The Boston Foundation to support First Night Boston, Arts Emerson, Berklee and Coolidge Corner Theatre Collaboration
The Boston Foundation sponsors The Berklee Silent Film Orchestra's performance of “Safety Last” at First Night Boston
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For Immediate Release
December 20, 2013
Released By:
Mayor's Office
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office

On Monday, December 16, at 7:00 p.m. the Coolidge Corner Theatre premiered Berklee Silent Film Orchestra’s original musical composition to Harold Lloyd’s 1923 silent film gem Safety Last!. The Coolidge commissioned the original score through its Sounds of Silents™ program, which supports newly composed imaginative scores to silent film classics. ArtsEmerson will present an encore performance at the Cutler Majestic Theatre on Tuesday, December 31 at 7:30 p.m. during Boston’s First Night celebrations.

“The Boston Foundation is pleased to again be a part of the First Night celebration,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “The foundation has been a supporter of First Night since its inception, and this event promises to be a highlight of this year’s event. We are pleased to join with Mayor Menino and the City of Boston to ring in 2014 as only Boston can.”

Safety Last! is widely considered one of the most enduring silent film classics of all time. The film features the acclaimed comedic genius Harold Lloyd and boasts an iconic image of cinematic history – that of Lloyd dangling from a giant clock on the side of a building over a bustling Los Angeles street below. Lloyd, who joins the ranks of silent screen comic greats Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton (and actually led the pact as the biggest box office star), navigated his own hilarious and daring stunt work. The result is a quintessential motion picture treasure, added to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry and meticulously preserved for decades by the Harold Lloyd estate. The Coolidge and Cutler Majestic will present a gorgeous new digital restoration from Janus Films, sourced from an original nitrate print.


The Coolidge Corner Theatre’s Sounds of Silents™was launched in 2007 with a mission to present classic silent cinema on the big screen accompanied by a live original score and performed by outstanding musicians. Since 2010 the Coolidge’s Sounds of Silents™ initiative has commissioned seven original compositions from Berklee College of Music with premiere presentations including F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise and Faust, Clarence Badger’s It, Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin, Buster Keaton’s Our Hospitality, and E.A. Dupont’s Piccadilly. The unique collaboration between the Coolidge and Berklee expands on the Sounds of Silents™ initiative, providing funds to commission the compositions and an opportunity to engage students in the process.

“Sounds of Silents has proven to be an enormously successful and gratifying experience,” says Martin Norman, co-founder of the program and a Coolidge Corner Theatre board member. “For the Coolidge it’s an opportunity to showcase our stunning 440-seat Moviehouse I, which features a beautiful restoration of the theater’s original Art Deco detail, as well as state-of-the-art digital projection and audio. For the musicians it’s an opportunity to showcase their extraordinary talents. We’re thrilled to extend our support to Berklee College of Music to collaboratively foster a future generation of composers and performers as well as film enthusiasts.” Sounds of Silents™ is made possible by the generous support of Dr. Martin and Becki Norman, Dr. Thomas Gutheil, Susan Stoller, Elizabeth Driehaus and Chobee Hoy. The program is a production of the Coolidge Corner Theatre.

The Berklee Silent Film Orchestra (BSFO) is dedicated to composing new, original scores for silent feature classics, and performing them live-to-picture.  Based at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, in the world’s only undergraduate degree program in film scoring, the student orchestra composes its new works, and performs as an ensemble, under the leadership of Professor of Film Scoring Sheldon Mirowitz (Outside Providence, Missing in America).  To date, the BSFO has scored seven iconic silent features (Sunrise, It, Battleship Potemkin, Piccadilly, Faust, Our Hospitality, and Safety Last) all commissioned by the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, Massachusetts, as part of the theater’s Sounds of Silents™ program, which champions silent film music performance. The recipient of a special commendation from the Boston Society of Film Critics, the BSFO has also performed in the new Nantucket Dreamland Theater, and at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

ArtsEmerson was established by Emerson College to program the beautifully restored 590-seat Paramount Center Mainstage; the versatile, intimate Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre (“The Jackie”), which can seat up to 150 people; the state-of-the-art 170-seat Bright Family Screening Room (all located within the Emerson/Paramount Center, a cornerstone in the revitalization of downtown Boston); and the beloved, historic 1,186-seat Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre in the heart of the Theatre District, fully restored by Emerson in 2003. Under the leadership of Rob Orchard, ArtsEmerson gives Boston audiences a new level of cultural choice, bringing live professional American and international stage work to its four distinct venues as well as films and music. For more information, visit

Advance tickets to the December 16 Safety Last! screening/ performance at the Coolidge Corner Theatre can be purchased through the Coolidge website at Ticket prices are $20/general admission and $17/Coolidge members, seniors, and students with valid ID. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the Coolidge box office during regular theater hours at 290 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA. For more information visit the website or call (617) 734-2500. Admittance to the December 31 screening/performance at the Cutler Majestic Theatre is on a first-come basis and available to all Boston First Night button-holders. For more information about First Night Boston and to purchase buttons visit

The City of Boston is producing this year’s First Night Boston celebration.  The event generates an estimated $47 million in revenue annually. The concept that originated in Boston 38 years ago has served as a model for more than 200 similar celebrations worldwide.  First Night Boston Buttons are $10 (children under 4 admitted free) and are available at participating Boston-area CVS Stores, Bank of America branches, BosTix booths, Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau information centers and other locations throughout the city. For a complete list of advance sale locations or to buy buttons online, visit In addition to the outstanding performing arts schedule, additional button benefits will be announced daily on Twitter, via @FirstNight, #ButtonBenefit.  Please check for the latest details and additional information.

The Boston Foundation

The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the largest community foundations in the nation, with net assets of close to $900 million.  Founded in 1915, the Foundation is approaching its 100th Anniversary.  In 2013, the Foundation and its donors made nearly $98 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of $130 million. The Foundation is a partner in philanthropy, with some 1,000 separate charitable funds established by donors either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes.  The Boston Foundation also serves as a major civic leader, provider of information, convener and sponsor of special initiatives that address the region’s most pressing challenges. 

The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI), an operating unit of the Foundation, designs and implements customized philanthropic strategies for families, foundations and corporations around the globe. Through its consulting and field-advancing efforts, TPI has influenced billions of dollars in giving worldwide.  For more information about the Boston Foundation and TPI, visit or call 617-338-1700.


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