In the wee hours of Monday, February 9th last year, media outlets throughout the region were scrambling, "going to press" with their coverage of a hometown team that had just hit it out of the park. The venue wasn't Busch Stadium this time; it was Powell Hall. The St. Louis Symphony brought home the 2014 Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance during the 57th Annual Recording Academy's Annual ceremony. The award was for the Symphony's stunning performance of City Noir by renowned American composer John Adams. The Symphony was conducted by Music Director David Robertson for a recording released on Nonesuch Records. This latest Grammy win is in recognition of an incredibly rich, dynamic piece of music, performed by one of the most esteemed Symphony Orchestras in the nation, if not the world.
Paul Hennerich, lead recording engineer for the Symphony and owner of the Pan Galactic Co. is understandably proud of the tireless work he does for the Symphony. Last year's Grammy was a proud moment for the whole organization. Most recording engineers only get to dream about working on a recording that receives the industry's highest honor, the Grammy. Naturally Paul is thrilled that his contributions have played a part in the St. Louis Symphony's seventh Grammy win!
There are numerous facets to recording orchestral music and Paul must be on top of each of them in order for the Symphony's recordings to sound as good as the musicians play. Paul is assisted by Pan Galactic's indispensable recording engineer Boris Golynskiy. On performances intended for release on Nonesuch Records, including City Noir, Pan Galactic provides critical support for engineer, Richard King who oversees the recordings on behalf of Nonesuch Records. Every audio team knows that the fruits of their labor are only as good as the material and musical performance they work to capture. In
the case of Pan Galactic and Nonesuch, there's no need to worry about the quality of the material and of the performance. We are talking about the St. Louis Symphony after all!
Enter composer John Adams...
and his critically acclaimed 2010 composition, City Noir. The composer has described the work as "jazz inflected symphonic music". The work evokes the imagery of 1930's Los Angeles Film Noir. The composition transports you entirely into that world. The Symphony gave two electrifying performances of the work in February 2013, for which the composer was in attendance.
Why Not Keep A Good Thing Going?
The chemistry between the St. Louis Symphony, Pan Galactic, John Adams and Nonesuch is undeniable. Back in 2009, Nonesuch featured a release that included a St. Louis Symphony performance of John Adams' acclaimed, Dr. Atomic Symphony. Fast forward to early October of 2015 and Pan Galactic will again be overseeing the recording of a work by John Adams for Nonesuch. For this latest endeavor, the Symphony has commissioned an original work by Adams. The piece is a Saxophone Concerto, which will feature soloist Timothy McAllister. Mr. Adams will again be in attendance for the Oct. 5th and 6th performances at Powell Hall.
Wouldn't you show up if the St. Louis Symphony were playing your music?
The Harman Studer Vista 5 Console...
For this latest Grammy, a key new factor in the St. Louis Symphony's recording approach mustn't go overlooked. Paul Hennerich was tasked with consulting the Symphony on the purchase of a new digital recording console. The Symphony needed a console that would deliver the audio quality of their existing set up, while providing additional routing options. Paul needed to meet expanding workflow requirements due to the growing relationship with Nonesuch Records as well as partnerships with PBS and NPR. For any symphony orchestra, a recording console upgrade is a critical investment. To continue bringing the St. Louis Symphony's music to wider audiences in digital 96K audio quality that classical music requires, Paul chose a Harman Studer Vista 5. The engineer's experience and instinctual approach in the recording and mixing of classical music allowed him to choose the ideal console to meet the Symphony's growing needs.
“For our recordings with Nonesuch, the Vista 5 was one of the few consoles that had the ability to do high-resolution recordings that we needed to track,” Hennerich said last October. “And, of course, the sound quality is phenomenal, so the console hit all the requirements we had.”
>> Paul Hennerich
Take a Minute to Celebrate, then... Back to Work!
The story of this Grammy is truly one of those magical artistic endeavors where all the stars seem to fall into alignment. If you were in the audience for the City Noir performances, or if you've had the recording on repeat in your car since it's release, it is immediately apparent to all who listen that this achievement, this magic is no accident. It is the result of a collaborative effort from a group of very talented, hard working individuals.
It is the result of...
the splendor of a composition that drenches it's audience in the romantic atmosphere of Film-Noir; a group of phenomenal musicians, (some of the finest in the nation); a conductor with the instinctual ability to pull from his orchestra the nuances of style they are known for and finally, an audio team that knew just how to execute the complex, yet delicate task of capturing the moment, enhancing where possible but never, never interfering!
When consulted for this piece, Paul returned answers via text from symphony rehearsals at Powell. The work goes on. Expect more from Pan Galactic's role with the St. Louis Symphony in seasons to come. In a world full of "manufactured" music, it is truly a blessing for us all that the talent and passion still exists to bring us pure, immediate, stunning music that takes you somewhere else. This is the kind of music that never, ever fails to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up!
For further information about the St. Louis Symphony and their latest Grammy visit:
To learn more about the powerful Studer Vista 5 by Harman go to:
For an excellent article from Mix Magazine on Pan Galactic's implementation of the Harman Studer Vista 5:
More about Paul's use of the Studer Vista 5:
To sample coverage from St. Louis' major news media:
KTVI-TV FOX 2:
STLToday.com/The St. LouisPost-Dispatch:
St. Louis Business Journal:
KTRS-AM/ABC News Radio:
http://www.ktrs.com/st-louis-symphony-scores-a-grammy/Explore St. Louis:http://explorestlouis.com/2015/02/09/louis-symphony-grammy/
For more information about composer John Adams and Nonesuch Records:
Official Nonesuch site:
Follow Composer John Adams on Facebook: