FORT WORTH, TX, JUNE 15, 2017 – Every four years, legendary Audio Producer/Engineer Tom Lazarus heads to Fort Worth, TX to begin working on one of his favorite projects, the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. With much of the classical music world focused on the prestigious event, Lazarus turns to DPA Microphones’ d:dicate 4006 Omnidirectional Microphone to showcase the competitors’ amazing piano playing talents.
Lazarus has been a longtime DPA user and considers the d:dicate 4006 to be his microphone of choice for piano. “The d:dicate 4006 has the clarity needed for an event that features multiple pianos like this one,” says Lazarus. “The 30 contestants from all over the world that make it to Texas have a choice of one of three Steinways to perform on. The d:dicate 4006 grabs the character of the various pianos exceptionally well. It is a flat and honest microphone that suits this situation perfectly.”
For the three-week competition, Lazarus hung three d:dicate 4006’s in a Decca Tree configuration for the piano and two d:dicate 4006’s in the house for surround. Lazarus also used one DPA d:mension 5100 Mobile Surround Microphone down-stage center. As the competition progressed from the solo piano rounds, to piano with string quartet, then piano with orchestra, Lazarus hung up to 30 DPAs (4006, 4015, 2006, 4098, 4060) in multiple configurations.
“It was great to be able to use DPA microphones exclusively on this project,” says Lazarus. “By using all one type of mic, the gain structure and character is almost identical from mic to mic, even within various DPA models. In addition, the DPA mics pick up the subtle nuances amongst the pianos, which is great because we don’t want them to sound the same. We want each piano’s color and character to shine through all the time.”
For the competition, Lazarus wanted to showcase the sound quality the mics were capturing during the live performances, so he created a listening booth in the lobby of the hall. Lazarus set up four different stereo pairs of mics that are fed via Dante(tm) to a system in the lobby of the concert hall. With headphones and a switcher, visitors were able to select and listen to four different microphones and placements. When the competition was not in-action, Lazarus looped the performances so visitors were able to listen at any time.
In addition to the high-quality sound, Lazarus has been very happy with the reliability of his DPA mics. “All the mics worked great,” adds Lazarus. “That may sound silly but some of these runs are 500 feet long. Rather than having preamps in the ceiling for all the mics, I had to put preamps on the stage, so it’s a long run to hang some of these mics and they are clean and quiet without any issues with RF. Not one problem. DPA delivers very good sounding, single point 5.1. You hang one mic and one cable and it sounds great. Every mic has worked and stayed true, which is rare in my world. This turned out to be another fantastic competition and I am very happy with the result.”
Widely regarded as one of the top recording engineers/producers of today, Lazarus has recorded and mixed projects for a broad spectrum of artists ranging from Ray Charles, Renée Fleming and Björk to Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Redman and Ravi Shankar. Lazarus has won 9 Grammy Awards and has recorded multiple Oscar, Emmy and Tony award-winning projects. In addition, he produced and engineered the prestigious Van Cliburn Competition DVD, which won the broadcasting and cable industry’s most prestigious honor, the George Foster Peabody Award.
The quadrennial Van Cliburn International Piano Competition has been called “the most prestigious classical music contest in the world” by the Chicago Tribune. It remains committed to its original ideals of supporting and launching the careers of young artists, ages 18-30. Since 2001, the competition has been held at the Bass Performance Hall. The competition is named in honor of Van Cliburn, who had won the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958. The winners and runners-up receive substantial cash prizes, plus concert tours at world-famous venues where they perform pieces of their choice. The competition consists of up to three full recital programs, new work performance, chamber music and two concertos for each competitor.