The University of California, Irvine is home to a celebrated Sound Design program created in 2006. Under the umbrella of the Drama department at the university’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts, the program is spearheaded by Mike Hooker along with Vincent Olivieri, who is the head of the undergraduate sound design program.
Late in 2012, the department added a DiGiCo SD9, DRack and UB MADI into its inventory, which made its debut on a series of student-designed programs this spring.
One of those shows was the Festival of New Musicals, a unique partnership between the university and the Academy for New Musical Theater, a three-decade-old creative incubator.
The alliance paired the talents of professional writers and composers affiliated with the ANMT with UCI students to create the fourth annual festival, staged at UCI’s xMPL – Experimental Media Performance Lab (featuring a flexible seating capacity of 25-150) this spring. One of the festival pieces, ‘Digital Natives’, featured sound design by second year MFA student, Matt Glenn.
“One of the interesting things about the way we run our sound design program here is that, with little exception, all of the equipment we own is independent of venue,” explains Olivieri. “Most of the equipment is kept in storage, in workshop rooms, and when a show is being developed, the sound designers are able to choose the tools that they need for their particular project, and can spec what they need and just plug in and play.”
The SD9 was the first DiGiCo purchased by the school and was chosen by Mike Hooker, UCI’s Head of Sound Design, in conjunction with RSPE Audio Solutions. “We knew that we were looking for a digital console of a certain size,” Olivieri recalls, “something that was beefy and designed for live playback and mid-range in size. The SD9 fitted that bill perfectly as it’s great for a mid-size show like this.”