“If I could work with "D" (Donald Rubinstein) on every film I ever made, I’d do it...He comes into the room, wants to know what the film’s about, and then works with you to completely realize the film for what it’s meant to be. He’s the purest guy I’ve ever worked with." George A. Romero, Director 2007

“George Romero’s deeply disturbing portrait of a modern day ‘vampire’ comes with an equally chilling score – haunting, minimalist jazz penned and performed by pianist-poet Donald Rubinstein…High art. One of the top 100 coolest film scores of all time.” Mojo Magazine 2002



Martin (1977) Directed by George A. Romero, score

Knightriders (1981) Directed by George A. Romero, score

Tales From The Darkside (1984-1987) Main Title and episodic music, Television Series. score

Monsters (1988) Main title Television Series, score

Tales From The Darkside: The Movie (1990) Directed by John Harrison, score

The Summer of My Deflowering (1999) Directed by Susan Streitfeld, score

Bruiser (2000) Directed by George A. Romero, score

Pollock (2000) Directed by Ed Harris, (Commissioned, Unused Score)

Tangled Up In Bob (2007) Directed by Mary Feidt, score and songs

The Open Door (2008) Directed by Doc Duhame, songs

Appaloosa (2008) Directed by Ed Harris, song co-written with Ed Harris for soundtrack release.

Dirty Step Upstage (2009) Directed by Amber Moelter, score

Absolutely Nothing Next 22 Miles, A Fugue For Motorcycle (2012) Directed by Miguel Grunstein, score

Unlikely Friends (2012) Directed by Leslie Neale, songs

Blender (2015) Directed by Susann Reck, score

Cold City Heaven (2017) Directed by Donald Rubinstein, score

Painting / Unpainting (2017) Video by James Drake, Music by Donald Rubinstein


                           Shadow In Your Street    

                         Shadow In Your Street




George A. Romero's 'Martin': On Lasting Intimacy with a Cult Cinema Vampire (excerpt)

“A key influence on a film viewer's impression of story and character, which the novel cannot help but lack is, of course, the soundtrack. Donald Rubinstein's experimental soundtrack for Martin -- a baroque fusion of jazz, string quartet, and electronic piano -- was named one of the "Top 100 Coolest Soundtracks of All Time" by Mojo music magazine. Copyrighted in 1977, it's been released on vinyl in 1979 by Varèse Sarabande Records, on CD in 1999 by Level Green, on CD in 2007 by Perseverance Records, on limited blood-red vinyl in 2015 by Ship to Shore PhonoCo., and it's currently streaming on Amazon Prime. I vividly remember finding a used copy of it at my college town record store, gasping comically only to be mesmerized by Martin's dark and staring eyes on the cover, his mouth smeared with blood.

Rubinstein wrote poetry at a young age and his turn to music studies was intensely personal, enough for him to say it was a "calling" of the highest order. Is it coincidence that Martin's main title, the first track on his first-ever soundtrack, is called "The Calling"? Martin's calling seems ambiguous, however, requiem-like with wordlessly beckoning vocals by soprano Betty Silberman. In later tracks, scoring the "flashbacks", a female voice calls Martin's name repeatedly. Is his calling a call back to vampirism or away from it, toward a healthy, mutual intimacy, if also a tragic fate? I was able to ask Donald Rubinstein about this and he answered that "The Calling" refers to "an almost iconic part of any seeker's 'journey.' One is called, from both without and within. Here," he said, meaning as the main title plays, "it comes from the train's late night howl." The title Martin is superimposed over the headlight of the train Martin rides to his new life in Braddock.

Though Rubinstein does not claim to relate to Martin as a character, he told me he "did relate to the sadness surrounding him, and the confused sense of injustice which blanketed the film." Rubinstein stresses how much his output is owed to the nuanced script and to an in-sync dynamic between composer and director, "an immediate, deeply felt creative connection" that Rubinstein also calls "creative camaraderie". Rubinstein took full advantage of the freedom Romero allowed him, creating a psychological soundscape in turn wistful-gloomy and anxiously discordant. He told the horror movie website BloodyDisgusting, "I adapted my own personal hybrid of jazz, contemporary classical (including synths), and folk music because it was my language. It was how I spoke."

To convey Rubinstein's style, Jez Winship throughout his analysis of the film relies on comparisons to: Hitchcock composer Bernard Herman, Krzysztof Komeda's score for Polanski's Dance of the Vampires, impressionistic pianist Bill Evans, free jazz saxophonist Ornette Colman, jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, and other '70s-era "jazz fusioneers". This is in addition to mentions of scurrying piano motifs, minimalist phrases, glassy chordal structures, pastoral flute, "old country" violin, friction drums, cymbal sounds, church bells, and nocturnal stridulation. Rubinstein also credits ARP strings and the phase shifter attached to his electric piano.

At a less-is-more 36 minutes, Rubinstein's soundtrack for Martin is packed with innovation and psychological ticks. Dealt like a Rorschach test for the ear, the 22 tracks often feel like sound poems to me, as experienced apart from the movie, at any rate, when the scenes they correspond to fade into a mental backdrop. The music creeps or frets about one's personal space, neurotically scoring one's life, a mood-piece as introspective as it is prismatic. I asked Rubinstein if, when meeting fans like myself, do they tend to speak of the soundtrack in personal terms? "Yes, they have done so," he said, expressing gratitude and speaking of it as "a creative and emotional bond." A bond on par with fan response to the film itself, evidence of just how deeply idiosyncratic, how rightly fused, are Romero's film and Rubinstein's music.”    

A. Loudermilk, Mar 16, 2018

full article: