Sound of Silent Film in NYC, Gunnelpumpers at Constellation

Hello all,

My dad is having hip replacement surgery today, June 3. I’ll to be taking the week off work to help him out post-op. Please consider sending him lots of love/prayer/positive energy.

2013 Thus Far

On the musical front, the past several months have been insanely busy. After last Thursday’s concert with the Chicago Composers Orchestra, I had to look back and assess how busy it actually was. Since the beginning of the year, I have had approximately 38 rehearsals, 44 performances, three recording sessions, three fantasy baseball drafts, two rounds of golf, one major composition rewrite, one CD produced, one website facelift, one day job, not enough sleep.

One Major Composition Rewrite

“One major composition rewrite” refers to a re-orchestration and overall “tightening up” of a 14-minute soundtrack called “Die Wunderkammer” I wrote for the Sound of Silent Film (SoSF) in 2010. The film is “The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer”, created by the Brothers Quay in 1984 as a homage to one of the great pioneers of stop-motion animation, Jan Svankmajer. The instrumentation for new version of Die Wunderkammer is flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion.

Sound of Silent Film was started eight years ago by Seth Boustead and Access Contemporary Music (ACM), and involves living writing music for modern silent films, whereupon this music is performed live with the films. ACM is taking the Sound of Silent Film to New York City this coming week! The performance will take place June 7 and 8 at Anthology Film Archives at 32 Second Avenue in NYC. There has been some press leading up to the event, such as this article in The Villager, and some of the compositions were played on the Movies on the Radio program on WQXR, “New York’s Classical Radio Station.” So my piece, along with several other excellent works composed for this event, have been played on the largest major market classical music station in the country!

Here are more details about Sound of Silent Film in NYC, and the 2010 performance of my piece can be seen on YouTube here.

One final note about this Sound of Silent Film event is that ACM has started an Indie Go Go campaign to help ACM defray the incredible costs of moving this show to NYC. The plan is to ask 300 people to give ACM $20. Those small donations from everyone will really add up and help us ensure the event is a success and that all the musicians can get home. If you are or know someone willing to donate $20 to the cause of spreading contemporary classical and premiering great new music in the nation’s cultural capitol, the link is

One CD Produced

Squeezed in within the past five months of rehearsals/performance/sessions with whitewolfsonicprincess, Chicago Composers Orchestra, Bach for the Sem, Too Hot To Handel, Christina Trulio, Jason Steele, Access Contemporary Music, Joffrey Ballet, Strawdog Theatre Company, New Millennium Orchestra, VOX 3 Collective, Mark Darling, Hershey Felder’s An American Story, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Elgin Symphony, St. Luke’s Bach Cantata Series, and Lawrence Axelrod, we have managed to produce Gunnelpumpers fourth CD, Montana Fix.

It has been quite the journey to bring this 19-song project to completion, and the end result is intended as a rewarding one for the listener. There’s no explicit plot or storyline, but the music travels to places far and wide. There’s even a track inspired by the “B natural” earth resonance frequency.

One Website Facelift

For more information about this release, see our newly redesigned website at Three of the new songs can be previewed on the site, and there are also over 12 hours of live recordings, where you can click on a musician’s name and only the shows that he/she played on will be displayed. Super slick. Thank you, WordPress!

Upcoming Shows

Gunnelpumpers has three shows on the docket. Two newly scheduled shows have popped up recently, and take place in just two weeks. Saturday, June 15, we’re playing at a house party. If you are interested in going, please email me at

Sunday, June 16, Gunnelpumpers has been invited to perform at the amazing new venue, Constellation, at 3111 N. Western Avenue. We’ll be playing a short avant-garde set as part of the MAVerick Ensemble and Friends concert. MAVerick artistic director William Jason Raynovich will be joining us on electric ‘cello! Additional details are on this Facebook event page.

The Montana Fix CD release show is scheduled to take place Wednesday, July 24, at Martyrs‘. Even original member, percussionist Doug Brush, will be in town all the way from New Zealand. By all accounts it appears that this will be a 17+ show as well.

I fully expect you all to check out every link. 😛


Douglas Johnson