Millimeter Magazine Article

Jerry La Rosa
Submitted: Wed, October 28, 2015 - 1:06pm EDT
On tour with the Emmaus Road Band-Israel
Interview in New York City studios of DeWolfe Music and Corelli-Jacobs Reording when LaRosa was staff composer, pianist, producer and Chief Engineer.

DeWolfe: Library Music Heard Around the World
Just a few years shy of their one hundredth anniversary, DeWolfe Music has long been one of the most successful and prestigious library and custom music operations in the world. Founded in London in 1909, it now boasts representatives in some 30 countries in Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia. The company headquarters are still in London, there are still DeWolfe relatives instrumental in the firm, and much of the recording of their library music still takes place at the highly regarded Angel Studios in London. But DeWolfe has long been a major player in the United States, too, with a studio in Manhattan that handles a wide variety of jobs.
Recently we chatted with the chief engineer of DeWolfe's New York operation, Jerry LaRosa, to find out more about DeWolfe and its American arm.
"I've been here for 25 years," he says. "I came in as a music editor when Moviolas were still in vogue and we took stock music from the DeWolfe library and cut it to picture so that it looked like it had been scored. It was a skill that was taught to me by John Lettis, who's still here, and Moe Goldstein, who is one of the well-known editors in the business. That has become a dying art." A 1975 graduate of the Berklee College of Music, LaRosa was a trained musician and a skilled engineer who gravitated towards work behind the glass and found a good home at DeWolfe's studio, recording voiceovers, editing library music for various kinds of productions, and working on everything from commercials to books on tape. Along the way, he's won Peabody awards, a Clio, a Silver Lion from the Cannes Film Festival, and, most recently, an Audie Award for his work on a book on tape called The Nazi Officer's Wife.
"That was a case where I did the voice recording, plus I integrated music from the DeWolfe library, and also edited it and mastered it. Barbara Rosenblatt was the voiceover artist; Susan Dworkin was the producer. Many, many times, we are called upon to add music for projects like that; it's a lot of what we do. In fact, there's a Random House book called 72 Hour Hold that is coming out [on tape] so right now I'm picking music for it."
When I mention that he must know the libraries really well, LaRosa laughs knowingly and says, "There was a time in the '80s when all the advertising agencies were hot and there were a lot of them and they were producing two 60s and four 30s and four 15s, and the money was rolling in and you had to know all the libraries, from APM to Bruton to Omni. And of course we did everything on paper; we didn't have computers. No one had Soundminer or Pro-Tools. You used your memory and you wrote down notes and you kept an alphabetical file."
Now, he says, "We have the entire library available on a single drive [known as the Harmony Drive], with an export function that goes right into their Avid or [Digidesign] Pro Tools drive, and everything can be accessed instantly; it's beautiful! I still have to know what everything is and where to find it, but we've definitely come a long way."
In addition to finding appropriate library music and editing it for productions of all kinds, LaRosa also finds himself augmenting existing library cues with newly recorded elements: "I've actually done a rhythm track where I've recorded different ethnic instruments because the picture changed to different countries [than were used originally]. So I added some gongs when it was China and then it moved to Turkey and I added a bouzouki in there. There are many ways that the [library] music feeds the creative part of the studio."

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