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World Premiere Of THE WAY FORWARD Begins at Colburn School April 29

Filmed remotely in Australia, Canada, Finland, England, Spain, and on the Colburn campus in Los Angeles.

The Colburn School presents the online and in-person world premieres of The Way Forward, a 54-minute film which reimagines the concert-going experience for the digital age on Thursday, April 29, 2021 a 12 p.m. PDT.

Tickets for the online premiere are free and registration is required at The screening will be followed by a Q&A at 1 p.m. PDT with director Hamid Shams and artists featured in the film, hosted by Chris Lee, Senior Reporter, Vulture/New York Magazine.

Limited capacity in-person screenings will be held on Friday, April 30, 2021 and Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 5 p.m. at Thayer Hall, and 8 p.m. at Zipper Hall Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at Following guidelines from the LA County Department of Health, screenings will be at 25% capacity and temperature checks, face coverings, and physical distancing are required for all visitors, in addition to other safety protocols.

In the early days of the pandemic, the Colburn School reimagined the traditional concert-going routine as a new cinematic experience that would connect the School's resilient artistic community with a global audience. Filmed remotely in Australia, Canada, Finland, England, Spain, and on the Colburn campus in Los Angeles, The Way Forward is a visually stunning narrative featuring ballet, classical music, jazz, opera, and Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 6, with 17,572 singers from 129 countries. Previewed to a donor audience in 2020, the film is now publicly available for free.

Please visit to watch the trailer.

When director Hamid Shams began work on The Way Forward in 2020, he knew he wanted to showcase the talent, energy and passion of the Colburn School community like never before and without sacrificing production quality. Challenged with the task of directing a film remotely, with the participants filming on mobile devices in many cases, Hamid utilized various apps, technologies, and equipment to create cinema-quality visuals. The result is an imaginative, ingenious film that weaves together individually filmed performances into a seamless experience.

"We conceived of The Way Forward as a tribute to the power of the performing arts and technology to keep us connected during challenging times," said Colburn President Sel Kardan. "The arts landscape has faced extraordinary challenges throughout the pandemic, but the Colburn community continued to create despite the obstacles. Now, as we look to the future with cautious optimism, we take this moment to celebrate the remarkable creativity, flexibility, and resilience of our faculty, students, and alumni artists."

Highlights of The Way Forward include:

  • Composer, conductor, and Colburn faculty member Esa-Pekka Salonen leading an ensemble of 14 Colburn School faculty, students, and alumni in a performance of Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man
  • Soprano Danielle de Niese performing George Frideric Handel's "Già nel seno," based on a fragment from Handel's Lucrezia
  • A performance of Felix Mendelssohn's Octet in E-flat Major, Op. 20 (IV. Presto) by the Calidore String Quartet and Viano String Quartet
  • A dance and music performance of Gabriel Fauré's Après un rêve, with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Colburn School's Artist-in-Residence
  • Composer and pianist Kris Bowers joining students from Colburn School's Community School of Performing Arts for a performance of Thelonius Monk's Evidence
  • Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 6: Sing Gently made in collaboration with the Colburn School and the NAMM Foundation

Hamid Shams has been a filmmaker for over 35 years, traveling the world and working on commercials, short and feature films, both narratives and documentaries, working with both large and small crews, as well as on solo projects. He was director of photography, producer, and editor on The Cellist, a documentary on Gregor Piatigorsky released in 2018, and he has collaborated with Scottish director, Murray Grigor, on six other feature documentaries, including Infinite Space, and The Architect of John Lautner.

In 2021, Hamid completed Land & Sky, his second film created remotely, focused on the Tippet Rise Art Center in Fishtail, Montana. The documentary features dramatic footage of the Tippet Rise landscape, interviews with Tippet Rise artists, and performances by Colburn alumni ensemble the Calidore String Quartet, and will premiere publicly on May 20, 2021.

In addition to featuring renowned faculty and alumni, The Way Forward represents all four academic units of the school - the Conservatory of Music, The Music Academy, the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute, and the Community School of Performing Arts.

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