Ben-Hur (Stewart Copeland)

Symphonic Cinema (Film with Live Orchestra)

Ben-Hur: A Tale of The Christ” is a silent film that was created in 1925 by the pioneer film producer Fred Niblo, based on the original best-selling book.  In 2010, legendary drummer and film score composer, Stewart Copeland, was asked to compose a score for the original 1880 novel, which was known as the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century, for an arena spectacle running throughout Europe, including Munich, Rome, and London. Now, Copeland has been commissioned by the Virginia Arts Festival to edit Fred Niblo’s silent film, and adjust his score for live orchestra, creating a new digital version of the silent film.

Copeland has worked with many of the greatest film directors of our generation, including Francis Ford Coppola and Oliver Stone. His score for Ben-Hur is dramatic, tuneful, and complements the film beautifully. The film, composed of 90 minutes of orchestrated music and an intermission, will feature Copeland on drum set and percussion, as well as a full live symphony orchestra. For the first time, this is a project that combines Copeland’s many talents in composition, orchestration, film scoring, film editing, and of course, his remarkable virtuosity behind the drums.

“Copeland’s brave new work …an astounding creation of 90 minutes of orchestrated music revealed that he had studied and adapted his approach to the film itself…. To get into this game requires guts…. Just to see the 1925 classic in such pristine quality was, alone, worth all the effort. No one who experienced this evening can write it off as less than extraordinary. It is the kind of “event” that the Virginia Arts Festival is becoming known for – unexpected and daring. Ben-Hur’s horses run even faster when they have a beat.”          

-The Virginian Pilot



drum kit + 3(pic).2(ca).3(bcl).2+cbn/4.3.2+btbn.1/timp.2perc/pf.hp.gtr(egtr)/str; sound effects


For Bookings and further information, please contact Tom McNeill or Moema Parrott at Polyarts.