Music from the Inside Out

Featuring the musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra, Music from the Inside Out weaves together a mosaic of the stories, ideas, experiences and music making that form the heart of these musicians’ lives, inside and outside the concert hall.

Independent Lens
Premiere Date
May 2, 2006
90 minutes
Funding Initiative
Series and Special Projects

Daniel Anker

Daniel Anker is an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning producer and director of numerous films and television programs. His most recent film, Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and has screened at more than 40 festivals worldwide and on television in more than 20 countries. Anker produced and Show more co-directed the Oscar-nominated film Scottsboro: An American Tragedy, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Primetime Emmy in 2001 after airing on the PBS series American Experience. Music from the Inside Out, completed in 2004, was nominated for the International Documentary Association’s distinguished feature award and has played at numerous festivals, including the Sydney Film Festival, Fullframe Documentary Film Festival, the Valladolid International Film Festival, and AFI-Silverdocs. A graduate of Harvard University with a degree in music, Anker has produced a variety of award-winning programs about music, including the acclaimed children’s series Marsalis on Music and three seasons of the PBS series The Metropolitan Opera Presents. Anker’s other documentary credits include co-producer of the Emmy-nominated American Experience film Daley, The Last Boss and The Magic of La Guardia. His awards and honors include a Peabody Award, four national Emmy Award nominations, the Erik Barnouw Award from the Organization of American Historians, and multiple grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. Show less

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The Film

Music from the Inside Out is a cinematic exploration of music through the stories and artistry of the musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra. The film follows these musicians as they explore what music means in their lives, both inside and outside the concert hall. The resulting stories — of passion, struggle, perseverance, and transcendence — serve to illuminate the role of music in all of our lives.

Filmed over a period of five years on three continents, Music from the Inside Out is the result of a collaboration between the filmmaker and the musicians themselves. Unique in style and approach, the main character of this film is music itself. An eclectic soundtrack incorporates a blend of well-loved musical works — including classical, jazz, bluegrass, salsa, and world music.

It is the musicians themselves who come to the forefront, rather than the conductor or star soloist. Among the many memorable musicians featured are concertmaster David Kim, whose quest for a solo career ends with a life-changing epiphany that led him to the orchestra; trombonist Nitzan Haroz, who jams with a local salsa band each Thursday night; violist and artist Judy Geist, who finds connections between her painting and her music; and cellist Udi Bar-David, an Israeli who initiates a musical collaboration with a prominent Palestinian musician, in which music trumps politics.

While Music from the Inside Out is about the many people within one musical ensemble, it is ultimately a personal musical journey. Each musician’s story reveals a struggle to maintain individuality, to test musical boundaries and to choose the path of an artist. Ultimately, the film attempts to break down the barriers that have long separated orchestra musicians and their audiences, and get to the essence of the music itself.