Violinist Tim Fain talks ‘Black Swan’ and Philip Glass collaboration


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Violinist Tim Fain is a rising star in the classical music world and has appeared at concert halls around the world. But right now, the violinist is enjoying some newfound cinematic exposure thanks to his appearance in Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Black Swan.’ Fain appears onscreen as the soloist who accompanies Natalie Portman in several ballet sequences. His left hand even gets an extended close-up shot as he performs selections from Tchaikovsky’s ‘Swan Lake,’ the ballet that serves as the film’s metaphorical backbone.

Fain, 34, grew up in Santa Monica and is back in Southern California this month for a series of recitals around town featuring music by Philip Glass, Gabriel Fauré and more. He’s scheduled to perform at 2 p.m.Saturday at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Manhattan Beach and 2 p.m. Sunday at the City Hall Municipal Gallery in Beverly Hills. On Jan. 30, he will perform at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in a 6 p.m. program that will be broadcast online.


When we spoke with Fain earlier this week, he explained that he was able to work on ‘Black Swan’ thanks to his relationship with Benjamin Millepied, who served as the movie’s choreographer (and who is now Portman’s fiancé). Fain had previously collaborated with Millepied at New York City Ballet, where the dancer is a principal. In 2005, Fain performed the violin onstage with members of the company in the piece ‘Double Aria,’ which Millepied choreographed.

Fain said that he also had worked with ‘Black Swan’ music editor Nancy Allen on the 2005 movie ‘Bee Season,’ for which he performed the music that is heard when Richard Gere’s character plays the violin.

Fain said that working on ‘Black Swan’ was a creatively fulfilling experience. ‘Darren was adamant about having someone onscreen who could also play great on the soundtrack. It added a whole other level of authenticity to the movie,’ Fain said. He added that the violin you see in the movie is a 1717 instrument created by Francesco Gobetti that is on loan through the Stradivari Society of Chicago.

In the months ahead, Fain will be focusing on collaborations with Glass, including a new solo violin piece that will have its U.S. premiere in New York later this year.

Fain discusses Glass and his other musical influences here.

-- David Ng



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Photo (top): Tim Fain. Credit: Briana Blasko

Photo (bottom): Natalie Portman in ‘Black Swan.’ Credit: Niko Tavernise / Fox Searchlight