About this project
ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARY
A cross between the Mad Hatter and Jelly Roll Morton, Mark Birnbaum is an eccentric and talented New York City pianist who spent one magical year in Paris in 1974. Forty years later we take Mark back to the City of Lights to seek out his old friends and favorite places. A musical, emotional and no doubt humorous journey, the documentary explores what has changed, and what remains eternal, in both the city and the man.
Un mélange entre le Mad Hatter et Jelly Roll Morton, Mark Birnbaum est un excentrique et talentueux pianiste new-yorkais qui a passé une année magique à Paris en 1974. Quarante ans plus tard, nous retournerons avec Mark dans la Ville Lumière où nous irons à la recherche de ses anciens amis et de ses endroits préférés. Un documentaire où se mêleront musicalité, émotion et sans aucun doute, humour. Nous découvrirons ce qui a changé, et ce qui reste éternel, à Paris mais aussi chez Mark Birnbaum.
BUT WHO IS MARK BIRNBAUM ?
Mark Birnbaum was born in Geneva, Switzerland, and raised in Brooklyn, NYC. After graduating Summa Cum Laude from Brooklyn College, he went to Columbia University where he got a doctorate in music composition. One year later, he started his career by directing and composing the successful off-Broadway show “ A Day Together ”. This experience rapidly promoted him as a staff pianist on the Joe Franklin TV show where he played ragtime music from 1989 to 1993. At Manhattan’s 13th Street Theater, he had a weekly show “Hot Piano! Ragtime Blues and Jazz”. Then, he performed several shows in New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut. Mark Birnbaum currently lives and teaches piano in NYC.
Mark Birnaum est né à Genève, Suisse, et a grandi à Brooklyn, NYC. Après avoir été diplômé avec les félicitations du jury à Brooklyn College, il poursuivit ses études à l’université de Columbia où il a obtenu un doctorat en musique. Un an plus tard, il commença sa carrière par réaliser et composer le brilliant off-broadway show “ A day together”. Cette expérience, le promu en tant que pianiste dans l’émission “Franklin TV show” dans lequel il joua du ragtime de 1989 à 1993. A Manhattan’s 13Th Street Theater, Mark Birnbaum joua toutes les semaines “Hot Piano !Ragtime Blues and Jazz”. Puis, il fit plusieurs concerts à New York City mais aussi dans le New-Jersey et le Connecticut. Aujourd’hui, Mark Birnbaum vit et donne des cours de piano à NYC.
Here some links about Mark Birnbaum:
WHO IS THE DOCUMENTARY DIRECTOR ?
Cédric Brelet von Sydow was born in France. He studied art at L’Ecole Des Beaux Arts in Toulon and at La Villa Arson in Nice where he got his master. He worked as an assistant for the artist Ben for four years. Then, he worked as an actor in the movie industry like his father, the actor Max Von Sydow. He made some appearances in “Entrusted”, “The Diving Bell And The Butterfly” and “Slovenka”. At the same time, he began his career as a behind-the-scenes documentaries director. He worked with Steven Spielberg - “Minority Report”, Martin Scorsese – “Shutter Island”, Brett Ratner – “Rush Hour 3”, Steven Daldry - “Extremely Loud & Incredibly close”, etc. In parallel, with his friend Jean Dalmasso, he created Debric & Debroc : an educational and madcap series of short-features. Cédric Brelet Von Sydow, lives in NYC and makes documentaries.
Cédric Brelet von Sydow est né en France en 1970. Il étudia à l’école des Beaux Arts de Toulon, puis à la Villa Arson à Nice où il eut son diplôme national supérieur d'expression plastique (DNSEP) avec les félicitations du jury. Pendant ses années d’études, il fut l’assistant de l’artiste Ben. Après avoir terminé ses études, il travailla dans l’industrie du cinéma, comme son père, l’acteur Max von Sydow. Il fit quelques apparitions dans “Entrusted”, “Le Scaphandre et le Papillon” et “Slovenka”. Au même moment, il démarra sa carrière en tant que réalisateur de making-of. Il a travaillé pour Steven Spielberg sur “Minority Report”, Martin Scorsese sur “Shutter Island”, Brett Ratner sur “Rush Hour 3”, Steven Daldry sur “Extrêmement fort et incroyablement près”, etc. De plus, il réalise avec son ami Jean Dalmasso, “Débric & Débroc, une série de petits courts-métrage à la fois loufoque et ludo-éducative. Aujourd’hui Cédric Brelet Von Sydow vit à NYC.
