Bernie Anderson needs no introduction to most GSTOS members. He began musical studies at age 5 and graduated from Montclair State University summa cum laude with the degree of Bachelor of Music in composition. In 2000, Bernie earned his Master’s in Fine Arts at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.
He was a student of the late Lee Erwin who became famous for scoring and performing many original silent film accompaniments on the theatre pipe organ. In the last 15 years, Bernie has scored and played many silent film organ accompaniments in the tristate area, and recorded new scores for 4 DVD releases. His discography includes three silent film releases for www.reelclassicsdvd.com: The Langdon Collection, The Little Tramp and the Great War / Made in NJ- Double Feature, and one release for Image Productions: American Slapstick, Vol.1.
Bernie also studied theatre organ with famed Radio City Music Hall Organist Ashley Miller from 1991 to 1997. In 1995, he made his solo debut with the New York Theatre Organ Society performing at Chaminade High School’s 3/12 Austin/Morton.
In 2001, he was the organist for the New Jersey edition of the Library of Congress American Movie Classics Film Preservation Tour, performing his own scores for the Laurel and Hardy shorts, “Big Business” and “1903 Great Train Robbery”, and for Harold Lloyd’s “Safety Last”.
Bernie served as Head Staff Organist and curator of the “Biggest Little Wurlitzer” at the Union County Performing Arts Center (former Rahway Theatre) for 16 years. He was also a staff organist for the Lafayette Theatre in Suffern NY at the 2/10 Ben Hall Memorial Wurlitzer for 13 years playing intermissions before the 1st run movies.
In July 2003, Bernie had the pleasure of being the premiere organist for the NYC American Guild of Organist’s “Pipe Organ Encounter” which was held at Radio City Music Hall at the Music Hall’s 4/58 Wurlitzer. The event’s purpose was to expose Classical Organ Students to the world of theatre organ. In February 2005, in a concert with Dave Kopp, Bernie played the first public NYTOS concert at Radio City Music Hall since 1979.
Bernie has also played concerts and silent films at Dickinson High School, The Brooklyn Paramount (LIU), Capitolfest at the Capitol Theatre, Rome, NY, Chaminade High School, Mineola LI, the Colonial Theatre, Phoenixville, PA and at The New York Public Library (Donnell Media Center) in New York City.
In 1996, Bernie met Tony award winning Orchestrator, Douglas Besterman, and started to work for him as his orchestration assistant. His projects have included such Broadway shows as “Big”, “King David”, “The Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular”, “Fosse” and “Seussical the Musical”. Bernie also served as the music production assistant to the conductor on the Broadway production of “Seussical the Musical”. He has also studied orchestration with Danny Troob; orchestrator for Disney animated films such as “Beauty and The Beast”, “Aladdin”, and “Enchanted”.
In 2005, Bernie wrote the orchestrations for a new musical, “The Girl in the Frame” presented at Goodspeed Opera House in CT. which was published by Theatrical Rights Worldwide in 2007. He finished orchestrations for another new musical called “I See London, I See France…” which premiered at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in Sept of 2007.
While at NYU, Bernie wrote music for the musical “Washington Buzz” as his thesis project and was a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop from 2002-2006 where he wrote the music for a new show called “Slapstick”. In 2005, Bernie composed the opening song for a new annual show about Chanukah called “Latkes and Applesauce”
Bernie had the pleasure of collaborating with Tony Award winner, William Finn on two new songs that were commissioned by The New Yorker Magazine for their 75th anniversary festival in May of 2000. He is also the recipient of the 2000 ASCAP Frederick Loewe Award, presented to him by Kitty Carlisle, and is a member of ASCAP and AFM Local 802 (NY).
Bernie continues to be an active silent film composer, writing and performing original theatre pipe organ and piano scores for silent film.
He has recently played and produced two Showcase Spectacular events for GSTOS at the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre. Each took the audience back to the 1920’s and featured the Wonder Morton organ in concert, accompanying silent films, silent comedy shorts, vintage cartoons and newsreels, and solo vocalists.