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Commie classics! Brooklyn Philharmonic brings Soviet-era cartoons to life

Brooklyn Daily
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Are you hankering for a night of classical music and communist cartoons?

Good, because the Brooklyn Philharmonic will perform the original soundtracks to six Soviet-era cartoons — while the animated shorts are screened overhead in an unusual performance at the Millenium Theater in Brighton Beach on Nov. 3.

As the old cartoon reels roll, the Philharmonic will accompany the images with classical music that was written for the films by 20th-century composers such as Shostakovich and Vyacheslav Artyomov.

Philharmonic Director Alan Pierson said the show is geared towards Russians and non-Russians alike.

“People are going to enjoy seeing the cartoons and hearing the music together,” Pierson said.

In advance of the show, the Philharmonic will host a free cartoon and music-making workshop, and a chamber concert dedicated to Soviet emigre writer Sergei Dovlatov.

The two-day “Brighton Beach Series” kicks off the Philharmonic’s comeback season and will be followed by similar events in Downtown and Bedford-Stuyvesant next spring.

The shows are part of the formerly cash-strapped orchestra’s effort to rebrand itself under Pierson, who took over in January.

“Orchestras have to be interesting and relevant,” Pierson said. “It can’t be business as usual.”

That certainly won’t be the case in Brighton Beach.

Russian Cartoon Music at the Millenium Theater [1029 Brighton Beach Ave. between Brighton 11th and Brighton 12th streets in Brighton Beach, (718) 488-5700], Nov. 3, 8 pm. Tickets, $20-$55. For info, visit

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at or by calling (718) 260-8310.

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