Director & Instructor
Paul Kozel is the founding director of the Sonic Arts Center and the guiding force behind it’s curriculum, facilities design, and overall operations. Paul’s professional credits include: the documentary A Place Out of Time – The Bordentown School nationally broadcasted recently on PBS in which Paul’s duties included composer/arranger, sound designer, dialog editor, and recording and mixing engineer; the music mixer for the feature film Racing Daylight starring David Strathairn and Melissa Leo; and producing, recording, and mixing the recently released album You Me Acuerdo Buenos Aires for Gustavo Moretto, keyboardist of the seminal Argentinian Jazz/Rock group Alas.
Jonathan Perl is a producer, engineer, sound designer, songwriter, keyboard player, and music and sound editor. He has been teaching at the Sonic Arts Center since year one, and is the primary curriculum developer for first/second year SAC students. As part of a 2011-12 CitySeeds grant (in collaboration with CCNY climate scientist Marco Tedesco and EDM faculty Ina Saltz and Ethan Ham) he sonified 54 years’ worth of Greenland climate and ice melt data (polarseeds.org). Recent recording and mixing projects include James Hurt’s soul-jazz-funk, Jeremy Mage’s indie-pop with The Magi, Wunmi’s Afro-Dance, a variety of jazz vocalists and performers, and Roots/Americana band The Trapps. Regarded as one of the nation’s premier trainers for Apple’s Logic DAW, he founded the New York Logic Pro Users Group and Mac Audio Trainers in 2005. He has also authored recent training videos (on Omnisphere and Trillian) for Mac Pro Video. Jonathan continues to do periodic live sound at the Unison Arts and Learning Center.
Paul Special is an award winning audio engineer/producer, studio designer and teacher whose expertise extends into virtually every aspect of the professional audio industry. Equally at home engineering music projects, concert DVD’s, live TV broadcasts, or national television and radio spots, Paul has worked with clients including: Billy Joel, Aerosmith, Stone Temple Pilots, Incubus, Robert Palmer, Carrie Underwood, Nike, Volkswagen, ABC, CBS, NBC, Disney, USA Networks, MTV, VH-1, BET, and ESPN. With his company SAS Corp./Special Audio Services, Paul has conceived the architectural, acoustical and wiring system designs for over fifty recording studios and broadcast facilities around the world, including the initial design for the Sonic Arts Center. In addition to his professional work, Special has lectured and taught a variety of pro audio subjects for the Audio Engineering Society, the Manhattan Producer’s Alliance, the State University of New York at Buffalo, and William Paterson University in NJ.
Michael Whalen is a two-time Emmy® Award winner and has worked on over six hundred and fifty television and film scores, thousands of commercials, and numerous TV themes and corporate identity pieces. Examples of Michael’s scoring work can be found here. His most well-known credits include theme music for The Oprah Winfrey Show, Inside Edition, the feature film What the Bleep Do We Know?, and Good Morning America. Recent underscoring projects include the feature films Cargo, Brothers on the Line and Veronika Decides to Die. Michael is also a recording artist and Grammy-nominated producer who writes and produces pop songs, ambient, new age, classical, and jazz music for a variety of recording labels. His new solo recording entitled “All The Things I Could Not Say” in March 2013. Michael is represented and published by Warner/Chappell Music and his catalog is owned by BMG Ventures.
Technical Director & Instructor
Joe Popp has been involved with the professional music and audio industry for over twenty-five years. He has served in many areas of the industry including: technician and engineer for several NYC recording studios, front of house and monitor engineer for the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, sound designer and composer for theater, and as a professional musician and performer. He has released six albums internationally and has composed music for over thirty theater productions including seven rock musical scores including his latest, Pericles. Joe is a certified Apple Help Desk Technician. He has designed both private and professional studios and many of the studios in the Sonic Arts Center and music department. As adjunct lecturer, Joe teaches Rock Ensemble. His hobbies include guitar amplifier construction, effects pedal construction, and skateboarding. Joe performs with his band The Hornrims, currently in the writing stages of their third album.
Technical Assistant & Instructor
Brian Trent is a 2007 graduate from Sonic Arts Center. He is a guitarist, producer, songwriter, and engineer who works in many genres including rock, folk, classical, jazz, hip hop, and electronic music. He currently performs with the group The Unusuals, an ambient, psychedelic, experimental rock band.
Sound Reinforcement Coordinator
Carlos Fonseca is a recent graduate from the Sonic Arts Center who has earned professional producing, recording, mixing, sound reinforcement, and audio post production experience during and after his studies. Carlos has assisted on VH1 Unplugged sessions with Adele and Likke Li as well as iTunes Live from Soho with Audrey Assad for Dubway Studios. He has also worked on various projects for Audible.Com. In addition, Carlos is a busy session drummer here at the Center.
Sound Reinforcement Assistant
Engin Ufuk Kaplan, a native of Turkey, is a 2010 graduate of SAC. Engin is a former studio owner in Turkey with over twenty album credits for engineer and producing and over one thousand stage appearances worldwide as a multi-instrumentalist. He is featured on the Turkish Rock Anthology 1980-2000 for his performance and songwriting credits. Engin currently works as a live sound engineer and drum tech at SAC. He is also a free-lance music production teacher, producer and location sound mixer.