On October 21, 2011, Philadelphia native and recording studio impresario Joe Tarsia received the SPARS Legacy Award before a packed house of industry peers at Mix@AES, which was held in New York City event space The Four-o-Four. Tarsia is best known as the “father of the Philadelphia sound,” with more than 180 Gold and Platinum Records to his credit.
From left: Kenny Gamble, Cecelia Tarsia, Joe Tarsia, and Kirk Imamura, SPARS president and president of Avatar Studios in New York City.
The Mix@AES event was part of the 131st AES Convention and was hosted by the Recording Academy’s Producers & Engineers Wing, SPARS, and APRS, and sponsored by Record Plant Studios, GC Pro, West L.A. Music, and Westlake Pro.
SPARS President Kirk Imamura, president of Avatar Studios in New York City, introduced Kenny Gamble, who presented the award to Tarsia. Gamble was half of the talented writing and producing duo Gamble and Huff (Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff), who made Philadelphia the capital of soul music in the ’70s, with groups like the O’Jays, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, The Intruders, the Three Degrees, McFadden & Whitehead, Jerry Butler, Lou Rawls, Dee Dee Sharp, Phyllis Hyman, and others.
Additionally, the Association of Professional Recording Services (APRS), the UK’s recording association, bestowed its Sound Fellowship Awards to British producer legends Steve Lillywhite and Geoff Emerick.
Lillywhite is the prolific UK producer of Peter Gabriel, U2, and Dave Matthews. Emerick is best known for his work with The Beatles, Paul McCartney, Supertramp, Art Garfunkel, and Cheap trick, to name a few. APRS Executive Director Peter Filleul was on hand to present the awards to Lillywhite and Emerick.