Film and Zoom Event: THE BOWMAKERS (Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra)

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by Tony Frankel on December 2, 2020

in Film,Music,Theater-Chicago


Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) is currently hosting the Midwest premiere of the new, feature-length documentary The Bowmakers, through December 6, 2020, only. Ward Serrill’s film has at its center Charles Espey — considered the most important bowmaker of his generation — so we can learn about the bow from start to completion. In this fascinating and enlightening film, you will also meet other bowmakers and the musicians who treasure them, and travel to France — where the modern bow originated — and then to Brazil, where the art of bowmaking finds its roots with the imperiled wood, Pernambuco.

Coming up on December 4 at 6:30pm CST, IPO will have a live Zoom conversation featuring the film’s director Ward Serrill and other filmmakers. free to the public with advance registration required. Tickets for the film are only $18 (of course, you can donate more to help IPO!) and are now available for purchase at IPO. Watch the film and then see the free Q&A live via Zoom. The program will be moderated by IPO Executive Director Christina Salerno, and will feature IPO principal cellist Jacob Hanegan and one of the film’s bowmakers and featured musicians.

The Bowmakers follows the journey of the “Cinderella” of the orchestra, the bow—the overworked and overshadowed ally to its more glamorous instrumental partners. The film is an artful exploration of one of the most esoteric corners of the music world, the art of bowmaking, as unknown to the public as it is essential to professional musicians. “I became fascinated by the nature of a handmade art that was essentially unchanged for two hundred years, and the value of that tradition in our age of technology and speed,” said Serrill. “During times of social and environmental upheaval, beauty and art is central to life. I love the artistic journey this film took me on, and I am certain Chicagoland audiences will feel the same.”

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