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AES Celebrates 60th Anniversary

Pictured at the AES 60th anniversary event, from left: Irv Joel and Harry Hirsch of the Oral History Project; New York Section Committee member David Bialik; past President Floyd Toole; Executive Director Roger Furness; incoming President Jim Anderson; and New York Section Chair Noah Simon.

On March 11 2008, 60 years to the day of its formation, the
Audio Engineering Society (AES) celebrated its Diamond anniversary in New York City, the city of its birth. The small, dedicated group of professional audio engineers introduced in 1948 has grown to more than 14,000 members and 169 sections in 48 countries worldwide.

To mark the occasion, the AES New York Section hosted a standing-room-only celebratory gathering at the New School for Social Research. The event was highlighted by a screening of excerpts from the forthcoming AES Oral History Project. Anecdotes by legendary Columbia Records engineer Frank Liaco; Louis Goodfriend, the first editor of the AES Journal; inventor and AES officer, Norman Pickering; and Les Paul, the godfather of multitrack recording, provided the audience with insights, revelations and, thanks to Les Paul, occasional laughs. Comprised of more than 120 exclusive hour-long interviews, the anthology was shot by Irv Joel and edited by Harry Hirsch, both of whom are members of the AES Historical Committee. The AES will begin making interviews from the Oral History Project available on DVD later this year.

Following a welcome from New York Section Chair Noah Simon and remarks by AES Executive Director Roger Furness and incoming President Jim Anderson, revered audio guru (and former AES president) Floyd Toole discussed the trailblazing work of Harry F. Olson. A pivotal force in technology development, Mr. Olson presented the first technical paper at the initial AES meeting. Mr. Toole’s address illustrated how far the art and science of audio has evolved since 1948.

As it begins its seventh decade, the AES is recognized as the leading forum for the exchange of critical information concerning the rapidly evolving field of sound recording, preservation and distribution. The organization’s focus encompasses education, health and hearing concerns, and audio’s integral role in TV and radio broadcast, satellite, Internet, motion picture, electronic games, wireless, live concert, house of worship and theatrical applications.

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