David Hidek (BA 2008) may be the only person we know who has heard his orchestral music played by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and seen his hip hop video splashed over the jumbotron at PNC Park. In March of 2010, while completing his master’s degree in composition at Duquesne University, Hidek’s orchestral composition was chosen for the annual Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra student readings. He is also Chief Recording Engineer and Mix Engineer at Turtle Creek’s Treelady Studios where one of the many projects he has produced is music for a video shown during the “hotdog shoot” at Pirates home games. Those experiences may seem worlds apart, but he finds strong connections between the two.
“I think the paramount thing is attention to detail,” Hidek says when asked about the connections between orchestral composition and audio engineering. “When you’re doing a mix, whether it’s rock or country, or whatever, you can’t just set your level and compress your instruments and say, ‘That’s it! That’s how it going to go.’ You have to ride your faders and bring them up and fade things out, and really listen to a piece from the beginning, over and over again and try to create this experience through dynamics. And that applies probably the most to chamber music or smaller ensembles, but definitely at the same time to larger ensembles… You’re thinking about how to create these dynamic experiences with musicians instead of software.”
Hidek started at Treelady as an intern while he was an undergraduate in the Department of Music, and says that, “My first couple years at Pitt really helped me get that internship… I was able to present those foundational skills in a more professional way because of the theory and ear training you get as an undergrad.”
Hidek continues to work on multiple projects simultaneously. His solo debut CD, The Worthy Ghosts, received critical acclaim and has sold in fourteen countries. He’s also a regular contributor to the highly regarded magazine Tape Op where he reviews recording gear and software. Most recently, he tracked Flyleaf’s Lacey Sturm performing a song by Geno Lenardo (formerly of Filter) for the new film Underworld: Awakening.
Keep your ears and your eyes open for more of David Hidek’s work, now playing at a cinema (or a jumbotron, or a club, or a concert hall) near you.