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Conspirare special to air on PBS stations across the US

February 20, 2009

The old phrase “video killed the radio star” couldn’t be more wrong if what I saw last night was any indication.  Last night (19 Feb 2009) I was lucky enough to get invited by the fine folks at Conspirare to  get a sneak peek at the upcoming PBS special called A Company of Voices: Conspirare in Concert and I have to say that seeing the video of Conspirare in concert only added to the many great experiences I’ve had with that great collaboration of voices.  Here in Central Texas we’re lucky enough to see Conspirare in several concerts a year and to feel the energy that these singers and Craig Hella Johnson bring to incredibly diverse programs.  Now the rest of the country is becoming aware of our little secret.  Being nominated for Grammy Awards two years in a row definitely brought Conspirare to the attention of those who are deep into the world of music but the program that I saw last night will have the average PBS home viewer sitting up and saying “where did these folks come from and when can I hear more?”  Lovers of vocal music are going to want to tape (tape? I’m showing my age) DVR this program and watch it again.  Then they are going to start clamoring for the DVDs of the show so they can let others in on this as well.  

Folks are also going to find out about the incredible musicians that are around here (but then Austin is already famous for that).  They are going to remember cellist Bion Tsang, oboist Ian Davidson, the percussionists who seemed to be in a dozen places at once, and Faith DeBow the stunning accompanist who played with grace and beauty.  

The technical portions of the show were very well done.  The executive producer and the producer were at the preview and they were beaming like proud parents, and well they should, a creation like this doesn’t come around every day.   The majority of the program was recorded  in concert setting back on October 12th, 2008.  The video was beautifully shot and edited with obvious love and care.  The sound was stunning and I have to admit that surprised me.  I have been recording and working with audio for almost 30 years and I know how hard it is to get a good sound in a live situation especially with singers.  Nothing against singers but getting the subtlety and power that’s inherent in a group of singers is very difficult to capture.  I wanted to find the audio engineer (Note: Andy Murphy and David Hough) and give that person a hug.  Often I will get a little jaded while watching or listening to something, I’ll start thinking about how it was recorded or how I might do it differently.  It’s a hazard of the job and something I have learned to live with but the Conspirare special had me sucked in from the start.  I will even admit that I got a little teary-eyed during Samual Barber’s Agnus Dei, Ennio Morricone’s Gabriel’s Oboe (first time I ever heard that done with vocal ensemble), and Eliza Gilkyson’s Requiem.  Each Shall Arise by Tarik O’Regan and the old spiritual Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel had of us in the audience  rocking out and the rest of the program left us with mouths agape and hands applauding (and remember that basically we are watching TV, when was the last time that happened to you). 

A Company of Voices: Conspirare in Concert will be airing on KLRU-TV on 11 March at 7pm and if you can’t wait that long (or even if you can) I encourage you to go hear Conspirare doing the Rachmaninov Vespers (this will be stunning!!) at the end of February or the American Songs and Spirituals (something that Conspirare does better than anyone) at the beginning of March. 

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Hi Andy, 

Thank you very much for your kind email, and we must have established a mutual admiration society because I'm a big fan of yours.  You've made us sound better than we are, and my opinion is strengthened every time I review your recordings of the ASO for the KMFA broadcasts.  

Sarajane and I have blocked off Wednesday night to watch the Conspirare program, and I look forward to hearing how you've made them sound better too. 

All the best,



Peter Bay


Austin Symphony Orchestra

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Hi Andy

I know you are working so hard for so many events. You are so nice to write.....

Thanks so much for the CDs you gave me. I really enjoyed it very much and I made notes of songs so if there is the right spot for one of them in a concert, depending on what the theme is, etc., I will remember... Sounds like you guys are making some great music together!

Hang in there with your wild schedule.... Hope you are doing well.

Ongoing thanks for all the fantastic work you did for the PBS show. Your presence and talents had such a tremendous impact on the success of the project. Thank you, thank you....


Craig Hella Johnson

Artistic Director and Conductor

Conspirare Choir

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Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2007 23:32:00 +0900

From: dongjoon yook

To: Andy Murphy

Subject: Dear Mr. Murphy

Dear Mr. Murphy

Hello. How are you?

Last sememster, I remembered your good job. Thanks for your work again. So, I won three international competitions last semester. Due to your help, I could pass the premilary round. You`re a great person to me.

In this semester, I have a plan to take part in other international competition. So, I `d like to make CD which I need to submit competition. And I need your help. I`d like to record my playing on early of October.

