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Kevin Becker ’19 Wins 2017 KDFC Sound Logo Competition

The 2017 KDFC Sound Logo Competition, now in its second year, has named Kevin Becker ’19 its winner. A partnership between Bay Area classical radio station KDFC and SFCM, the KDFC Sound Logo Competition gives students in the Conservatory’s Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) program a chance to write a short composition that serves to preface broadcasts with a station identification. Becker’s composition was chosen from among several competing students’ pieces. His logo will be used throughout the year in all manner of KDFC broadcasts. Becker was also awarded $1,000 from the Asian Pacific Islanders for Professional and Community Advancement (APCA) Northern California and received a professional-grade microphone from SE Electronics.

“This has been an incredible experience from start to finish,” says Kevin Becker. “There is a unique challenge in creating meaningful musical ideas within the short span of a sound logo—and seeing the music come to life during the session is truly a privilege. It was amazing to see the amount of diverse variations that arose from KDFC’s initial sound logo by fellow TAC student Jana Ma, and making a broad selection of distinctly different pieces with limited instrumentation is a delicate art. Being behind the console at the session when musicians are performing your work is an incredible honor.”

Becker noted the process of recording and mixing was highly streamlined. “The role of the composer in a session is to lend an additional set of ears to the conductor, and let them know how things are sounding in the mixing room. The recording engineering for this session was done by students in the TAC program, and they did a fantastic job. When the session is over, a rapid series of revisions take place to ensure the client receives exactly what they are looking for. These quick turnarounds are certainly a test of stamina when composing for media. I am looking forward to hearing the next batch of variations on this logo, and seeing everyone involved grow musically.”

“I'm so proud of Kevin Becker and the fine work he has done here on behalf of SFCM and KDFC,” says MaryClare Brzytwa, Executive Director of SFCM’s Technology and Applied Composition program. “Kevin is a great example of a model student in the Technology and Applied Composition Program. Not only is he highly skilled and constantly working to improve his craft as an engineer, producer, and composer, but he also has the proper attitude towards this work. Kevin is humble, flexible, and deliberately professional in all of his interactions with other students, faculty, and partnering organizations. It's not a surprise at all that these qualities led Kevin to meet the needs of the ‘Client’ in this scenario and deliver the winning logo for KDFC's brand. BRAVO, KEVIN!”

This year’s competition had a theme centered on the sound of brass. Students explored a given melodic line—chosen by KDFC—in a variety of instrumentations and variations. SFCM brass faculty members Bruce Roberts and Peter Wahrhaftig played in the recording session and coached the participating TAC students on production etiquette and working with session players.

The submissions were all recorded in an afternoon session at SFCM on February 3. Kevin Becker’s winning sound logo submission can be heard here. A playlist of the competing students’ submissions are available to listen to here.

The inaugural winner of the KDFC Sound Logo Competition last year was Jana Ma ’19.

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