2004-2008 Areas of
My primary area of research is Sound Design. Sound Design requires a combination of art and craft with a heavy reliance on the physical properties of sound and being able to control them in real time. Sound Design requires research of physics, technology, and art.
Michael Rasbury, Assistant Professor
Co-writer/Composer/Sound Design, Max Understood
This is an original musical script written with co-writer Nancy Carlin. Inspired by the plight of my son Max, an ordinary day in the life of an Autistic child is revealed as an unusual journey. Max Understood, a play with music and sound design, takes the audience on a surprising and sometimes disorienting expedition around his apartment complex. Please visit this page to look at the script and listen to the corresponding songs. Click here to listen to these songs in one player. During July of 2008, a staged reading directed by Jack Cummings was presented by the Eugene O’Neill National Music Theatre Conference in Waterford, Connecticut. In November of 2007, a staged reading directed by Nancy Carlin was presented by the Foothill Theatre Company in Nevada City, California as part of their New Voices of the West program.
Transport Group, New York City
Since the Spring of 2007, I have served as the Sound Designer for four productions presented by New York City's acclaimed Transport Group. I have provided Sound Design for the fiftieth anniversary of Inge's Dark at the Top of the Stairs, and two new musicals, Crossing Brooklyn and Marcy in the Galaxy.
Colorado Shakespeare Festival
2008, Coming soon.
Mead Endowment Honored Faculty
In the Fall of 2008, I was excited to be selected by the Mead Endowment as an "Honored Faculty." The Mead Endowment graciously funded my "dream idea". The major goal of this project is to create better social connections between students and faculty. Read my "dream idea" inspired by Goethe's statement, "Architecture is frozen music." by clicking here (.doc 39kb) or here (.pdf 71kb).
2008 Support from Arts Council and Equipment Transfer Funds
Thanks to generous support from both University of Virginia Equipment Transfer Funds and the Arts Council's Annual Fund, I was able to design and install a dedicated classroom for teaching sound design and music composition within the Department of Drama. More info coming soon. View the Arts Council request by clicking here (.doc, 29kb) and here (.pdf, 83kb) View the Equipment Transfer roster by clicking here (.doc, 40kb) and here (.pdf, 59kb) View my Google Sketchup drawing of classroom by clicking here (.jpg 808 kb) and here (.skp 13.5mb)
2008 Sesquicentennial Research; Project Title: Phonography (Field Recording) utilizing Binaural Recording
The College of Arts and Sciences granted me sesquicentennial release time during the Spring Semester of 2008 to expand my research as a sound designer through field recording. The result of this research is a free Internet based, “phonographic” resource to sound designers and enthusiasts called earthrecordings.com. A primary goal of this endeavor has been the exploration of HRTF sound recording. I encourage anyone to download and use of the recordings. Read
the grant application by clicking here (.doc, 294kb) and here (.pdf, 782kb)
The Story of Opal, World Premiere, written by Gale Fury Childs, directed by Lynne Collins, Foothill Theatre Company, Nevada City California.
During the Spring of 2007, I served as Sound Designer and Composer for a new theatrical adaptation based on the actual diaries of Opal Whiteley. Gale Fury Childs' The Story of Opal presents the rural 1900's world from the perspective of a young child. In this story, creeks sing, trees talk, and invisible fairies leave gifts. Opal was played by several actors and everyone but the "lead" Opal portrayed much of the scenery and animals. In this selection, you will hear a collage of several environmental cues from the production, including the talking trees, the singing creek, fairies, the colors blue and green, and the closing music. This track opens with the overture followed by the "Girl With No Seeing" theme. For info regarding this production, click here. For more information about Opal Whiteley and her diary, click here.
Tahoe Shakespeare Festival
During the summers
of 2005-2007, I worked for Foothill
Theatre Company in Nevada City, California. The company provides
fully produced Shakespearean Drama for Lake
Tahoe Shakespeare Festival at Sand Harbor on Lake Tahoe. The productions
are later mounted at the Sierra Shakespeare Festival in Grass Valley,
California. During the 2006 season, I provided original sound design
and musical composition for Romeo and Juliet and The Taming of the Shrew. To listen to the entire score for Romeo and Juliet, click here. During the 2006 season, I provided original sound design
and musical composition for Twelfth Night and Othello.