Here are some links about Cédric B. Von Sydow:
- Cédric B. Von Sydow's resume
- Reviews of the behind-the-scenes documentary "Dialogues with the renter" from the movie "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" directed by Stephen Daldry
- Cannes Film Festival support
- Article about Debric & Debroc (French version)
- Article about Debric & Debroc (English version)
WHAT ARE THE REWARDS ?
Note: The rewards will be shipped wherever you live.
PICTURES OF SOME REWARDS
- Mark Birnbaum's albums referring to the order of appearance from the table rewards.
Mark Birnbaum’s first CD features fast, toe-tapping 1920’s tunes from the Joe Franklin television show (where he was staff pianist), the Ragtime Jazz of Scott Joplin and Jelly-Roll Morton, classical works of Bach and Scriabin and three originals.
Steve Allen wrote "I’ve never heard another CD like it – I enjoyed it". Joe Franklin said "Mark Birnbaum is Mr. Ragtime, the piano entertainer for the 21st century. He’s Scott Joplin, Jelly-Roll Morton and Liberace rolled into one." Captain Lou Albano said "Mark (Birnbaum) is Jerry Lee (Lewis) with a Ph.D."
"As anyone who's caught one of his several hundred appearances on Joe Franklin's television show will know, Mark Birnbaum (who has a Ph.D. from Columbia) is the consummate ragtime piano specialist. He knows all of the classical rags by Scott Joplin, Eubie Blake, Jelly Roll Morton - he can take any song you name (from "Sh-Boom" to "Amazing Grace") and convert it to ragtime." Chip Deffaa, The New York Post, September 2, 1994
"This is the place where Vladimir Horowitz and Liberace meet. Where classical and jazz are one." --Barry Farber, WWOR Radio
"Consider Mark Birnbaum's unique compilation of works ("Dreamland Piano Gems Circa 1903") by a remarkable group of composers, one French, another Russian, an Englishman and an American. All were creatively active around the same time, the early twentieth century. All composed in the larger forms - symphonies, concertos, and operas. They are celebrated for their piano miniatures; miniatures but in no way small. In this genre they share, besides the time, a common trait: they were all masters. Classically trained with a doctorate in music from Columbia University, Mark Birnbaum graduated into keeping ragtime alive and serving as staff pianist on the popular Joe Franklin television show. This Manhattan based pianist can play everything, and continues to do so throughout the greater New York area. To round out this unique collection of works, some quite rare, by four master musicians, he adds his tribute with two originals. These composers, while individual, share philosophies, even sounds, but remain themselves. Mark Birnbaum's pieces fit into the concept of the collection, family like, as musical "cousins and relatives," as he aptly put it. While I avoid sneaking opinions into annotations for recordings, I must admit I love this album." --Edward Jablonski, 2003, Official Biographer of Irving Berlin, George Gershwin & Harold Arlen.
