SPEAKERS

2014 Speakers: Check back for 2015 

John Morgan

Audio Director/Sound Designer, Microsoft

John Morgan is the Audio Director at the Coalition Studios, leading the franchise development of Microsoft’s Gears of War.  He grew up listening to synth bands such as Depeche Mode and Skinny Puppy, eventually following this musical path into electronic music production in the late 80’s.  John is a specialist in all types of interactive audio for games, learning his craft since 1997 at EA Canada, working on titles such as SSX, Need for Speed and FIFA Street.   His work on the interactive music for the SSX series was pioneering in the use of a vertical approach to adaptive music and remixing licensed popular score. During the last 7 years he’s been working on growing an audio team that has journeyed deep into the frontlines of Unreal Engine 4 development with Wwise, and has collaborated with creatives to deliver an award-winning audio vision that holds up to the ever-changing modes of gameplay we see in today’s AAA titles.  John’s music can be found on television shows such as the Sopranos, NCIS, & Big Bang Theory and in 2010 John did the sound design for the Olympic Winter Games opening ceremonies.

Laura Karpman

Composer

Through a rigorous musical approach, coupled with conceptual and progressive uses of technology and recording, Karpman's music reflects the acoustic lens of a true 21st century American composer. Karpman’s concert music is widely performed, with recent commissions from The Glimmerglass Festival, San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, Pacific Symphony, The LA Opera, The Cabrillo Music Festival, Evelyn Glennie and clarinetist David Krakauer. The recording of her Carnegie Hall commissioned multimedia work, ASK YOUR MAMA, will be released this summer. With four Emmys and an additional seven nominations, an Annie nomination, and 2 GANG awards for her video game music, Karpman is one of a handful of female composers scoring visual media. She recently collaborated with Raphael Saadiq, scoring the musical Black Nativity for Fox Searchlight.

 

She was tapped by Steven Spielberg to create an epic score for his 20-hour miniseries, Taken. She received her doctorate from The Juilliard School where she studied music composition with Milton Babbitt, and is currently a professor at UCLA in the School of Theater, Film and Television. “Ms. Karpman’s music, melding Ivesian collage with club-culture remixing, morphed from one vivid section to the next in a dreamlike flow…the audience thundered its approval” - The New York Times

Michael Csurics

Founder, Voice Director: Brightskull Entertainment Group

Michael D. Csurics is a director specializing in voiceover and is the founder of the Brightskull Entertainment Group, a for-hire production company providing casting, VO/Face/P-Cap, adaptive localization, and narrative solutions. His notable past projects include: Just Cause 4, Bioshock 2, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, and Tacoma. Throughout the video game industry Michael is a well-known crusader for pushing the bar in dialogue and voice performance and is a leading expert in the art of ensemble performances.

Outside of game development, Michael is a magician member of the Academy of Magical Arts at the Magic Castle,  a recovering musician, and a loving husband and father of two who makes his home in Los Angeles, keeps his roots in NYC, and is proud to have been born and raised in the Catskills.

Greg Dixon

Assistant Professor of Music and Sound Design

Greg Dixon works as Assistant Professor of Music and Sound Design at DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond, WA, where he teaches courses in sound design and music composition.  His research focuses upon interactive music and audio systems for video games, installations, embedded devices, and acoustic instruments.  Greg’s electroacoustic compositions and sound designs often make use of his own personal field recordings exploring a wide variety of source material, acoustic spaces, and social and cultural artifacts.  His video game credits include sound design for the virtual reality game Subray VR, along with sound design and composition for the audio-reactive action game, Suara.  In addition to his work as a composer, Greg has worked extensively as a recording, mixing, and mastering engineer for a wide variety of styles and genres of music. He holds a Ph.D. in composition with a specialization in computer music from the University of North Texas. 

Marcin Przybyowicz

Composer

Marcin Przybyowicz is polish composer, best known for his work in video games - his game credits include The Witcher saga (with "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt" as music director), "The Vanishing of Ethan Carter" (as sound designer), "Hard West", and many more.

He began composing while studying jazz conducting at F. Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz (Poland). Shortly after, he started scoring his first projects. In 2007 he received a Young Talent scholarship, Creative Valley, funded by polish national TV channel TVP. Afterwards he had the opportunity to be a part of "The Witcher. Music inspired by the Game" album, which gave him recognition among video game music fans.

Marcin's work for "The Vanishing of Ethan Carter" earned him Best Audio 2014 award (Digital Dragons 2015) and has been nominated for Excellence in Audio (IGF 2015), Best Sound Design (IGN Best of 2014), Best Audio for an Indie Game (13th Annual GANG Awards) and Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design (Annual Game Music Awards 2014).

