The Westerville Symphony at Otterbein University presents the silent film New Babylon as the second concert in their Ron Lykins Masterworks Series.  The performance takes place on Sunday, January 27, 2019 at 5 pm in Riley Auditorium at Otterbein University.

New Babylon (1929) was the seventh film produced by Leningrad’s Factory of Eccentric Actors and was directed by Grigori Kozintsev and Leonid Trauberg, established members of the early Soviet film industry.  The score is by Dmitri Shostakovich, 23 at the time, who had spent much of his teens accompanying silent films on piano.  Set during the ill-fated Paris Commune of 1871, the film tells the story of the doomed love affair of a conscripted soldier and a simple shop girl.  The Paris Commune occurred when a large group of French citizens took over central Paris for two months and attempted to form a government.  It is believed that Karl Marx started forming his ideas about communism from this event. Considered both whimsical and tragic, and censored for its excess and frivolity, New Babylon is regarded as an astonishing achievement at the end of the silent film era in the Soviet Union.

Three weeks before its premiere, Soviet censors removed 20% of New Babylon’s material, including most of its central love story.  The result was a film and music score that no longer lined up and it was pulled after two performances.  Renewed interest in New Babylon came in the mid-1980’s where attempts were made to fit the score to the censored version of the film.  Since more music existed than film, this was accomplished by playing sections of the film at a slower rate so that it would line up with the Shostakovich score.  This version is available for viewing on You Tube.  Two copies of the uncensored film did survive, one in Moscow and one in Swiss film archives.  Marek Pytel, a film restoration specialist in London, has restored the original pre-censored film using these two sources and this is the version the Westerville Symphony will be screening on January 27th.  Mr Pytel will be our artist in residence for this week-end and will take part in two “Conversations” at Otterbein University that are open to the public.

Film Restoration and New Babylon

12:00-1:00 / January 24 / Roush Hall room 114

Shostakovich and New Babylon

1:30-2:30 / January 25 / Riley Auditorium

Tickets are available on-line at westervillesymphony,org and can also be purchased at the door.  Seating is limited for this performance and it is suggested that tickets be purchased in advance.

For more information about event details please contact Executive Director Hild Peersen at

About the Westerville Symphony at Otterbein University:

The Westerville Symphony at Otterbein University provides exemplary symphonic performances to audiences in central Ohio, and music education in Westerville and surrounding communities. This season will see collaborations with the Otterbein University Choirs, Westerville Public Library and the Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce.


Starts On

January 27, 2019 - 5:00 pm

Event Categories

Art Event, Community Event, Happening Uptown, Music Event


Riley Auditorium, Battelle Fine Arts Center

170 W. Park St.
United States
Show map

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