The film stars two acclaimed musicians: Philippe Quint, a world-renowned, classical violinist, and Nellie McKay, a singer-songwriter whose songs, part jazz, part sparkly pop, are noted for their wit and quirky humor. Quint’s role in Downtown Express marks the first time that a classical musician has been featured as the lead in an American film.
Set in the world of Russian immigrants living in New York City, Downtown Express uses music toexplore the clash of old world values against the lure and excitement of a new country. Under the watch of his loving but overbearing father, virtuoso violinist and Juilliard student Sasha (Grammy nominee Philippe Quint) prepares for a critical recital meant to launch his career. Yet, he is increasingly drawn to the rhythms of the streets of New York, and when he meets singer-songwriter Ramona (acclaimed recording artist Nellie McKay), he joins her band, falls in love, and begins to lead a double life, careening frantically between two worlds. As his classical debut nears, Sasha must decide whether to break with his father and forge his own destiny.
Philippe Quint (Sasha)
A four-time Grammy Award nominee violinist, Philippe Quint has emerged in recent years as one of the few soloists to combine a remarkable degree of lyricism, poetry and impeccable virtuosity. He has gripped the eyes and ears of audiences around the world with what The Times (London) describes as his “bravura technique, and unflagging energy.” Quint’s latest album will be released worldwide on March 27.
Nellie McKay (Ramona)
“McKay is funny and touching, ceaselessly clever and scarily talented,” writes the New Yorker. Since her audacious double-album debut Get Away From Me, Nellie McKay has been a creative dynamo, releasing five critically acclaimed albums, including her most recent, Home Sweet Mobile Home, and two shows, including the “brilliant, zany” (New York Times) I Want to Live! and ‘Silent Spring – It’s Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature,’ a tribute to Rachel Carson, running March 20 – 31st at Feinstein’s in NYC.
90 minutes/not rated