His music from "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt" already won both players' and critics' hearts worldwide, spawning numerous awards and nominations, such as Audio Achievement - BAFTA Games Awards, Best Score/Soundtrack - The Game Awards, Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition - DICE Awards, Best Videogame Score - Hollywood Music in Media Awards, Best Original Music - IGN Best of 2015.

Dren McDonald

Facebook

Dren McDonald has worked in the game industry as an audio director, composer and sound designer on titles such as Gordon Ramsay Dash, Gathering Sky, Transformers: Age of Extinction The Official Game, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Commander, Dangerous Dave in the Deserted Pirate's Hideout HD, Skulls of the Shogun, Elevate (2014's Apple App of the Year), Cooking Dash 2016, Diner Dash 2015, Ravenwood Fair and over 60 other game titles. His music has been enjoyed by, literally, millions of gamers worldwide on several game titles. His work has been nominated for awards by GANG, GDC Online and IndieCade. He won a GANG award in 2015 for  The String Arcade recording (Best Game Music Cover Song) and won 3 GANG Awards in 2016 for his work on Gathering Sky (Best Indie Game Audio, Best Sound Design in a Casual Game and Best Game Audio Article.) He currently operates his own game audio company, nerdtracks.com, and finds a little time to teach. He taught the inaugural game audio course for the UC Santa Cruz Games and Playable Media Masters Program, setting up the blueprint for the future of that program's curriculum, where he is also on the advisory board. He is currently teaching part time as a visiting faculty member at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in their Technology and Applied Composition Program (T.A.C.) where he is also on the advisory board.

Linda Gedemer: Co-chair Virtual Reality Audio Track

Technical Director/VR Audio Evangelist, Source Sound VR

Linda Gedemer serves as the Technical Director and VR Audio Evangelist for Source Sound VR, which provides in VR sound services for cinematic, game-based, and live broadcast virtual reality experiences. Linda holds an undergraduate degree in Music Engineering / Electrical Engineering (Univ. of Miami), graduate degree in Acoustics (Rensselaer) and a PhD in Audio and Acoustical Engineering (Univ. of Salford, UK). 

Linda began her career as an AV systems designer and acoustic consultant, working for companies such as Walt Disney Imagineering. As part of her PhD research, she worked for Harman International in their acoustic research department. Linda has been actively involved in audio production work for many years and is an MPSE Golden Reel Award winning sound editor. In addition, she was an adjunct professor at Loyola Marymount University teaching studio acoustics, recording technology and digital audio as part of LMU’s School of Film and Television for 12 years. She has presented at conferences worldwide and  developed and co-chaired the first AES International Conference on Audio for VR/AR.

Linda plays bassoon (but never in public), will randomly quote lines from ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’, and makes a wicked margarita. 

Paul Lipson GameSoundCon 2018 Keynote Speaker

Senior Vice President, Formosa Group

An award-winning executive, audio director and composer, Paul’s career has taken him all over the world and has helped him innovate and advocate as a leading figure in the interactive entertainment industry. As the creative leader of Formosa Interactive, he works as the Vice President of Creative Services - driving strategy, content development, and audio pipelines with the famed award winning team in Los Angeles, California.
Paul previously worked as Senior Audio Director at Microsoft Studios/343 Industries , and the Chief Operating Officer of Pyramind Studios before that. He has composed award-winning scores and managed extensive AAA audio pipelines for an array of leading clients like Microsoft Game Studios, SEGA, 343 Industries, Ubisoft, LucasArts, 2K Games, Sony Computer Entertainment, EA, Hewlitt-Packard, Harmonix, etc.. Recent AAA game credits include Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Halo: Online, Halo: Spartan Strike, Halo: Nightfall, Halo Channel, Sunset Overdrive, Forza Motorsport 5, Halo:Spartan Assault, Crimson Dragon, Project Spark, Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary, Kinect Disneyland Adventures, Galactic Reign, Crimson Dragon, Microsoft Flight, Infamous 2, Halo:Waypoint, 5th Cell’s Hybrid, Rocksmith, Bioshock 2, Iron Man 2, Lego Indiana Jones:The Adventure Continues, and many more. Paul and his team have been nominated for numerous awards, and recently won Best Original Instrumental at the 2015 GANG Awards, Best Original Soundtrack Album at the 2014 GANG Awards, the Best Interactive Score and Best Use of Licensed Music awards at the 2012 GANG Awards, and the Best Audio – Other Award at the 2011 GANG awards/GDC for work on the Halo Universe. Paul was also awarded the GANG Distinguished Service Award at the 2006 GANG Awards/GDC for his wide-ranging work in interactive audio.

