Los Angeles, CA, March 7, 2019 – As the red carpet was being set up at the Dolby Theatre®, just down the street, in Capitol Studios (the iconic and state-of-the-art recording facility located in the historic Capitol Tower in Hollywood, California), a 41-piece orchestra was anticipating the first downbeat of the fanfare celebrating the 91st Academy Awards® season, conducted by musical director, Rickey Minor. For the rest of the week leading up to the Oscar® telecast, iconic movie scores and soundtracks, old and new, filled the halls of Capitol Studios. Joining Minor and the 41-piece orchestra, were the talented group of recording professionals, including Tommy Vicari (recording & mixing engineer), Steve Genewick and Nick Rives (assistant recording engineers, Capitol Studios), Dan Vicari (orchestra setup), Larry Mah (Pro Tools engineer) and Ashley Irwin (music arranger and sound consultant). Sessions took place in the combined Capitol Studios A and B.
Tommy Vicari notes, “As has been done in many previous years, we assembled the orchestra at Capitol Studio A and B to do a number of tasks. It’s part rehearsal for the show itself, and part failsafe just in case something technical goes wrong during the ceremony, so that we have the material pre-recorded. Luckily, everything at the ceremony went perfectly, so we didn’t need any of that failsafe material on the night, where everything was performed live by the orchestra. We were able to record it all at Capitol with great efficiency. We also use the time at Capitol Studios to rehearse all the live music for the show and make reference recordings, in order that stage blocking and choreography can rehearse to the final arrangements. We also let any artists who are scheduled to perform on the show lay down a guide vocal for these same reasons – although the vocals on the show are always live.”
This year’s show featured a particularly wide range of musical styles. Tommy Vicari remarks, “You're going from pop music to classical to R&B to country western music. So the challenge is to make all that music equal in its importance in the show, and make it match with the live music that's being played by the orchestra. It was about 20 percent more material than last year – 60 to 75 different cues. And we mix the material basically live as we go, which can be nerve-racking, but it’s a fun experience to bang out so much music so quickly.”
“The yearly sessions for the Oscars® are an annual highlight for us here at Capitol Studios,” stated Paula Salvatore, VP/Studio Manager, Capitol Studios, “Studio A is one of the great spaces to record an orchestra, and it’s great to see the end product on the live Oscars telecast. We thank all the engineers, technical personnel and musicians for their professionalism and passion.”
Tommy Vicari adds, “Quincy Jones personally asked me to take on this task 21 years ago, and I remember I told him ‘I don’t know how to do a live show’; he said, ‘Well, figure it out!,’ and I’m so glad I took his advice. Once upon a time, I was a youngster just starting in the industry, and I had a job in the mail room in the Capitol Tower. Every time I come to Studio A to work on this Oscars material, I walk past that mail room and reflect and reminisce on how fortunate I’ve been in my career to get to where I am now.”
For more information, please visit www.capitolstudios.com.
Photo file: Capitol_Oscars2019.jpg
Photo caption: The technical team for the rehearsal sessions for the 91st Oscars® at Capitol Studios. Pictured L-R: Larry Mah (Pro Tools engineer), Nick Rives (assistant recording engineer, Capitol Studios), Steve Genewick (assistant recording engineer, Capitol Studios), Rickey Minor (music director), Tommy Vicari (recording & mixing engineer), Paula Salvatore (Vice President, Capitol Studios) and Dan Vicari (orchestra setup).
About Capitol Studios
For over 60 years, Capitol Studios has been a destination where some of the world’s top musicians have come to collaborate and record their most important projects. Housed in the historic Capitol Tower in Hollywood, Studio A and B have hosted legends ranging from Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Nat King Cole to Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys and contemporary greats such as Green Day and John Mayer. Capitol Studios specializes in live recording sessions, webcasts, string dates, mixing to film shoots and videos, as well as mastering to vinyl.
Capitol Studios is a subsidiary of Capitol Music Group, a division of Universal Music Group, which is a fully owned subsidiary of Vivendi.