Associate Professor of Music James Doering, Ph.D., performed the piano accompaniment
for the 1914 silent film Antony and Cleopatra at 3:00 p.m. on November
15, 2008 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Peggy Parsons, the head
of the National Gallery’s film program and the daughter of an R-MC alumnus, introduced
Doering. An estimated crowd of 450 gave Doering a standing ovation after his performance.
Antony and Cleopatra, produced in 1913 by the Italian studio Cines and
directed by Enrico Guazzoni, was conceived on a massive scale, featuring elaborate
sets, location shots in Italy and Egypt and a cast of 2000. Impressed by the film’s
quality, American promoter George Kleine brought the film to the United States in
1914 and hired George Colburn to compose an original score for the U.S. premiere.
Doering reconstructed Colburn’s music, which hadn’t been performed since 1914, from
surviving sources in the Library of Congress. His research has shown that Colburn’s
score, which includes an intricate plan of 17 recurring themes, represents one of
the earliest American attempts at thematic film scoring. Doering’s work on this
project was supported by grants from the Rashkind Endowment and the Virginia Foundation
for Independent Colleges.
Doering has been at Randolph-Macon since 1999 and teaches courses in music history,
music theory and keyboard performance. He was the 2007 recipient of the United Methodist
Church Award for Teaching Excellence. He is currently team-teaching an interdisciplinary
First-Year Colloquium titled “The Sound of Numbers” with Professor Chiru Bhattacharya
of the mathematics department in which students explore the intersections between
math and music.