Judith Sherman: Producing Music Recordings 

The 19th and 20th centuries witnessed unforeseen human ingenuity.  The historian Walter Russell Mead describes that ingenuity, writing, “The Industrial Revolution and the scientific revolution that accompanied it made it possible for ordinary people to live lives of affluence and security that would have astounded the court of Louis XIV. Automobiles, radios, vacuum cleaners, televisions, and so on transformed the material existence of the masses as well as of the elites. At the same time, the revolution in health care brought a multitude of diseases under control, extended life spans by decades, and found new ways to dull the pain of surgery and childbirth” (Foreign Affairs, May/June 2018).  One of those incredible feats of human ingenuity was to capture live sound on disk-like objects.  The sound “recorded” on those disks could be recreated on mobile speaker-like instruments, effectively freeing live sound from time and place and transporting it into the future.  Recording has always been the essential characteristic of Western music: we are taught that Western music began when Carolingian monks were dispatched to European cathedrals, armed with written musical “notes” to Gregorian chant.  If the standardization of written recordings is considered the birth of Western music, then mechanical reproductions of soundwaves must be Western music’s 20th-century rebirth.  Judith Sherman has worked as a producer in the music recording industry for over fifty years now and, for her contributions to her profession, has been awarded fifteen Grammys by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (now called the Recording Academy) – seven of them for “Producer of the Year”.  Judith joins Vienna Live to give us an exclusive look at what a classical music record producer does.  Come welcome Judith to our show!

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