“ABBEY Road number two” was the phrase doing the rounds at the ANU School of Music this morning (May 23) as vice chancellor Brian Schmidt unveiled a new one million-dollar state-of-the-art recording studio that staffers believe will put the school on the map.
On hand was the brains behind the new studio, Music Technology convenor, associate Professor Samantha Bennett, whose unyielding tenacity, had worn down even the seasoned dean of the College of Arts and Social Sciences Professor Paul Pickering and the vice chancellor himself.
Prof Bennett received funding from the ANU to install the industry-leading console and revamp the out-dated studio. The studio includes a custom-made, 48-channel Neve Genesys console, which is an elite audio recording console and the largest of its kind in Australia. It will allow for flexible analogue, digital and hybrid recordings.
“The new studio and console will also be able handle full orchestral recordings, with more than 100 new lines linked to the nearby concert venue Llewellyn Hall,” Professor Bennett said.
Head of the School of Music, Ken Lampl, said the studio would become the facility through which the future “soldiers” studying there would realise their dreams.
Describing the school as “the Phoenix rising from the ashes of a previous legacy,” he said it was a new school, with new staff, and it would be “game-changing”.
Dean Paul Pickering explained that when he had visited the facility some years ago the studio had been “an embarrassing dump” and said it was a tribute to the ANU and its music-loving vice chancellor that it had invested in the developments, which had cost “a lot of money”.
Describing the new studio as “spectacular”, Professor Schmidt rose to the microphone to characterise the day’s events as “a key milestone in taking the school into its next phase”.
“This studio is a platform, I said we needed a school of music that was great,” he said adding that, “for me music has been instrumental to the joy of my life” and that his intention was to keep music and art and culture at the core of the institution’s life.
Praising Professor Lampl and his deputy head, Paul McMahon, he said: “We must make sure this school isn’t just a boring copy of what’s going on elsewhere… we are going to be highly innovative.”
Professor Schmidt predicted that the studio would be “the best in the country”, and would bring talent, both nationwide and worldwide, to the campus, with a capacity to be used in physics and linguistic projects and digital synthesising.
The official invitation that came from the school went a step further, announcing the unveiling as “the first step in asserting the School’s position as the world’s leading 21st century music school”.
Mark Opitz, a visiting fellow at the School and a multi-ARIA award-winning record producer, said: “The School has built a world-class recording facility capable of recording the most intimate solo performance up to a large scale orchestras.”
After the vice chancellor officially cut the ribbon, the morning wound up with a live recording sessions where pianist Aaron Chew played part of a Larry Sitsky piano sonata and Amy Jenkins and Jacqui Douglas from vocal group Kaleid sang an original number.
A very satisfied Professor Bennett played the resulting recordings back to visitors.