is the recipient of the Foundation for Jewish Culture’s 2013 New Jewish Music Network commission for her score, and is joined in performance by pianist Marilyn Lerner and clarinetist Laura DeLuca.

“I believe this accompaniment to “The Yellow Ticket” is one of the most powerful I have heard. It evokes not only a sense of the contemporary context of the culture in which the film took place, but our awareness of what was done to it afterwards. [The score] evokes passion, energy, and a profound sense of mourning, bridging the historical distance between us and this film as eloquently as does Pola Negri’s extraordinary face,” praises Tom Gunning, Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago.

Svigals is the world’s leading klezmer fiddler, a founder of the Grammy-winning Klezmatics, which she co-directed for seventeen years, and a composer who was selected to be a 2014 MacDowell Fellow. She has collaborated with and composed for violinist Itzhak Perlman; the Kronos Quartet; playwrights Tony Kushner and Eve Ensler; the late poet Allen Ginsberg, and many others. 

This program is made possible by the support of the Donna and Marvin Schwartz Foundation Artist in Residence Program and is co-sponsored by Emory College’s Film and Media Studies Department and the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.

Tickets are $15 ($12 discount categories) and available from the Arts at Emory Box Office in person, by phone at 404.727.5050, or online at The performance takes place in the Emerson Concert Hall of the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts on Thursday September 7 at 8 p.m.