Pacific Northwest - GRAMMY U SoundChecks With The Seattle Symphony

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  • Photo: The Recording Academy
  • Photo: The Recording Academy

By: Craig Jaffe, GRAMMY U Pacific Northwest Representative

Pacific Northwest GRAMMY U students had the pleasure of joining GRAMMY-winning orchestral conductor Ludovic Morlot, GRAMMY-nominated audio engineer Dmitriy Lipay, and The Seattle Symphony in a behind-the-scenes tour of their performance venue in Seattle, Benaroya Hall, a Q&A session with Morlot and Lipay, and a chance to watch the Symphony’s dress rehearsal.

Not long after students arrived, Symphony engineer Dmitriy Lipay escorted students through Benaroya Hall’s Grand Lobby and into the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium where The Seattle Symphony was rehearsing for their evening performance of this year’s Sonic Evolution, a musical tribute to Quincy Jones. Students had the pleasure of acting as the audience in an empty and intimate auditorium for both the Symphony and the jazz band from Seattle’s local Garfield High School, as the performance was a collaborative effort by the two ensembles. It was an incredibly enjoyable opportunity to witness two different musical groups join together to create such a beautiful, cohesive, and atmospheric experience. Joined by some guest vocalists, including Grace Love, Morlot and the ensembles played through classic tunes including “Fly Me to the Moon” and “What a Difference a Day Makes.”

After enjoying the dress rehearsal, students were escorted to the Hall’s green room where we met to hold a Q&A session with Morlot and Lipay. Ludovic Morlot inspired students while discussing his passion for creating orchestral music. After beginning with an explanation of his inspiration for Sonic Evolutions, students engaged with the Symphony’s music director by asking questions about managing collaborative efforts between different musical sounds. Along with Lipay, Morlot explained how meshing two different sounds together is technical but beautiful if done right, and included an explanation for audio engineers on how to “space the two different sounds” in both recording and live settings. The two GRAMMY affiliates sang each other’s praises throughout the Q&A, as well, reminding students to seek trust and communication in musical partnerships for the sake of successfully creating quality work.

Once the Q&A finished and Ludovic Morlot returned to the stage for extended rehearsals, Dmitriy Lipay treated the students to a private tour of his recording studio inside Benaroya Hall. Furnished with top-of-the-line production equipment, students studying audio engineering were able to ask Lipay technical questions about proper programming to use when recording different orchestral music. Additionally, Lipay played students some exclusive and un-mastered symphonic content that will be put on an upcoming album.

As the event came to a close, students were presented with the final opportunity to receive tickets to the evening showing of the sold-out Sonic Evolutions. The SoundChecks event acted as a real treat for everyone involved. It was a genuinely enjoyable, knowledgeable, and insightful experience that only GRAMMY U could offer.

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