I was interviewed for an upcoming book about the Paramount Theatre’s 100 year anniversary. My father (yes! my father!) was born in 1889, and was musical director at the Paramount a century ago, 40 years before I was born.
I have been a performer, arranger, and frequent guest at the Paramount since my college days. I saw Miles Davis there!
I was interviewed by Terri Schexnayder, who will author the 100 year anniversary history of the Paramount. We chatted about the following:
My dad was musical director, orchestra conductor, and principal violinist for silent movies and vaudeville at the Paramount (then called the Majestic) during its first years in existence. He contributed to the entertainment and culture of early Austin.
As his son, and performing artist/composer at the Paramount I have been arranger for the 2000 production of Jesus Christ Superstar, the broadway shows Nunsense 1 & 2 with Joe Ann Worley, and “Together Again” Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca. Just last year, I was principal pianist for Philip Glass’ “Icarus At The Edge Of Time” 33 piece orchestra w film. Notably, I performed in live orchestra performances of original scores to famous silent movies, with Gilian Anderson (not X-Files!) Wings, Birth Of A Nation, Nosferatu, and Robin Hood. These historic and great early movies were shown at the same time my father was conductor, and in the same Paramount Theatre I am performing nearly 100 years later!
Paramount Theatre holds amazing memories for me, and I am honored to be part of their rich history in Austin culture. I contributed the following to the book:
Every time I come to the Paramount, to attend an event, or working as a music professional, I feel a connection with the past, with my dad a hundred years ago, with Austin in its early days, and with all the great artistic endeavors and creativity that have been presented here. There is a spiritual delight and pleasure here. I feel it every time. It’s in every seat in the house!
I see my father here, 100 years ago, rehearsing the orchestra, walking backstage and downstairs to the green room, or under the bright lights onstage during showtime. He is conducting, performing, laughing, and living here, bringing music to life, 35 years before I was even born.
I hope when I perform at the Paramount, I connect today’s audiences with different times in Austin’s culture, in the way that only music does, bringing the old to new generations of ears…. FULL CIRCLE.
I especially want to thank my friend, John Bernardoni, the Co-Founder that conceived the restoration and rejuvenation of the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas – a Texas Landmark and listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, and who served as director from 1975 to 1985. I played at his wedding! John loves jazz, and came out often to hear me at Sullivan’s.
Read about his early struggles to save the Paramount:
Dave Brubeck and Sons – Inaugural Show – February 1975 – Paramount Theatre – Austin
I went to this show!
This is a letter to my father, thanking him for his contributions to the culture and entertainment in Austin, from Majestic Theatre (now the Paramount) Executive Director Faulkner.