In April, audiences will share a thrilling Festival-commissioned world premiere—another coup in Virginia Arts Festival’s rich history of “see-it-here-first” performances. Stewart Copeland—famed drummer for the iconic 80’s rock band The Police—will debut his new score for the epic 1925 silent film Ben-Hur. One of Rolling Stone’s greatest drummers of all time, Copeland is also an accomplished composer who has written for orchestra, ballet and film (including Francis Ford Coppola’s Rumble Fish and Oliver Stone’s Wall Street).
Stewart has cut the 2-hour 40-minute film to 90 minutes. To create this version of the movie, Warner Brothers kindly released the original film to strike a new digitized print. At the April 19 premiere, Copeland will perform with the 60-member Virginia Arts Festival Orchestra conducted by Richard Kaufman. “It will be a movie, a big orchestra, and me banging on the drums,” he states.
Stewart Copeland has immersed himself in the “serious music” world. Throughout it all, he has maintained his trademark humor and lack of pretense, and is only too happy to impart his unique wisdom to students of music, film, business and media in a way that will certainly appeal to young minds who resist pigeonholing and crave wisdom from an artist who “has been there.” Stewart Copeland describes himself as the progeny, in equal measure, of Stravinsky and Jimi Hendrix. Where these two strains come together is about where you’ll find his music.