Oberlin Conservatory of Music Launches Joseph R. Clonick Studio

Aug 1, 2011 4:31 PM


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photo of RND 5088

The Rupert Neve Designs 5088 analog console is the centerpiece of the Joseph R. Clonick Studio control room.

The construction of the Clonick Studio is an especially noteworthy achievement in a time when recording studios are declaring bankruptcy due to a rise in more economical, often lesser-quality digital recording formats. "I think that what Oberlin is doing to support the arts is really extraordinary," comments Kirkegaard. "Studios have been closing all over the place for five to 10 years, and here we are building a studio. That's a huge credit to the conservatory and their leadership. A place like Oberlin is in a unique position to build a studio at the highest level and support these artists."

Pianist and composer Hiromi Uehara recently mixed her newest CD with Cleveland-based producer Michael Bishop in the studio's control room. Bishop is one of the studio's first end-users; his Five Four Productions—an audio team formerly associated with Telarc Records comprising Bishop, Robert Friedrich, and Thomas Moore—has 15 technical Grammy Awards to its credit. Bishop says that he and his colleagues typically travel to recording studios in Los Angeles and New York City in order to meet their clients' needs. With the arrival of the Clonick Recording Studio, he is now able to supplement his technical requirements closer to home.

Spearheaded by Kirkegaard and Lynn, plans for the recording studio began in 1999. A desire to rehearse Oberlin's large jazz ensemble inspired the size of the room. Once the dimensions of the space had been determined, acoustic consultants were able to easily turn the space into a recording facility for all kinds of music, taking sound isolation and acoustic treatments into careful consideration. According to Director of Audio Services, Paul Eachus, Oberlin's chief recording engineer, the Clonick Studio "is unique to this region; there just isn't anything like it being built right now."

The facility has also attracted the attention of other luminary musicians. Cellist Zuill Bailey, pianist Orli Shaham, Richard King, principal hornist of the Cleveland Orchestra, and Tod Bowermaster, third hornist of the St. Louis Symphony, are among the distinguished classical musicians that have come to Oberlin to record. Amidst dedication events for the Kohl Building, which houses the Clonick Studio, music legend Stevie Wonder spent 40 minutes playing the new Hamburg Steinway. During a concert appearance in Oberlin in March 2011, Esperanza Spalding—the acclaimed jazz double bassist and vocalist, and winner of the 2011 Grammy Award for Best New Artist (the first jazz musician to ever win the award)—visited the studio and expressed a desire to record there as well.

For more information, visit Oberlin College's Conservatory of MusicOberlin College's Bertram and Judith Kohl Building, rupertneve.com, and www.sterlingmodular.com.

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