Silent Film Musicians 2019

David Allison

Rob Roy

David has created several successful live soundtracks for silent films, including The Last of the Mohicans (HippFest 2018) and the 1922 horror classic Nosferatu (HippFest 2011); The Island Tapes and The St Kilda Tapes which toured internationally and sold out at festivals such as Celtic Connections. David has also produced three solo studio albums: Reporting, Guitar Gi-tar and Acoustic Movies.

Jonny Best

Moulin Rouge, Platform Reels

Jonny studied piano at Chetham’s School of Music and drama at University of London - and this combination of music and dramatic storytelling has run through his career ever since. He's worked in musical theatre, opera and arts festivals for twenty years and is now a busy freelance film pianist. He researches silent film accompaniment, leads improvisation studies at University of Huddersfield, and directs Yorkshire Silent Film Festival.

Stephen Horne

Peace on the Western Front, Au Bonheur des Dames, Hindle Wakes

Stephen first started accompanying silent films at BFI Southbank over 25 years ago. He has recorded music for several DVD releases and regularly plays at major international festivals. Although principally a pianist, he often incorporates flute, accordion and keyboards into his performances, sometimes simultaneously. He won 'best screening with a single accompanist' for the fifth year in a row at the 2019 Silent London poll.

John Sweeney

The Freshman, The Red Heroine, The Parson's Widow

Since 1990 John has played for silent film at festivals and venues including the British Silent Cinema Festival, and the Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone, Italy. Recently he composed a score for Lois Weber’s Dumb Girl of Portici (Milestone DVD), The Great Victorian Picture Show at the London Film Festival (2018), and has recorded DVDs for the BFI, Cineteca Bologna and Edition Filmmuseum. John is one of the founders of the Kennington Bioscope which screens neglected silent films at the Cinema Museum in London.

Frank Bockius

Forbidden Paradise, Au Bonheur des Dames, The Red Heroine, The Cat and the Canary, Moulin Rouge

Frank is a versatile percussionist. He is versed in medieval, jazz and Latin music styles and performs for dance, theatre and his own bands. Twenty years ago Günter Buchwald asked Frank to join his silent movie music company and since then they have worked together in Kyoto, Pordenone and San Francisco. Frank regularly collaborates with many of the world's finest silent film musicians.

Mike Nolan

Hound of the Baskervilles, Holmes of the Movies Cuppa Talk, Young Falkirk Filmmakers plus shorts

Mike works across Scotland as a composer, conductor and performer and is a regular at HippFest. He has accompanied silent film screenings for over 20 years including several commercial releases and live performances for the NLS Moving Image Archive. Mike is also a music therapist and a choral conductor.

Günter A. Buchwald

The Cat and the Canary, Moulin Rouge

Conductor, composer, pianist, and violinist Günter A. Buchwald has accompanied silent films for more than forty years with a repertoire of about three thousand four hundred titles and has conducted orchestras worldwide. He is founder of the Silent Movie Music Company and is musical director of Bristol’s Slapstick Silent Film Festival.

Marit Fält and Rona Wilkie


Marit and Rona explore the similarities between Scandinavian and Scottish Highland tunes – colouring them with songs from both traditions. Their music is playful, borderless and thrilling, gliding from evocative near-classical movements, through elegant polskas to buoyant reels. In 2012 they won the coveted Danny Kyle Award and Rona was named BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year.

Jane Gardner Ensemble

Forbidden Paradise, Laurel and Hardy Triple Bill

An acclaimed composer and pianist, Jane Gardner has delighted many a silent cinema audience with her original and sympathetic accompaniments. She has performed at HippFest since 2012 with Hazel Morrison (percussion) and Roddy Long (violin) and others for films including 'Seven Footprints to Satan', The Grub Stake', 'Laurel and Hardy' and Jeely Jar comedy screenings. For 2019 Jane will be joined by Roddy Long and Frank Bockius for 'Forbidden Paradise'.

Steven Gellatly


Composer and silent film pianist, Steven has performed across Europe, from Sweden to London. He appears regularly in Scotland and this will be his second appearance at HippFest. He has composed and performed live scores for films such as 'Foolish Wives', 'The Lodger', 'Son of the Sheik', 'Daddy Long Legs', 'The Magician' and various short films and documentaries. He is a regular at the Skye festival and film departments at the Universities of Dundee and St Andrews.

Lillian Henley

The Blot

Performer and composer Lillian Henley works internationally with the award-winning Theatre Company '1927', and is a regular accompanist at The Palace Cinema in Broadstairs. Film, TV and silent film credits include Golem (BBC4), and BFI's Make More Noise! Suffragettes in Silent Film (DVD & Theatrical Release), accompaniment at UK-wide silent film festivals including South West Silents and The British Silent Film Festival and multiple theatre compositions including Pride and Prejudice which is currently touring and has an album available to purchase online.

Forrester Pyke

The Birth of Horror Cuppa Talk, Primary School Workshop, and shorts

Forrester has had a successful career as a teacher and musical director and is one of the most highly respected silent film accompanists in Scotland. For over 25 years he has brought many of the great silents vividly to life for a new generation of cinemagoers. Forrester is greatly respected for his musical composition and improvisational technique.


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