NEW YORK, NY—“Only connect!” wrote the early 20th-century English author E. M. Forster. It is advice that John Krivit, who steps into the position of AES President at the 139th International AES Convention in New York City, has long since taken to heart. For Krivit, chairman of the AES Education Committee for the past six years and an educator by profession, the society serves as the nexus of all things audio.
Incoming AES president John Krivit “I’ve always seen the AES as this great connecting point,” states Krivit. “My mission as a teacher has been to integrate the academic world with the professional one. As much as possible, I want my students to understand the economy of the business they seek to enter. Who are the players? What do they do? How do they matriculate into jobs and how do they sustain successful careers? At the center of all of that is the Audio Engineering Society: the great connection point for the world of audio.”
Krivit is steeped in academia. He is an associate professor of Audio & Media Technology at the New England Institute of Art and a faculty member at Bay State College and at Emerson College. He is also the founder of the Boston Area Definitive Audio Student Summit, an annual AES gathering of hundreds of audio students, faculty, professionals and enthusiasts.
He has served the AES in numerous positions: as an elected governor, on the Membership Committee, President’s Strategic Advisory Group, Conference Policy Committee, Convention Policy Committee, Convention Planning Committees for 130th-137th and the Boston Chapter’s Executive Committee.
The older generation of audio professionals could maybe learn a thing or two from the student population, Krivit believes. “Students and young people are farther along than the rest of us at using new technology to make connections; they understand the new media. One of the things I’ve tried to do is to bring some of the things we’ve been doing successfully with students to the general population of the AES. We really need to take advantage of 21st century tools to reach out, engage and build community.”
Krivit sees great value in the society and its conventions. “For me, it’s about engaging a community beyond the walls of the institution where you work or teach or learn. I’ve taught audio for 20 years at different colleges. Like most of our brethren, I love talking to anybody about audio and I love learning new things.”
Intellectual curiosity and a willingness to learn are essential at any age. “People of all ages have to continually learn; ours is a moving target, so you’re either going to continue to learn or you’re quickly going to become irrelevant. There are so many new vicissitudes of technology, and the AES provides a great platform to ask questions and to receive answers.”
For example, he offers, Jay LeBoeuf of Real Industry and a professor at Stanford University, and formerly with Avid and iZotope, will moderate a panel at the New York convention that will examine 16 case studies tracing audio products from ideation through commercialization. “The panel looks at what it takes to find yourself employed in the new media technology companies,” says Krivit. “I think that’s the kind of thing that is sometimes missing in audio education—the real, practical application of how one gets a job in this new paradigm. I’m thrilled that we can provide a platform for Jay and the great things that he is trying to do for the industry and for students of all ages.”
Two weeks out from the New York convention, the AES announced an extension of the registration period in order to maintain “record-breaking momentum,” suggesting that the show is roaring back to strength after the economic downturn and other events of past years. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, “European conventions have a much smaller footprint, but they’re exciting and they have great content. Warsaw, the last one, was really something special,” says Krivit, noting that Berlin, Paris and a return to Warsaw are on the cards for hosting conventions in coming years.
Elsewhere in the world, “We have a new chapter in China and have approved a new one in Myanmar,” he reports. In Russia, there is a dynamic group of mostly recent university graduates who are driving a regular program of workshops for that local community.
“As the education chair, I’ve gotten so many inquiries from young people living in developing nations who want to pursue studies in audio. We have more than 75 AES professional sections and more than 95 AES student sections around the world. The AES is thrilled to try and do whatever we can to make opportunities abound for anyone around the world who seeks to learn about audio.”
“We’ve got some new programs for students that we’re going to unveil at the convention that I’m really thrilled about—ways that companies can connect with our student population. The education world is driving a lot of technology sales, and we’re developing new ways that companies can reach out to students and to educators at schools. I think our members and partnering companies are going to be really excited about it,” he says.