“A musician really grows up when he hears himself in the recording.” Moscow hosted the International Symposium on recordings of classical music
The 1st International Symposium, “Recording Industry of Academic Music”, began its work in Moscow on October 22. The event, which brought together leading experts in the field of sound recording and representatives of music industry, was held as part of the “Pure Sound” International Award.
It was hosted by the Guild of sound engineers of the Russian Musical Union. On the sidelines of the Symposium, the largest representatives of the recording industry, Russian and foreign musicians, performers, musicologists and producers discussed major issues related to the work of the sound engineer in the digital age.
In his welcoming speech, Alexander Klevitsky, General Director of the Russian Musical Union, composer, Honored Artist of the Russian Federation, said that he was happy to see enthusiastic people in the audience and drew attention to the importance of the sound engineering profession for music in general. “As an acting conductor and person who has worked in the music industry for many years, I can say for sure that without sound specialists there would be no music. Over the past hundred years, this profession has changed a lot, recording tools are constantly being improved, in particular due to the rapid development of show business. I am convinced that a musician, even if he received a higher musical education, really grows up only when he hears himself in the recording. And the quality of recording depends precisely on specialists in this field,” said Klevitsky.
Maria Soboleva, Chairman of the Guild of sound engineers of the Russian Musical Union, professor of Russian State University of Cinematography (VGIK), Moscow State Conservatory, ISI, noted that until recently she could not even imagine that the Guild of sound engineers would be founded and that special awards and forums would be held: “Such events are a great opportunity for professionals to meet, share professional secrets and chat live. We invited wonderful guests to this Forum who will give interesting lectures, master classes, and workshops. Friends, colleagues, professionals gathered here, and I hope that this event will be a great day in our industry.”
Mike Hatch, Founder of Floating Earth Ltd. recording company, said: “Much has changed since I took records from the library, brought them home and recorded them on tapes. Now, audio recordings become available almost immediately, and you can listen to them in the farthest corners of the planet. Recording experts can also exchange opinions, learn about different styles, share experiences and techniques. This greatly enriches our work and improves sound quality. It’s especially great that we gathered today in Russia, a country with rich musical background.”
Further, Mike Hatch gave a lecture and presentation on the topic “The work of a sound engineer in various acoustic conditions.” The expert demonstrated excerpts from vocal and instrumental recordings recorded during live concerts in various halls, and spoke about the technical features of his work and the problems that sound engineers have to deal with.
At the same time, there was a discussion “The role of the media in the development of the recording industry and the popularization of academic music”, moderated by Evgeny Safronov, the chief editor of the “InterMedia” News Agency, journalist, analyst, teacher, expert in the field of culture and the entertainment industry. At the event spoke: Roman Berchenko, the composer, musicologist, PhD in Arts, deputy program director of Orpheus Radio; Petr Vlasov, editor-in-chief of “Culture Mania” portal, writer; Elena Lashchenko, founder of the news agency and the newspaper “Musical Klondike”, founder and CEO of “Art Center Plus” the aggregator of festivals, member of Russian and International Union of Journalists; and Evgenia Krivitskaya, editor-in-chief of “Musical Life” magazine, PhD in Arts, professor of Moscow State Conservatory.
Eugene Safronov, editor-in-chief of the “InterMedia” News Agency, journalist, analyst, teacher, expert in the field of culture and entertainment industry, noted that the very concept of academic music appeared in the USSR in the 30s and 40s of the 20th century, and there is still no exact definition of it: “This term was introduced in order to separate serious music from pop music. When in 2009 Russian government decided to find out what is happening in the country’s philharmonic life and conducted a large-scale study, it turned out that academic music means a wide range of genres – from classical to jazz.” At the same time, Safronov added, what the recording industry now has is the result of extensive work in the 1930s and 1940s, when academic music flourished.
Evgenia Krivitskaya, editor-in-chief of “Musical Life” magazine, PhD in Arts, professor of Moscow State Conservatory, complained “there is no practice in the country of systematic promotion and coverage of the recording industry products in the field of academic music. All information is stored in the public domain, it is easy to get and free of charge, but it does not always come to the attention of the media and the general public. This can be partly explained by the fact that we in Russia are more focused on live sound. Also, I think that we simply have not yet developed a culture of consumption of audio recordings.”
Elena Lashchenko, founder of the news agency and the newspaper “Musical Klondike”, founder and CEO of “Art Center Plus” the aggregator of festivals, member of Russian and International Union of Journalists, supported her colleague Ms. Krivitskaya, “In our busy pace of life, it’s hard to find time for thoughtful listening to serious music, and for most people, the priority is live concerts indeed. Thus, mass media are important for the development of the recording industry, as they create the demand. Here you need to remember that any information platform becomes marketing one. Of course, the task of the media is not limited to advertising; we also have an educational function. But all interaction with the user should take into account the technologies and requirements of the time. The recording industry and mass media are transitioning to digital format, and the following generations of specialists who will do advertising and content will be robots. Neural networks will occupy our jobs, and we also need to be prepared for this future,” warns Lashchenko.
Roman Berchenko, the composer, musicologist, PhD in Arts, deputy program director of Orpheus Radio, also shared his experience in the digital age: “Since we are the only specialized electronic media in Russia devoted to classical music, it is important for us to get access to high-quality audio recordings. For a long time we have been closely cooperating with our domestic flagship recording company “Melody”, we have joint projects dedicated to anniversaries and other significant events. For these projects, we often receive exclusive samples and specially digitized rare archival records.” In addition, Berchenko noted, more and more studios do not release physical media and store music on online resources.
Petr Vlasov, editor-in-chief of “Culture Mania” portal, writer, proposed expanding the discussion topic and talk about the relations between mass media and culture in general: “Our main professional task is to increase the demand for quality culture in society. It is very difficult to do, you need to contrast something with that huge “yellow ocean” of information, constantly and everywhere pouring on people. Here we should turn to the example of literature. We see that its prestige has recently begun to grow, the status of writers has increased, and interest from the public has increased. That happened largely due to the popularization of literary awards, coverage of them by top mass media. I think this is also possible in the recording industry: we must show that high culture is fashionable and prestigious.”
Within the framework of the symposium, specialized master classes were also held: the technical capabilities of Yamaha equipment (Japan), microphones of the companies Oktava (Russia), NikFi (Russia), Nevaton (Russia), Simple Way (Latvia), Sennheiser (Germany) were demonstrated. Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory hosted a series of master classes on restoration and archiving of sound recordings. The first day of the symposium ended with the evening of piano music “Extinguished Suns Fire…” in memory of Boris Yurgenson in the Yurgenson Living Room.