Paul is extremely passionate about audio and the advancement of the video game industry, and served as the President of the Game Audio Network Guild – the world’s largest organization of game audio professionals – for a six-year term. He is now a Director on the Board of Directors of G.A.N.G, and has worked closely with the Officers to originate the industry-first Program Partnership Initiative, and was the mastermind behind the Guild Scholarship Award for Game Audio and the Guild’s worldwide advisor and director network. He was also a founding member of G.A.N.G’s Pro Branches, including the Interactive Entertainment Sound Developers (IESD) and the G.A.N.G Voice Actor Coalition (GVAC).

Paul continues to be an active speaker and presenter, and has conducted panels, lectures, and master classes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University, Berklee College of Music, Musician’s Institute, Georgia Tech, SIGGRAPH, GDC, GameSoundCon, Pyramind Studios, AES Conference, New England Conservatory, Art Institute San Francisco, GRAMMY Soundtables, The Connecticut Film Festival, and at the Conservatory of Pernambuco in Brazil.
 
Paul has studied music for twenty-five years, with a focus on jazz studies and classical/orchestral music. He has lead his ensembles at venues across the United States, Southeast Asia, Europe, and Brazil, and has performed and recorded with world-renowned jazz musicians including Clark Terry, George Russell, Eric Marienthal, Bob Moses, Jimmy Giuffre, Gene Bertoncini, Mick Goodrick, John Abercrombie, Tim Miller, Bevan Manson, John McNeil, and Rick DiMuzio.
 
Paul holds a BM and MM with summa/highest distinction from the world-renowned New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. He is a member of the International Game Developers Association, The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, BMI, The Recording Academy Producers and Engineers Wing Advisory Council, and the Game Audio Network Guild.
 

Richard Ludlow

Audio Director, Hexany Audio

Richard Ludlow is the Audio Director and co-Founder of Hexany Audio, a Los Angeles based sound and music studio specializing in audio for games, VR (Virtual Reality), and interactive media. Richard has worked on projects for Disney, Activision, Ubisoft, Universal, Amazon, Tencent, Sony, Google, and many more. His credits include AAA games, immersive VR experiences, and theme parks as an audio director, sound designer, and composer. Richard is also a graduate of Berklee College of Music where he studied sound design and composition for games

Varun Nair

Facebook

Varun's spent over a decade in the audio industry and has worked on hundreds of projects across television, film, games and interactivity. He co-founded Two Big Ears, where he led development of spatial audio technology and tools. Two Big Ears was acquired by Facebook, where he now continues his work with audio for immersive media.

Emily Reese

Joon Media

Emily Reese is a Classical Minnesota Public Radio on-air host. She is the host and producer for Top Score, which features video game music composers and is heard in Minnesota every Thursday at 7:15am and nationally on Sundays at 11:00am. Emily also created and hosts MPR's Learning to Listen, a music appreciation program, which airs in Minnesota Mondays at 12:00pm. Emily earned a Bachelor of Music Education and Jazz Studies Certificate from the University of Colorado and a Masters Degree in Music Theory from the University of Nebraska. Follow Emily on Twitter @topscorepodcast.

Becky Allen (2017 Keynote Speaker)

Head of Audio, Composer, Sound Designer PopCap/EA

BECKY ALLEN has worked in the audio gaming industry for over 20 years.  She is currently at PopCap/EA where she recently Directed the audio for Plants Vs. Zombies Heroes.

Becky received her MFA at California Institute of the Arts where she studied with Morton Subotnick.  After graduating, she worked at Microsoft as Audio Lead, Sound Designer, and Composer on a variety of projects. 

She returned to Los Angeles and worked in business and production for Soundelux Design Music Group for 13 years. During her tenure there, she also continued working on her own music with artists such as Sharon Lockhart and Bill Viola.

In 2012, she moved back to Seattle to work at PopCap Games where she is currently head of Audio for the Studio.  

Becky is also a Founding Member of AMP (Audio Mentorship Project) since 2017.

Brian Trifon

Composer

Brian Trifon is a Los Angeles based composer, influential electronic musician and the co-founder of Finishing Move Inc. His music and sound design are featured in numerous AAA games, movie trailers, ad campaigns, films, TV shows, and albums. As Trifonic, Brian has released tracks and remixes on top labels such as Mau5trap, OWSLA, Nettwork, Monstercat, and Anjuna. Recent game/interactive credits include Borderlands 3, Crackdown 3, Halo Wars 2, Massive Chalice, and Halo: Master Chief Collection.