When can I work with you? I will record piano concerto. It takes about 20min. Please let me know

Thank you

Dongjoon Yook
University of Texas at Austin
Ph.D student, School of Music

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From: Wilbur Collins
To: Andy Murphy
Subject: RE: This and That and Bacon Fat
Date: Sat, 13 Aug 2005 11:16:15 -0500

Hi Andy,

On the way home to Victoria the other night, I listen intently to a KMFA broadcast of the Austin Symphony Orchestra's performance of the Symphony no. 5 of Gustav Mahler, Peter Bay conducting. And YOU, my friend did the recording! This had to be one of the better performances of this work - perhaps the best I have ever heard. and I compliment you and KMFA for airing it - indeed, it brought many minutes of enjoyment as I tooled down the highway. Thank you SO much!

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Dear Mr. Murphy
Hello How are you?
I`m so sorry. I`m late email you. As I told you, I have been selected as a semifinalist in"Lee piano competition".

On early of May, I took part in International competiton in Barletta Italy,I got 1st prize in that competition.

Thanks for your help

Have a wonderful summer!


Dongjoon  Yook

University of Texas at Austin


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Date: Fri, 8 Oct 2004 20:21:00 -0500
Subject: Re: UTJO
From: Jeffrey Tveraas
> To: Andy Murphy

I am listening to your stream as I write this and I must congratulate you - the sound is superb! This is the best sounding audio I've ever experienced off the internet. The stereo image is big, the acoustic space is authentic and the instruments all sound like themselves - no mean feat this. I am listening to a trumpet solo at 8:15 and it sounds terrific. The piano is wide and clear and the drums are great ... A++
You must tell me again what technology you are employing - to retain this kind of frequency spectrum and dynamics in a broadband stream is impressive. Nice work my friend, and thanks for the reminder.


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To: Andy Murphy
From: Nathaniel Brickens
Subject: Fwd: Re: Got the CD!!!!

Andy: More kind words from Mark! Thanks!

Date: Mon, 22 Aug 2005 16:05:56 -0400
Subject: Re: Got the CD!!!!
From: "Mark J. Morette"
To: Nathaniel Brickens


Ho Ho Ho! Merry Trombone Christmas!!!!!!!!!!! It is simply marvelous. I could not suggest anything to improve this CD...other than to have Santa Clause himself do a solo, but we all know, Santa is busy resting this time of year. Polishing his sleigh, tanning the leather, re-tuning his jingle bells!

This is simply superb. I know that this will be a favorite of thousands of people for many decades to come!!!!!!!!!!

As far as I am concerned, this cannot be improved by me. I am very happy with the balance, the levels, the tonality, microphone placement, reverb, arrangements, performance...again, everything!!!! I offer you and Andy the highest of compliments!!!!!

Mark J. Morette, President
Mark Custom Recording Service, Inc.
10815 Bodine Road
PO Box 406
Clarence NY 14031-0406

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Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 10:43:37 -0500
To: Andy Murphy <>
From: Nathaniel Brickens <>
Subject: Fwd: jazz bones / choir


I get lots of messages like this. Thanks for your work!


From: david read
To: Nathaniel Brickens
Subject: jazz bones / choir
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2005 17:43:53 -0400

Dr Brickens,

I was wondering if you had recordings of the jazz bones and trombone choir available for purchase. Of all of the trombone recordings I have heard, the clips on your website are top shelf. Quality of recording, balance, intonation...... wow, what a group.

Record everything,

David Read

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Date: Wed, 04 Jun 2003 13:03:38 -0400
Subject: Re: UT Trombone Choir Recording Project
From: Mark J. Morette
To: Nathaniel Brickens


Once again, Congratulations on a SUPER CD. Just incredible. This will be
very, very, very well received!!!!

I would also like to acknowledge the outstanding job that Andy Murphy has
done. In continuing with his string of awesome recordings, this is amongst
the finest he has produced. Great Job Andy!!!

I listened to this with headphones,
alone in my office, undistracted, with full attention to the sound file,
Again, I would be proud to have done this myself.

Congrats all!!!


Mark J. Morette, President
Mark Custom Recording Service, Inc.
10815 Bodine Road
PO Box 406
Clarence NY 14031-0406

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Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2007 18:11:37 -0500
From: Kristin Jensen
Subject: Thanks

Hi Andy,

Thanks for your excellent work today! Mike set-up has NEVER been
that easy with that instrumentation---so, I think your good ears really came in handy. You are so easy going, and accommodating too. I really appreciate your contributions to the project.



Kristin Wolfe Jensen
School of Music
College of Fine Arts
University of Texas

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