Joining us for the first Time+Space Supplier Feature is the man who revolutionised the software instrument world, Gary Garritan. Here he discusses everything from virtual instruments to time travel...
For those of our first-time web visitors that are not so familiar with Garritan, please introduce yourself and your company background.
I'm Gary Garritan, purveyor of fine software musical instruments. We have been developing sample libraries and software instruments for the past ten years. Our first library was the Gigaharp and our latest is the Authorized Steinway Virtual Concert Grand. We also have developed the popular Personal Orchestra, Jazz & Big Band, Concert & Marching Band and Garritan Orchestral Strings.
Which is your favourite Garritan product and why?
My favourite is usually the next one we're going to produce. I'm always interested in climbing new technological mountains.
Of the many well-known names who use your products in the entertainment industry, which ones give you the greatest pleasure to be associated with?
There's quite a long list. I think the one who gives me the great pleasure to be associated with is Wendy Carlos. "Switched On Bach" changed my life and caused me to be interested in music technology at an early age. In recent years Wendy and I have become friends. She has given so much of her time and provided valuable input and guidance for various projects (like contributing custom tunings for the Authorized Steinway). Wendy continues to inspire me.
What's been the most surprising event to come out of Garritan products?
There seems to be a surprise at every turn. The most surprising event is the growth of the Garritan community. This community is a place where people share music and help and encourage one another. We have thousands of members and the community keeps growing. It's amazing to so many people who are so positive, uplifting and helpful. It's quite unique and represents an oasis as far as online forums go.
Another surprising event was the approval of the musician's union for Personal Orchestra to be used in the Los Angeles Ballet's production of the Nutcracker. Previously the musician's union frowned upon technologies (organ, Mellotron, Synclavier, Synthesizers, etc). But in this case, the union recognized the importance how sample libraries, particularly Personal Orchestra, could create opportunities for musicians. This was a milestone and one with will be beneficial for the sampling industry. I could probably list many other surprising events.
What type of music do you most enjoy and do you have any favourite composers/artists/bands?
In all honesty, I most enjoy our user's music. I listen to their works continuously. We have a very active Listening Room in our forum and users share their music. There are thousands of works posted (some of them are also on our website). There is so much talent among our users and it gives me great satisfaction to hear works made with our libraries. I truly believe that some of tomorrow's great composers will emerge from this community.
What projects/forthcoming products are you currently working on?
We have quite a lineup of new projects. There's a choir library (that will have lyric singing capability), Orchestral Strings 2 (with solo strings included), a General MIDI library, World Instruments, a Concert Pipe Organ, a Convolution Stage project and some "secret projects" we cannot disclose just yet. We're also working on other Steinway pianos with Steinway & Sons.
Authorized Steinway Virtual Concert Grand Piano has just been released to great acclaim on the forums. What in particular are the features of this product that please you most?
The Authorized Steinway was our most challenging and interesting project. The Authorized Steinway is the first software instrument to use our new ARIA sample engine. In the past, we always fit our products to other generic engines. To have the freedom to create an instrument where our imaginations are the only limitations is most pleasing. With this project, we can customize, spread our wings, develop innovative features and do things that have not been done previously.
We had the pleasure of working together with Steinway & Sons to develop this project. Steinway & Sons provided one of their best pianos, as well as their best technician and chose the piano concert hall. Technologically, developing a unique and proper approach to sympathetic and sustain resonances was very important for a piano library of this importance. And devising a multiple-stage tracking for the release of the hammer from the string also makes a significant difference. But what pleases me most is the sound. The attention to subtle nuances, combined with our new engine and the technological innovations, ensured that the library was done right to faithfully reproduce the incredible detail inherent in a real Steinway’s sound.
If you hadn't become a member of the MI industry what would you have done for a living?
I would probably be teaching and doing my best to help people in some way. But I cannot imagine life without working in music.
What would you most like Time+Space customers to know about Garritan?
I would like Time+Space customers to know we are accessible and we're always listening to our users. We have group chats twice a week with our users and are always on our forums. I would like Time+Space customers to know that we are passionate about what we do and have a good time doing it.
What are your other interests and hobbies outside your musical activities?
Outside musical activities? That's hard - since music is my life. I am a technology nut and like gadgets and tinkering, am an avid reader, like meeting people, kayaking, whale watching, exploring, time travel, lucid dreaming and flights of fancy.