Skip to main content

The Silent Comedian: Andy Quin (piano)

The Silent Comedian: Andy Quin (piano)

Book tickets
  • Date 15 Oct 2019
  • Time 8.00pm - 9.30pm
  • Category Music and performance

Concert Series 2019-20

Joseph Frank ‘Buster’ Keaton (1895-1966) is widely regarded by many as the finest physical comedy or ‘slapstick’ actor in silent movies. His diminutive appearance and ‘deadpan’ face endeared him to millions. The sheer physical danger and audacity of some of his stunts have become legendary, and even if you are new to his films you will very likely have seen him in scenes that have become some of the best-known footage from the silent era.

Andy Quin is an improvising concert pianist and organist whose composing career will, in a few months, span six decades. His first professional engagement was accompanying silent movies back in the early 1970s. Now with over 1200 published compositions and thousands of broadcasts throughout the globe each year, he is probably one of the most prolific and successful production music composers in the world.

At the start of the 20th Century, there was no such thing as film music, silent film presentations were usually accompanied by selections of existing classical and popular music performed live. Meyer de Wolfe edited and arranged the selections for appropriate ensembles and licensed these arrangements. He worked at theatres such as the Regent St. Cinema in London, (now recognised as the birthplace of British Cinema where the Lumiere brothers first showed moving pictures in the UK, and where Andy Quin is now resident organist). When sound recording was established, De Wolfe worked with the finest musicians and composers of the era (for example Leon Goossens, Sidney Torch, Stephane Grappelli and Gustav Holst) to create a library of recorded music categorised by suitability for a particular scene or emotion; this was the first ‘Mood music’ or ‘Library music’. This ‘Production music’ is now ubiquitous in the media but largely anonymous. You may not have heard of Andy’s name but you will almost certainly heard a lot of his music! A small selection of his recent film and tv work includes Widows, Ab Fab The Movie, Victoria and Abdul, Trumbo, To The Wonder, Mute, Boardwalk Empire, Supernatural, Travellers and you can currently hear his incidental music in the BBC2 programme The Children’s Hospital. Andy’s music is also a staple of the advertising industry ranging from classics such as the ‘Oxo’ family with the late Linda Bellingham to the exclusive use of his music over the last few years by the perfume house Guerlain to accompany all its ads featuring Angelina Jolie.

With nearly 40 years in recording studios working with the world’s finest musicians and orchestras, Andy is currently using AI technology to record what will be his 90th album for his publisher De Wolfe Music. However, he is also now enjoying a renaissance in live performance and is delighted to bring a lifetime of experience and the joy of improvising music to hopefully introduce a new audience to the appreciation and enjoyment of the silent comic genius of Buster Keaton.

Buster Keaton

Further information

Free admission to all


Booking is necessary

Book tickets

Related topics

Explore Royal Holloway

Get help paying for your studies at Royal Holloway through a range of scholarships and bursaries.

There are lots of exciting ways to get involved at Royal Holloway. Discover new interests and enjoy existing ones

Heading to university is exciting. Finding the right place to live will get you off to a good start

Whether you need support with your health or practical advice on budgeting or finding part-time work, we can help

Discover more about our 21 departments and schools

Find out why Royal Holloway is in the top 25% of UK universities for research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’

Royal Holloway is a research intensive university and our academics collaborate across disciplines to achieve excellence.

Discover world-class research at Royal Holloway

Discover more about who we are today, and our vision for the future

Royal Holloway began as two pioneering colleges for the education of women in the 19th century, and their spirit lives on today

We’ve played a role in thousands of careers, some of them particularly remarkable

Find about our decision-making processes and the people who lead and manage Royal Holloway today