Classical Music Recording

In the Classical Music Recording major, students study the artistic sound design of serious music and spoken language on sound recording media. Key elements of the course are the selection and positioning of the microphones, editing, and absolute familiarity with the latest technologies. Prominence is given to developing and training the hearing and a creating a feel for sounds of high artistic quality. The course also deals with recording psychology and seeks to develop the participants’ sense of judgment with regard to aspects of playing technique and interpretation in the field of classical music. In Benno Müller vom Hofe's seminar, students can acquire knowledge of audio play production.


Claude Debussy "La Mer"

In November 2015, the Symphony Orchestra of the Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf performed La Mer by Claude Debussy under the baton of Prof. Rüdiger Bohn. Student in the IMM upper-level Classical Music Recording module recorded rehearsals of the work at the Partikasaal auditorium of the Music Conservatory.
Over a two-day period under the supervision of Prof. Dagmar Birwe, 110 separate takes using a total of 40 microphones were recorded and subsequently mixed and edited by sound engineers Hari Yim (responsible for the first movement) and Simon Schwär (second and third movements). The control room adjoining the auditorium as well as additional IMM equipment were used for the recording session. Sound engineers Armin Badde and Valentin Link completed the recording team.
Simon Schwär received an Honorable Mention at the Student Recording Competition at the 139th AES Convention in Paris for his surround sound audio mixing of the 2nd movement.


Eric Ewazen "Ballade, Pastorale and Dance: Flute, Horn, and Piano"

As part of the upper-level Classical Music Recording module of Prof. Dagmar Birwe collaboration with selected chamber music ensembles of the Robert Schumann Hochschule will be broadened. A strong focus will be placed on musical performance and interpretation but also on communication between the artists and the recording engineers in charge. Tonal and technical aspects also play an important role in production work.
On July 2, 2016 the Ballad for Flute (Marie-Luise Kerkau), Horn (Alexander Wening) and Piano (Ani Ter-Martirosyan) by Eric Ewazen being produced at the Partika-Saal concert auditorium. Celia Ruiz Artacho is the head sound engineers on IMM LAWO audio production console, Sebastian Fecke the tape operator, and Ben Winkler and Lukas Hierl the assistant auditorium/audio engineers. Daniel Przemus was the audio engineer in charge of the recording and worked with musicians and students in the module on post-production.
Technical considerations were also given emphasis thanks to the use of a motor-driven remote control microphone-stereo rail prototype (see photograph) developed by Audio and Video students Max Bier and Lukas Hierl. Winner of a Gold Award in the Student Design Competition at this at this year’s AES Convention, the rail prototype solution allows completely silent and infinitely variable adjustment of the distance between the two main microphones and their angle of placement.


Overture to the Flying Dutchman

In his composition Overture to the Flying Dutchman as sight-read by a bad spa orchestra at 7 in the morning by the fountain Paul Hindemith created a musical parody of Wagner’s grandiose overture to the Flying Dutchman by arranging the work for string quartet and including wrong notes and intentionally sloppy performance in the score. This makes performing the piece quite a challenge while also leaving much leeway in its interpretation. Quartets can either stick exactly to Hindemith’s score or take it a little further in the spirit of the title.
In this interpretation by the Iris String Quartet (first violin: Sebastian Gäßlein, second violin: Katharina Lemberg, viola: Simon Doggenweiler-Denkhaus, cello: Lea-Maria Haas) they adhered closely to the score, performing a close reading of the piece while rendering Hindemith’s humor in the most precise detail. For this recording audio engineer Joan Lennard Schubert dispensed with supporting microphones and worked with only a main and room microphone set-up. Based on this purist approach, an optimal result is achieved in recording the ensemble as a tonal unit while still also bringing out detail.
The recording was part of the final exam in the upper-level Classical Music Recording module in the winter semester of 2015/16 and was also published on a CD commemorating the Bundesland’s 70th anniversary of statehood and entitled Musikalische Wegweiser [Musical Guideposts] by the North Rhine-Westphalian state government together with the Hochschule für Musik Detmold and Düsseldorf’s Robert Schumann Hochschule. 


Cooperation with Festival Junger Künstler Bayreuth [Bayreuth Young Artists Festival]

The aim of the Bayreuth Young Artists Festival is to bring young musicians together from many parts of the world and offer them artistic training in various master classes as well as chamber music, choral and orchestral projects. In 2006 the festival signed a cooperation agreement with the Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf. Ever since, students in the Audio and Video and Music and Media bachelor's programs have regularly taken part in the festival by attending 3- to 4-day audio engineering workshops. Not only do these workshops bring musicians together from a wide range of countries, the exchange of experience in all areas of popular music production is also a key area of focus.
Once again in 2014, twelve IMM students were able to gain experience running projects and recording classical music at the Bayreuth Young Artists Festival. The IMM team was coordinated by two Music and Media majors, Jeff Schiltz and Kai Detlefsen. Matthias Kulow, an Audio and Video major, was responsible for completing an image film about the broad variety of work by IMM students at the festival. 


Erich Wolfgang Korngold's score for “The Sea Hawk”

IMM students were responsible for the live recording of rehearsals and concerts for the program Willkommen in Deutschland - Entartete Musik [Welcome to Germany – Degenerate Art] featuring the Toten Hosen and the Robert Schumann Hochschule Symphony Orchestra.
Two outside broadcast sound control units were set up for the three concerts at the Düsseldorf Tonhalle concert hall. The sound control units handled the 130 microphone feeds and the connection to the video control ensured and a detailed mixing/balancing of three live concert recordings prepared. 

IMM students David Ropertz and Charel Bourkel were the artistic recording directors for the project module in the Music and Media bachelor's program.
The project was supervised by Prof. Werner Roth, Prof. Dagmar Birwe and IMM assistant professor Stephan Friedrich. The film music from The Sea Hawk by Erich Wolfgang Korngold was also on the concert program. Charel Bourkel was in charge of post-production for the work by Korngold.