AES Oral History Project debuts on DVD

AES executive director Roger Furness has announced the culmination of the first phase of the Audio Engineering Society Oral History Project. Initiated in 1997 by AES member Irv Joel, the project was envisioned as an opportunity to provide insights into the creative and technical mindsets of the founding fathers of professional audio for future generations.

“Irv Joel’s stature in the industry provided him with unique personal access to each of the brilliant innovators featured in these DVDs,” Furness said. “Working single-handedly to coordinate and videotape over 100 one-on-one interviews, he has created an anthology of conversations with the pioneers who shaped our industry.”

Joel enlisted pro audio veteran Harry Hirsch to edit the voluminous material into a series of DVDs. Working with Final Cut Pro, Hirsch devoted himself to gleaning the most salient and informative material from the original material and to shaping them into compelling narratives.

Premiered at the AES 60th Anniversary Celebration sponsored by the New York section on March 11, excerpts from the AES Oral History Project provided tantalizing anecdotes by legendary Columbia Records engineer Frank Laico (Dylan, Miles Davis, Streisand, Sinatra); Louis Goodfriend, first editor of the Journal of the AES; Norman Pickering, pioneer in phonograph cartridge design; and Les Paul, the innovator of multitrack recording. Among the others included are: Michael Dorrough, Academy Award-winning audio innovator and broadcast industry pioneer; the late John M. Eargle of JBL Professional; scientist Kees A.S. Immink, known as "Father of the CD;" and acoustical consultant Alex Balster, a key CD technology developer.

“This AES Oral History Project will be an inspiration to current and future members of the professional audio community, and in particular to the many college, university and dedicated pro audio schools, which have proliferated throughout the world,” Furness said. “The AES has a deep commitment to the support of education, and we are confident that this ongoing library of interviews with the lions of our industry will be of lasting value. Our plan is to release the complete set of DVD interviews over the next 12 months as they become available. Additionally, we will continue the work that Irv Joel began back in 1997. There is a long and growing list of candidates for future interviews, and we fully expect this project to remain an AES priority.”

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