Robert Brock

Digital Recording dept. director at the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences

Robert Brock is the Digital Recording dept. director at the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences [CRAS], an audio production school based in Arizona. Shortly after the introduction of Wwise in 2006, Brock worked closely with Audiokinetic to integrate Wwise as the primary hands-on tool for introducing audio production students to game audio integration. Since then CRAS graduates have moved on to work throughout the game audio industry as sound designers and audio leads. While Brock is passionate about all things audio, he's equally passionate about education. Brock serves as a Logic Pro mentor trainer with Apple Inc. and in that capacity has travelled worldwide training instructors as well as serving as contributing writer and technical editor for the Logic Apple Pro Training Series. He's also an Apple Distinguished Educator [ADE] and currently serves on the ADE advisory board. When not in a classroom, he tries to get back to his roots as a keyboard player and synthesizer geek while still finding time to save the world from the safety of his living room couch.

Simon Ashby

VP Products at Audiokinetic

Co-founder of Audiokinetic, Ashby is responsible for the product development of Wwise® now used by more than 300 games. Prior to Audiokinetic, Ashby worked as a Senior Sound and Game Designer on several games.
 
With his vast industry experience, Ashby is a frequent lecturer and panellist with, as main theme, the role of sound production and integration in the overall experience of video games. In 2011, Ashby was honoured with the inaugural Canadian Game Development Talent Award as the "Audio Professional of the Year".

Brian Schmidt

GameSoundCon Founder and Executive Director

Brian Schmidt is the founder and creator of GameSoundCon. The 2008 recipient of the Game Audio Network Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award and  2017 inductee into the Pinbal Expo Hall of Fame, Brian has been creating game music, sounds and cutting edge game sound technology since 1987. With a credit list of over 130 games and a client list including Zynga, Sony, Electronic Arts, Capcom, Sega, Microsoft, Data East, Namco, SounDelux and many others. Brian has used his combined expertise and experience in music composition, sound design and his deep technical knowledge to change the landscape of the game audio industry. Brian is a frequent and in-demand speaker on the creative, technical and business aspects of game audio, having given literally hundreds of educational and inspirational talks at conferences all over the world. Events such as the Game Developers Conference, Microsoft’s Gamefest, Sega Devcon, the Audio Engineering Society Conference and esteemed institutions such as Yale University, Northwestern University, and Digipen have invited Brian to share his knowledge and insight into the industry.

 

Brian began his career in game audio in 1987 as a composer, sound effects designer and music programmer for Williams Electronic Games in Chicago writing music and creating sound effects for pinball machines and coin-operated video games. While there, he was the primary composer of the video game NARC. His main Theme from NARC was later recorded and released by The Pixies; his other work has been featured in the CD set, “Legends of Game Music.” In 1989, Brian left Williams and became one of the industry’s first independent game audio composers and sound designers, where he worked on such games as John Madden Football, the Desert Strike Series, and the award winning Crueball. Other credits include Guns and Roses Pinball, where he worked closely with Slash to create a truly interactive Rock and Roll game experience.

 

In 1998, Brian was recruited by Microsoft to lead the direction of game audio technologies. While there, he joined the then-fledgling Xbox organization as the primary architect for its audio and music system. Brian has been credited with bringing Interactive Dolby Digital Surround Sound to interactive gaming through his efforts at Xbox where he also created the original Xbox startup sound. During his 10-year tenure at Microsoft, Brian continued to drive and advance game audio technologies through tools such as the award-winning “XACT” (Xbox Audio Creation Tool); the first-of-its kind tool to provide interactive mixing for video games. Brian was also responsible for the overall audio system of the Xbox 360 game system, including the XMA audio compression format, winner of the G.A.N.G “Best New Technology award” and finalist in IGDA’s “Best new technology” category. Brian is currently a consultant to the video game industry working with companies large and small.

 

Brian received undergraduate degrees in music and computer science from Northwestern University in1985,where he created the first dual degree program between the School of Music and the Technological Institute. He went on to complete his Masters degree in Computer Applications in Music in 1987, where portions of his thesis work was published in the prestigious Computer Music Journal and presented by invitation to the AES specials conference on Audio Technology. While in school, Brian worked as an apprentice to film and jingle composer John Tatgenhorst, where he learned to appreciate the art and science of putting sound to picture. Brian currently sits on the advisory board of the Game Developer Conference, is a founding board member of the Game Audio Network Guild (G.A.N.G.) is a former steering committee member of the Interactive Audio Special Interest Group (ia-sig) of the MMA, and has been a featured keynote speaker at The Game Developers Conference and Project BBQ. Brian was also a member of a select group of ten game audio professionals who successfully lobbied NARAS into making video game soundtracks eligible for the Grammy Award in 1999. In 2012, Brian was elected President of the Game Audio Network Guild and currently serves in that role.

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