"Hot Piano! is 77 minutes of joy, with works by Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, Ellington, Scriabin, Debussy, and Birnbaum, among others. Dr. Mark Birnbaum has wowed audiences in many venues, including his long stint as resident keyboard player for the Joe Franklin Show. He is equally at home in ragtime, jazz, and classical pieces and his own evocative compositions span these genres as well. Now you can savor his mastery forever." -- Hell's Kitchen Productions - Peter Gilmore 2006
"I admire any musical artist that has command of their instrument and Mark Birnbaum is a prime example of that. Birnbaum runs the gamut of ragtime, blues, classical and jazz with the ease of a seasoned performer. "California Here I Come" rips along like the roadrunner on steroids. Pure excitement abounds as Mark Birnbaum's flying fingers bring us back to another time when music was a joy to listen to instead of a chore. Ragtime reigns supreme. "Dark Town Strutter's Ball" is a case study in toe tapping rhythm as Birnbaum struts jauntily through this tune.cocksure and confident. Another funfilled 2 minutes and thirty six seconds of pianistic dexterity. "Tiger Rag" There is no holding this tiger back as the fastest tune this writer has ever heard is smoked across the keyboard. Changing gears, Marrk Birnbaum salutes Duke Ellington with "Sophisticated Lady" and displays an Ellingtonian style which is a complete departure from the aforementioned modus operandi. This song is soulfully rendered in Duke's svelte machinations. Now departure is departure in the true sense as Claude Debussy enters the picture. Birnbaum's interpretation of "Bergamasque Prelude" allows this fine pianist to exhibit his formal side to the nth. degree. Versatility, thy name is Birnbaum." -- 5 STARS --EJAZZNEWS 2005 - John Gilbert
"Anyone who knows me knows I am not too crazy about solo piano so they hand me a CD of 77 minutes of same to review but, shock, horror! it s a delight. This is a nicely varied programme and well-played by Mark Birnbaum who is a new name to me but I will look out for him in future. There are two compositions of Scott Joplin, namely Scott Joplin s New Rag and Solace which is just about my favourite Joplin piece and is played here with proper love and respect by Mr Birnbaum. No solo piano album would be complete without something by Jelly Roll Morton and here we have no less than six if we count Tiger Rag which it gives here as by Morton. The classic side is represented by two compositions by Debussy and two by Alexander Scriabin, one of which is The Funeral March . Music for all occasions? He also plays Gershwin s Rhapsody in Blue which comes in at over nine minutes and I am sure the composer would have approved this version. Novelty ragtime is represented by Zez Confrey s Kitten on the Keys and Tin Pan Alley by Darktown Strutters Ball , Sheik of Araby and My Blue Heaven . There is also Duke Ellington s Sophisticated Lady and something by Harold Arlen called Trickeration . The set is completed by four original compositions by Mark Birnbaum none of which really sets the woods on fire. A mixed bag then of which I feel that Morton and Joplin numbers come off best but that could be me showing my age. Finally, mention of Scott Joplin enables me to put in a plug for the Scott Joplin House in St. Louis. It is a little off the tourist track but is well worth a visit." --- JAZZ VIEWS CD REVIEW - Lawrence Marshall
Mark Birnbaum's 3rd CD is a lively piano collection (1900-1929) featuring ragtime and blues of Jelly Roll Morton, Hot 1920's jazz tunes. Gershwin, Scott Joplin, original ballads and the poetic mediations of Debussy and Scriabin.
Red Hot Piano and Vocals in the Classic New Orleans, Ragtime, Blues and Jazz Style. Based on the recent tragedy in Louisiana Mark Birnbaum commemorates the birthplace of Jazz via his idol, Jelly Roll Morton.
"Maestro Birnbaum presents a potent program displaying his virtuosity as well as his extraordinarily heartfelt interpretive skills. He has mastered the idioms of Joplin, Debussy, and Scriabin a rare feat, and here he has selected pieces that well complement each other. His Joplin is earthy, detailed and playful, projecting a thoroughly carnal love of life. In the Debussy works, Birnbaum captures his impressionism with a painterly touch, from the majesty of the Sunken Cathedral to the piquant vista of Reverie. He evokes that surging sense of decadence and diablerie so essential to Scriabin including the dissonant Sonata #9 (Black Mass) and the mysterious tremolo-infused Sonata #10 (Insect Sonata). The recording is excellent, miked close enough to capture plenty of detail yet with enough room reverberation to allow the sonorities evoked to resonate without obscuring the musical lines. Whether you are a longtime listener to masters of pianism or someone new to this form of music, this album will serve you well, seducing you to listen again and again. Click on the album cover above to visit Dr. Birnbaum's site." -- Hell's Kitchen Productions January 2007 - Peter Gilmore
"This CD tries very hard to marry two very disparate genres, ragtime jazz and trip-hop. When it works, it works very well. New York City based pianist MARK BIRNBAUM has made a valiant attempt here to fuse the musical styles, investing in Neneh Cherry’s vocals for some tracks, but the main problem with the CD is that like a Prog Rock album , this offers one hour of music with eleven tracks being minor variations on the same two songs.The album starts well with ‘Welcome!’ a good rap about revolution and how everyone should unite and focus on our problems: “Time for some action, time to think real, time to speak real.” Sentiments that are heartfelt and probably echoed by millions. ‘Carnival for Eubie’ is another good track, an empowerment song. Tracks like ‘Outta Keys’ have a great Scott Joplin style piano melody which is backed with some atmospheric electronics, but what lets this down is that it is expanded upon, to have an ‘Outta Keys’ bass mix, two other mixes and two vocal mixes.
