This past weekend saw the Broadway Sound Master Classes come and go, kicking off with a performance of Hair Friday evening, followed by two days of sessions with top sound designers, technology presentations from sponsoring manufacturers, and an awards reception Saturday evening.
Creative consultant Abe Jacob kicked off Saturday’s sessions with opening remarks, followed by sessions including Growing Hair, Then and Now, with Nevin Steinberg and Sten Severson of Acme Sound Partners, plus Jacob; Darron L. West’s lively discussion on collaborating with actors and directors; Jonathan Deans' keynote address, and Henry Cohen's look at the changing RF landscape, with Chris Lyons of Shure and Joe Ciaudelli of Sennheiser.
Deans was his usual hilarious self, dividing the room into “geeks” (students and professors) and “nerds” (working professionals) and pitting them against each other in the sound design version of Family Feud, with questions based on the future of sound design. The nerds won, but only by five points in a lively, thought-provoking debate that really got the conversation going.
Saturday evening, the Live Design Sound Products of the Year were presented at City Winery on Varick Street at a reception sponsored by Meyer Sound. Honored were products chosen by an independent panel of working sound designers:
Console: Digico SD8
Loudspeaker: Meyer Sound UPQ Series
Microphone: Sennheiser MKE-1
Distribution: Energy Transformation Systems (ETS) SDS887 Distribution Hub
Sunday, another day of sessions, included Bob McCarthy on System Design And Optimization, who first showed his list of theatre design credits (nada, none, zip, never heard of him), which underscored the fact that he is, indeed, not a designer but rather the technical guru who “prepares the canvases for artists like Jonathan, Nevin, and Abe to paint.” The point is that McCarthy deals with the physics and reality of sound design, honing in on system optimization, so the designers can focus on the creative process.
Also presenting Sunday were Scott Lehrer on How To Respect The Sonic World Of A Classic American Musical Using Appropriate New Technologies And Good Old Fashioned Physics, Duncan Edwards presenting Sound design for the Beijing Olympics, and John Taylor of d&b audiotechnik and Ken Jacob of Bose Professional on Archiving Theatre Sound In A Meaningful Way.
Corporate sponsors to the Broadway Master Classes include:
Apollo Design Technology
Strong Entertainment Lighting
Nemetschek by Vectorworks
Mentors to the Broadway Master Classes include:
Acme Sound Partners
Fisher Marantz Stone
Number Nine/Brendan Gray
Philips Color Kinetics
Wally Russell Foundation