PBS Presents Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music to Premiere at SXSW
ARLINGTON, VA; March 14, 2016 – Music and film lovers at South by Southwest® will be the first to get a sneak peek at SOUNDBREAKING: STORIES FROM THE CUTTING EDGE OF RECORDED MUSIC, an upcoming eight-episode PBS series that explores the extraordinary impact of recorded music on the modern world. SOUNDBREAKING was the last project produced by legendary music producer Sir George Martin who passed away on March 8. The series combines unprecedented access to some of the most celebrated music artists, producers and innovators with rare archival studio footage and an extensive musical soundtrack, to deliver one of the most wide-ranging series on the art of music recording. SOUNDBREAKING will broadcast on PBS stations weekdays from November 14-23, 2016 at 10:00 p.m. ET (check local listings). The first two of its eight one-hour episodes will premiere at South by Southwest® (SXSW) in Austin, Texas with screenings on March 14, 16 and 17 as part of the Festival’s “24 Beats Per Second” line-up.
Charting a century's worth of innovation and experimentation in the creation of music, SOUNDBREAKING offers a behind-the-scenes look at the birth of brand new sounds. From the invention of the microphone to the Moog synthesizer, from the phonograph to digital streaming, SOUNDBREAKING moves between past and present to tell the stories behind the sounds, and reveals how innovation redefined not only what we listen to and how we listen to it, but our very sense of what music is and can be. Fast-paced and music-driven, viewers of all ages will hear the songs they love in a whole new way.
“SOUNDBREAKING gives viewers a backstage pass with full access to some of the most ground-breaking moments in recorded music,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming at PBS. “It is a natural fit for our diverse, music-loving PBS audience. We look forward to sharing it with viewers in November, and we’re excited to give the SXSW community a first glimpse.”
The eight-episode series features over 150 exclusive and original interviews, including: Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Joni Mitchell, Roger Waters, Roger Daltrey, Linda Perry, Barry Gibb, Elton John, Debbie Harry, Quincy Jones, B.B. King, Annie Lennox, Dave Stewart, Mark Knopfler, Tom Petty, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Lindsey Buckingham, Rosanne Cash, Don Was, Steven Van Zandt, Sheila E, Questlove, Ben Harper, Billy Idol, Beck, Imogen Heap, Darryl McDaniels, RZA, Bon Iver, Nile Rodgers, Nigel Godrich, Q-tip, Brian Eno, Mark Ronson, Rick Rubin, Tony Visconti and more.
“Music is the only common thread and universal language that binds us together regardless of race, nationality, age or income. And, recorded music is how we experience it and what makes it accessible,” Sir George Martin said of the project prior to his passing. The six-time GRAMMY® Award winner and recipient of the Recording Academy Trustees Award, and producer of more than 50 number-one hit records added, “SOUNDBREAKING afforded me the opportunity to tell the story of the creative process of so many of the artists I have worked with throughout my life.”
SOUNDBREAKING is presented by Higher Ground in association with the late Sir George Martin, and produced and directed by Emmy and Peabody Award®-winning filmmakers Maro Chermayeff and Jeff Dupre of Show of Force (Half the Sky, A Path Appears, Carrier, Circus, Marina Abramovic The Artist is Present). The television series is the centerpiece of a multi-platform project that includes an extensive educational outreach initiative in partnership with PBS, The GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. LIVE and The Rock and Roll Forever Foundation. An interactive website, companion DVD/home video series, soundtrack CD, and companion book with stunning photographs and unique interviews, will accompany the SOUNDBREAKING series.
“It took a wonderful team of highly seasoned producers many years to create this special and utterly unique series that we know the PBS audience will love,” said Maro Chermayeff, Partner at Show of Force. “With access to rare material from the vast music archives of major and independent record labels as well as special archival sources and collections, including some never publicly seen behind-the-scenes footage, this series breaks new ground and is frankly just incredibly fun to watch.”
“As a co-creator, Sir George Martin was the inspiration and intellectual force behind the Soundbreaking project,” said Higher Ground founder David Langstaff. “He was involved with all phases of the project and was immensely proud of the way these great stories were being told. The fact that so many extraordinary singers, songwriters, producers, and other artists came together to tell their stories is a testament to the respect and love they hold for Sir George, and the widespread recognition of his impact on the evolution of recorded music.”
Organized thematically, each episode of SOUNDBREAKING tells stories of pop music icons using their determination, ingenuity and guts to create works of art that have touched us all. Stories within the episodes include:
- George Martin and the Beatles' groundbreaking work in the studio creates a new paradigm for pop music
- Phil Spector's rise as the first 'rock star producer'
- Paul Epworth's collaboration with Adele on "Rolling in the Deep"
- Stevie Wonder embraces the synthesizer and makes a break with Motown
- Giorgio Moroder fuses R&B with electronica and the dance floor explodes
- The art of sampling gives rise to hip hop
- Michael Jackson and Madonna take the art of the music video to new heights
- Miles Davis and Marvin Gaye use the long-playing record for new kinds of expression
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About Higher Ground
Higher Ground is the creator of the SOUNDBREAKING entertainment brand. The firm was founded by David H. Langstaff and a small group of music lovers to produce the SOUNDBREAKING project, which grew out of a relationship between Sir George Martin and the Langstaff family. Through SOUNDBREAKING, Higher Ground aims to educate audiences on the relatively brief history of sound recording – just over one hundred years – which is one of the most important stories of the twentieth century.
About Show of Force
Show of Force was founded in 2006 by veteran film and television producers Maro Chermayeff and Jeff Dupre and is known for creating award-winning feature documentaries, event television series and groundbreaking transmedia projects. Their work includes the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present for HBO, Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace, the 2014 SXSW Jury Prize winner for Best Documentary Short; Mann v. Ford, a feature-length documentary for HBO; the 6-hour PBS series Circus; and the Emmy Award-winning 10-hour PBS series Carrier. Their projects A Path Appears and Emmy Honors recipient Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, based on the bestselling books by the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, were broadcast on PBS/Independent Lens. These multi-platform initiatives reached more than 50 million people worldwide, garnered some 3 billion media impressions and included mobile games and a Facebook game with over 2 million players worldwide. Further information can be found at: www.showofforce.com, @SOFfilm, @SOFsocialgood.
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