Lawo in the mix at The Aspen Music Festival
Wednesday, 13 September 2017
benedictmusicThe centrepiece of the festival is the 2,050-seat Benedict Music Tent
USA - The Aspen Music Festival and School, for decades the presenters of one of the world’s most renowned orchestral music festivals, celebrates its 68th year in 2017. The just-completed Aspen Music Festival and School (known as “AMFS”) encompasses eight weeks every summer, with multiple venues and more than 400 concert events to delight classical music enthusiasts, many of which are broadcast to audiences worldwide.
At such a major music festival, sound quality is paramount, which is why Lawo has chosen to help sponsor the event in years past.
“Lawo’s commitment to the arts fits perfectly with the calibre of creativity that is nurtured by Aspen,” says Lawo North America sales representative Michael Mueller. “That’s why we wanted to make a contribution to this prestigious music festival.”
The mission of AMFS is to train and educate students for a professional career in classical music; the annual festival is an outgrowth of that mission. Each festival season, the AMFS presents as many as 400 performances at locations both on campus and off-site, as well as at various symposiums and master classes.
But the centrepiece of the festival is the 2,050-seat Benedict Music Tent, which is described as combining the acoustics of a concert hall with the ambience of an open-air tent. This is also where AMFS’ Lawo mc256 mixing console plays an indispensable role, delivering a broadcast-quality stereo mix and simultaneous 5.1 surround mix of each performance.
These mixes are digitally recorded and archived by the school’s Edgar Stanton Audio Recording Centre (ESARC) for later use by broadcasting partners such as American Public Media, SiriusXM, Colorado Public Radio, Aspen Public Radio’s KAJX-FM, and the European Broadcast Union.
The AMFS also uses the festival as a learning opportunity for audio engineers. “We are responsible for 200 to 250 events during the Festival,” says Scott Wynne, chief audio engineer of ESARC. “Some years we have returning engineers, but sometimes we have an entirely new staff. For some of them, it’s their very first time using equipment from companies such as Lawo or Neumann.”
Thanks to contributions from a generous benefactor, AMFS recently entered a lease-to-own agreement with Lawo for a 32-fader mc256 MkII mixing console with a Lawo DALLIS frame configured with 32 channels of mic preamplification and 16 channels of audio I/O.
“A couple of years ago our old board died mid-season. You can imagine the stress that caused,” recalls Lisa Nigris, Aspen’s director of audio production. “With our unique mix of 5.1 and stereo recording needs, finding another console that could handle our requirements was really challenging. We had spoken with the Lawo folks, and a few other manufacturers, the previous year at AES so when the convention came around again, discussions became serious and Lawo, the focus. Lawo was willing to step in as a sponsor allowing us to test drive the gear for the entire 2016 season. What a godsend!”
(Jim Evans)

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