The results of my work can be heard in .mp3 format by clicking here. During the summer
I provided original sound design and musical
composition for Macbeth and Comedy of Errors. The results
of this work can be heard in .mp3 format by clicking here. All sonic environments were created using MOTU's Digital Performer Digital Audio Workstation and all music was created with Propellerhead's Reason.
The University of Virginia's Teaching
+ Technology Initiative
On March 15, 2007, I submitted a proposal to the Teaching + Technology Initiative
entitled, Innovative Sound Design for Dramatic Production. The full document
can be downloaded and viewed by clicking here (.doc,
88 kb) and here (.pdf,
188 kb). The budget for this proposal can be downloaded and viewed by clicking here (.xls, 40
kb) and here (.pdf,
During the summers of 2006-2008, I provided sound design for The Lost
Colony Outdoor Drama, written by Paul Green. I designed
original sound and music for a new multi-channel, digital sound system.
This new system also incorporated twenty-four wireless microphones
and a digital mixing console with full recall features. To
learn more about The
the nation's longest running outdoor symphonic drama, click here. To hear examples from this production visit the music section of my michaelrasbury.com.
Field Recording System
In March of 2006,
I received an Arts Council Grant to fund the purchase
of a field recording system, one meeting current state-of-the-art
new system is battery powered, compact
and portable. It is comprised of an Edirol R-4, four-track field recorder
and a Crown SASS-P MK II stereo condenser microphone. This system is
being used by students to record material for Department of Drama
theatrical productions and for projects in DRAM 2620 (Sound Design)
and DRAM 3640 (Sound Design Studio). The
system also allows on-location, multi-track recording for student
film projects, live music events, and other special events. Read
the grant application by clicking here (.doc, 220kb) and here (.pdf, 297kb).
The Audio Spotlight®
In March of 2005, I received an Arts and Sciences Research Grant from Arts and
Sciences and the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies. My proposal
was to purchase an Audio Spotlight® in order to explore potential theatrical
uses for this technology. The device is really unique as it delivers sound
to a specific area in the way a flashlight or spotlight delivers light. Download
my final report on this research by clicking here (pdf,
Sound Designer for Theatrical Productions presented by the University of Virginia's Department of Drama
Some Girls by Neil LaBute, Directed by Melissa Crespo at the University of Virginia's
Department of Drama
Waiting for the Parade by John Murrell, Directed by Jonathan Green at the University of Virginia's
Department of Drama
During the Fall of 2007, I served as Sound Designer to augment Waiting for the Parade, a Canadian World War II drama by John Murrell. The first composition utilizes a public domain newsreel. The purpose of this cue was to make the newsreel audio come alive. The design was successful; the newsreel sound came from a prop radio and the other “modern” battle sounds completely surrounded the audience. Airplanes flew overhead, bombs exploded behind the audience, and screams of townspeople could be heard all around the theatre. This track is a recording I made in Old Cabell Hall on the campus the University of Virginia of our Glee Club singing “Beer Barrel Polka." I also had to recreate the sound a departing train full of service men waving their goodbyes to loved ones.
Sound Designer, Ubu Roi, by Alfred Jary, translated by David Ball, directed by Betsy Tucker
Sound Designer, The African Company Presents Richard III, by Carlyle Brown, directed by Theresa M. Davis
Cloud 9 by Caryl
Churchill, Directed by Betsy Tucker at the University of Virginia's
Department of Drama
In the Fall of 2005, I created an orchestral piece and a pop
piece for Cloud
Click here to
listen to these in .mp3 format. I
created the original music using Reason 3.0 by Propellerheads
Recordist, Call of the Wild, Directed by Marianne Kubik, Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered, Sixteen Tracks
Sound Designer, The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Rupert Holmes, Directed by Robert Chapel
Sound Designer, The Ives Have It!, by David Ives, Directed by Richard Warner
Sound Designer, A Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov, Directed by Clinton Johnston
Sound Designer, Private Lives by Noel Coward, Directed by Jan Mason