‘Ragtime Trip-Hop’ the next track is a nice jaunty piano ragtime boogie, which works well.
The ‘Luna Keys’ mixes utilise organ rather than piano, and this works well on the original and the ‘Luna Keys Cry’ vocal mix, the vocals seemingly about love and loss:- “I waited oh, for so long/ now I will be all alone.”Overall, when this works, it works really well. " Nick Browne
- A Mark Birnbaum's original painting
You may have this painting or another one. As each painting is unique you will understand that this picture differs from the product that you will get but it will be in the same spirit.
- A Mark Birnbaum's "Mad Hatter" hat
- A collector cane from Mark Birnbaum's great collection
You may have this cane or another one. As each cane is unique you will understand that this picture differs from the product that you will get but it will be in the same spirit.
WHAT IS OUR KICKSTARTER GOAL?
We have tried to be conservative and we ended up with a budget of $24,470 for 7 days of shooting in Paris. Please find below all the details.
Nous avons fait notre possible pour avoir un budget très modeste afin de réaliser notre projet. Celui-ci s'élève à $24,470 pour 7 jours de tournage à Paris. Veuillez trouver en-dessous le descriptif du budget.
HOW CAN I DONATE AND BE A PART OF THE DOCUMENTARY ?
You just have to click on the green "Back this project" button in the upper right-hand corner and follow the following steps:
- Create your account on amazon.com
- Go to our Kicstarter page "MELODY MEMORIES"
- Click on "pledge" and indicate your choice
- Then you are directed to the plateform "Amazon payments"
- Log in your Amazon account
- Fill out your payment information
- Confirm your pledge
Furthermore, if you’d rather not claim a reward, you are welcome simply to donate, and if you’d like to increase your donation at any point during the campaign, just sign in, come back to this page, and click the blue “Manage Your Donation” button to enter a new amount or choose a new incentive.
Pour faire une donation, et donc faire partie de la réalisation de notre documentaire, il vous suffit de cliquer sur le bouton vert "Back this project" qui se situe en haut à droite et de suivre les étapes suivantes:
- Créez votre compte sur amazon.com
- Allez sur notre page Kickstarter "MELODY MEMORIES"
- Cliquez sur sur "pledge" et indiquez votre choix
- Vous passez alors sur la plateforme "Amazon Paiements"
- Connectez-vous sur votre compte Amazon
- Entrez vos informations de paiement
- Confirmez votre mise
IF WE EXCEED OUR GOAL ?
If we manage to exceed our goal and raised over $ 24,470, the excess funds will be used to rent a second camera and a second camera operator for the Paris shooting.
Si nous dépassons notre objectif de $ 24,470, l'argent en plus sera utilisé pour louer une deuxième camera ainsi que payer un deuxième chef opérateur pour notre tournage à Paris.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF THE MONEY IS NOT RAISED IN TIME ?
Every Kickstarter project must be fully funded before its time expires, if not, your credit card or debit card will not be charged.
Comme pour tous les projets sur Kickstarter, votre compte ne sera pas débité si notre projet n'atteint pas l'objectif des $ 24,470 dans les 30 jours suivant la mise en ligne du projet.
WE THANK YOU ALL AND WE HOPE YOU WILL BE A PART OF OUR PROJECT.
Risks and challenges
Some risks that come to our mind, are for example how people in Paris will react in front of such character as Mark Birnbaum, In New-York it is not uncommon to see people dress up like this and lots of people congratulate Mark in the street. One of our goals is to make sure that when a problem arises, it makes the project stronger. Every project we set out to make, we have finished one way or another. It's our goal to make this journey a success.
Also, we planned to stay and shoot only for a week in Paris ( we hope that the weather will be with us ). Mark Birnbaum has so many beautiful memories of Paris... Its locations, its people, its ambiance... So, we will spend each minute of our time to get as many shots as we can to make this documentary a success.
Support this project
- (30 days)