/ Peter Edwin Krasinski ’76: The Making of The Holdovers

“The feeling in the chapel was overwhelmingly positive—such joy, anticipation, and knowing your part of something bigger.” – Peter Edwin Krasinski ‘76 

The Holdovers, a new film set during winter break at a New England prep school in 1970, opens with the voice of a choral director, leading his students into “Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem”. This is the voice of Peter Edwin Krasinski, an accomplished organist, conductor, music educator, and proud 1976 (G)BYSO alum.

Peter specializes in live improvised silent film accompaniment, which has brought him around the world and earned him wide acclaim. Over two years ago, in a departure from his usual roles, Peter accepted a role as a Long-Term Substitute Music Director at Saint Mark’s School in Southborough, Massachusetts. “Returning to teaching after working as an independent performer was a great joy,” Peter recounts, “I always learn so much from my students.” Soon after joining Saint Mark’s, Peter heard about a movie filming on campus, and that a role needed to be filled. Before he knew it, Peter was in touch with Boston Casting and became the film’s credited Choir Leader, Choral Music Arranger, as well as Organist, and Off-Screen Music Advisor.

What followed was a joyful collaboration on set, creating a magical film that Peter feels grateful to have been a part of. Thinking back, he recalls, “Although we’re all in masks, and we all have to be very cautious to follow COVID protocols, the feeling in the chapel was overwhelmingly positive—such joy, anticipation, and knowing your part of something bigger.” Peter’s sentiment speaks to his longstanding belief in the power of music to bring people together—something that his BYSO (then GBYSO) experience shaped from the beginning.

The Chapel Set

On the set of The Holdovers, Director Alexander Payne, Second Assistant Director John Nasraway, and the entire cast and crew created an environment where everyone was valued and involved in the process. Similar to how Peter’s conductors in BYSO worked with their orchestra, Director Alexander Payne worked collaboratively with the cast. Throughout the process, Peter was reminded of the rehearsal process he experienced in GBYSO: listening to those around you to create something powerfully emotive together.

Academy award-winning actress, Da’Vine Joy Randolph with Peter Krasinski

While Peter later migrated more towards the organ than his original GBYSO violin, the lessons he learned in GBYSO have been a common thread throughout his career. “To be good, you have to be focused—and GBYSO taught me how to focus on the music,” he recounts. Practicing effectively by breaking down pieces to truly understand them is a crucial element of Peter’s organ expertise. Aside from carrying these life-long skills with him, Peter also holds fond memories of his formative time at Camp in Maine and his conductors, especially Walter Eisenberg—“They always asked for slightly more than what we thought we could do—and that push brought good to excellent, and still does today”.

Peter Edwin Krasinski with Director Alexander Payne

After his time in GBYSO, Peter went on to obtain a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education and Organ Performance, followed by a Master of Sacred Music Degree, both from Boston University. Throughout everywhere Peter’s career takes him, from silent film accompaniment to music education to the big screen, BYSO cultivated an energetic and determined attitude towards music that he carries with him today.

See his performance calendar at WWW.KRASINSKI.ORG

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Are you, or someone you know, a BYSO alum with an interesting story or life update to share? Contact Jeanne Bedard, Development Associate, at or (617) 358-6119