William Perry's new suite for Ophicleide and Orch.

This past summer I got to spend a delightful chat over coffee with William Perry. When I started playing for silents back in 1981 while at NYU film school, Bill was the first person I sought out for advice. I'd been hearing his scores on the PBS series "The Silent Years", produced by Killiam Shows, for years and had attended several silents at MoMA once I came to NYC for college. I've stayed in touch with him over the years, mainly by email, but we found ourselves with a mutual window of time this past August.

For those of you who only know Bill from his silent film accompaniments on piano, you should know that one of the things he's been up to over the last several years is creating new orchestral works based on his themes for movies in "The Silent Years". A CD of this music, Music for Great Films of the Silent Era was released in 2011, and there's a second one due out next year I believe. If you remember his themes from the piano scores, you'll love the CD of his orchestral arrangements.

Bill has created a new Suite for Ophicleide and Orchestra that was recorded this year for release on CD. It premiered this past October, and if you want to hear it (and see what the heck an ophicleide is), "Brass From the Past" has been posted on YouTube, from the premiere performance at Brown University.

Here it is. Enjoy!



William Perry said…
Hi Ben,

Thanks so much for posting the photo.It was great fun seeing you. You're quite right that a new CD is coming out in April of 2015. The Ophicleide Concerto is one of the featured works, as is a Song-Suite for Mezzo Soprano and Orchestra called Silent Film Heroines, celebrating eight of the major actresses of the silent era. The singer is Wallis Giunta, a young Canadian now with the Metropolitan Opera. She is super.You can hear some of our recording at


The excerpt contains music from my score for Griffith's Hearts of the World as well as the closing pages from the song saluting Janet Gaynor in Seventh Heaven.

Talk to you soon!

Bill Perry