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Classical Sounds of the Cinema: Magnificent Movie Music

Weekend Program (Session 1 of 4-Session Course)

Sunday, January 10, 2021 - 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1K0042
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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Rachel Franklin

Save $20 when you purchase all 4 sessions of the Classical Sounds of Cinema course!


  • This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
  • Platform: Zoom
  • Online registration is required.
  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.


Since the beginning of the talkies, film directors have turned to classical music for their soundtracks. Whether it’s Beethoven, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Richard Strauss, Mascagni, Puccini, or Bach, opuses of almost every famous composer have added emotional depth to hundreds of films.

With fascinating clips, witty commentary, and piano demonstrations, concert pianist and movie fanatic Rachel Franklin delves into the magic of some of the greatest film music ever composed (even when it was unintentional).

British-born Franklin has been a featured speaker for organizations including the Library of Congress and heard on NPR, exploring intersections among classical and jazz music, film scores, and the fine arts.

Session Information

Mozart Goes to Hollywood  

Directors have long picked great concert music to enhance and underpin their films. Max Reinhardt’s gloriously extravagant 1935 film of A Midsummer Night’s Dream used re-orchestrated works by Felix Mendelssohn. If there are corsets and wigs, it must be Handel. Mozart projects aristocratic elegance, Wagner is all about might, and Rachmaninoff signals the weepiest of romances. Classical music can persuade us we’re experiencing history, identity, and culture—but is it really all in the ears? Franklin explores the impact film music can have on our subconscious responses, illustrated by some of the most iconic classical music moments in film history.

Additional Sessions

If you are interested in additional Classical Sounds of Cinema sessions, view the upcoming winter schedule:

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