Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Pianist Martial Solal to Perform in NYC This Saturday

Legendary film score composer and jazz pianist Martial Solal will put on a rare U.S. performance at the Museum of Modern Art in New York this weekend, as part of the museum’s “Jazz Score” exhibit celebrating the link between contemporary jazz and film scoring.

Solal will be joined by his longtime French bassist Francois Moutin for the performance on Saturday, June 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 1.

Coupled with an accomplished career as a modern jazz pianist, Solal, age 80, is highly acclaimed for his work scoring films such as Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless (1959). Throughout his career, Solal has composed nearly 40 film scores.

His most recently released work came in the form of Longitude, a recording of sessions with bassist Moutin and drummer Louis Moutin that includes seven original compositions.

Solal was born in Algeria in 1927, and learned to play piano at the age of 7 from his mother, an opera singer. After moving to Paris in 1950, Solal began to perform with musicians like Django Reinhardt, Sidney Bechet and Don Byas.

Solal’s fluidity and efficiency as a technician and arranger led him to a career in composing for film, working with the likes of mid-20th century directors Jean-Pierre Melville, Marcel Carne, Jean Cocteau and Orson Welles.

Solal’s appearance is one of several performances in conjunction with the museum’s “Jazz Score” exhibit. Running until Sept. 15, live performances and film screenings commemorate the artistic connection between mid-20th century jazz and filmmaking.

Museum floor displays include Polish and American film posters and video clips representing five decades’ worth of jazz compositions onscreen. Two of Solal’s own scores-for Breathless, and for Jean Becker’s Echappement Libre (1964)-are included in the exhibit.

The exhibit also includes a restored version of John and Faith Hubley’s short film animation Adventures of an * (1957), with music by Benny Carter.

Solal’s performance and the “Jazz Score” exhibit are sponsored by the Friends of Education of the Museum of Modern Art and the Nicholas Martini Foundation, as well as the Polish Cultural Institute.

Tickets for the Museum of Modern Art performance are $15 for the general public, and $12 for members, students and seniors. Tickets may be purchased online at the MoMA Web site or at the Museum of Modern Art information desk.

Originally Published