Music Makes a City is produced by Owsley Brown Presents, an independent motion picture production company that produces original contemporary media works with an emphasis on creative exploration. Music Makes a City projects includes the award-winning, feature-length documentary Music Makes a City, the original web series Music Makes a City Now, and a robust multiplatform social media community.
Music Makes a City (2010), the feature length documentary film produced by Owsley Brown Presents, chronicles the Louisville Orchestra’s rise in the mid-twentieth century from its days as a struggling, semiprofessional group to its status as a premiere showcase for contemporary composers from all over the world. The leadership and artistic vision of Louisville’s civic leaders at the time, including the charismatic Mayor Charles Farnsley and conductor Robert Whitney, were key to the success of the ambitious undertaking, which propelled the Louisville Orchestra to Carnegie Hall and international acclaim. And just as Farnsley and Whitney predicted, as the orchestra’s reputation grew, so did the cultural and economic life of Louisville. This captivating and critically acclaimed film, narrated by Will Oldham, features interviews with iconic American composers Lukas Foss, Gunther Schuller, Elliott Carter, Chou Wen-chung and William Schuman plus an evocative soundtrack of selected commissions recorded by the Louisville Orchestra. The DVD won the 2012 Gramophone award for Best DVD Documentary, and is currently available through shoppbs.org.
In 2014, the hour-long TV version of Music Makes a City, which included new footage of the Louisville Orchestra filmed in 2013, was broadcast by PBS Arts nationwide and made available on-demand at pbs.org and via Roku and Apple TV. PBS will continue repeat broadcasts of Music Makes a City through 2018. Music Makes a City also enjoys a growing and dynamic online community via its website, Facebook, and Twitter presence, offering web videos and current social media content inspired by the film’s broad themes. These include arts advocacy and leadership, the intersection of civic community and arts culture, how music benefits society, and the value of new music and music education.
Music Makes a City Now, a new original web series inspired by the film, follows musical visionaries who build communities with great music. In Season One: Louisville, a bold young orchestra conductor (Teddy Abrams) pulls out all the stops in Louisville, KY. Episodes are now available online at YouTube/MusicMakesaCityNow and on PBS Arts.