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Gateway Film Center to host live music to accompany horror film

Andrew Alden, director and composer for the Andrew Alden Orchestra, which will perform at Gateway Film Center on Oct. 8. Credit: Courtesy of Theresa Alden.

Andrew Alden, director and composer for the Andrew Alden Orchestra, which will perform at Gateway Film Center on Oct. 8. Credit: Courtesy of Theresa Alden.

Andrew Alden often asked himself, “How can one make young people want to go see classical music performances?”

Alden, director of the Andrew Alden Ensemble, found the answer in composing and performing scores for horror movies.

The Gateway Film Center will host the ensemble to accompany a screening of the 1922 silent horror film “Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages” on Saturday.

“I used to have a group that wasn’t an ensemble,” Alden said. “We were playing shows but a lot of people don’t want to go to amateur newly formed classical concerts. It’s not very interesting for people from my age.”

The ensemble, formed in 2012, is mostly dedicated to silent movie accompaniments. The group has also toured around the country, accompanying screenings of movies such as “Nosferatu,” “The Phantom of the Opera” and other early horror films.  

“Whereas melodrama movies don’t stand the test of time, horror movies do,” Alden said. “As humans there’s a visceralness of what we find scary. The same things that were scary then are scary now.”

Alden said composers like himself can create more dynamic scores in the horror genre.

“You’re dealing with textures of sound instead of gimmicks. You build a sonic world, an atmosphere as opposed to comedy when you’re accentuating the jokes,” he said.

“Häxan” looks at the history of witchraft, combining documentary and fictional film styles.

“We love it. ‘Häxan’ is a classic. It’s weird, funny and criminally underseen,” said Jason Tostevin, vice president of communications and marketing at Gateway Film Center.

Alden said each performance differs slightly, giving each audience its own experience.

Tostevin said he hopes the live performance will be something special for moviegoers.

“It’s events like these, one-of-a-kind moments that really bring the movie off the screen and wrap you up in it,” he said.  
“Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages,” is set to screen at 7 p.m. on Oct. 8 at the Gateway Film Center at 1550 N. High St. Tickets are $6.50 for students.

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