2013 SPARS Legacy Award

The 34 year history of SPARS is the history of the recording studio, music and professional recording evolution in America. The two cannot be separated. Those early pioneers of recording and sound founded SPARS and were some of the industry’s most committed supporters. There have been so many talented and dedicated professionals who were there when it all started and who were an integral part of the growth and success of the recording industry.

The SPARS Board of Directors is honored to establish the SPARS Legacy Award, which is given each year in recognition of the significant contributions of a past industry leader.

2013 SPARS Legacy Award
Howard Schwartz


The SPARS Board of Directors is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2013 SPARS Legacy Award, industry pioneer, recording icon and founder of the legendary Howard Schwartz Recording, Howard Schwartz.

The award presentation took place at 9:30 pm on Saturday, October 19 at Avatar Studios during the AES / SPARS Student Party.  Schwartz gave a brief talk on his career and his mentors and passed on lessons learned to students attending the party.

Howard Schwartz, recipient of the 2013 SPARS Legacy Award with Kirk Imamura

Howard Schwartz, recipient of the 2013 SPARS Legacy Award with Kirk Imamura

Howard Schwartz, born in Buffalo, New York, started his career in the Music and Recording business at age nine playing the trumpet and piano. He switched to the bassoon at eleven and by the age of thirteen, he was ranked among the best bassoon players in the US. Not only did he win numerous national musical contests, playing with both amateur and professional orchestras while still in high school, he won a full scholarship to the Eastman School of Music.  After his first year, he entered the prelaw program at the University of Buffalo, with a major in entertainment.  In 1993, Howard received a Bachelor of Music degree from Eastman and has served the college as an Ad Hoc Instructor.

To cover college costs, Schwartz became a disc jockey at a local radio station, a career move that stood him in good stead after he entered the US Army in 1966.  For the next three years, he was a DJ for the Armed Forces Radio and Television Services in West Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich, Germany.

On discharge, he settled in Hollywood, CA and became a recording engineer, working for the legendary Mel Blanc (the voice of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck), writing, producing and recording comedy radio commercials. He then went to work for the infamous Wally Heider at  Wally Heider Studios in Los Angeles where he was an engineer on numerous gold and platinum record albums for artists including Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Jefferson Airplane, The Fifth Dimension, Stan Kenton, James Taylor, Wayne Newton, Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Leon Russell and Elton John, among others.

In 1971, Schwartz moved to Toronto, Canada to the production department of CHUM Radio and the CHUM Group of stations. In 1972 he was brought to New York as an engineer at National Recording Studios recording commercials and artists like Ferrante and Teischer.  He then moved to 12 East Recording where he continued to develop a commercial clientele. In 1975 he asked for a raise and was turned down, which crystallized a decision to open his own company, Howard Schwartz Recording, Inc., with one studio, one engineer (himself) and a receptionist. A year later, he was turning down enough work to warrant the addition of a second studio and a second engineer.

For the next 38 years,  Howard grew HSRNY to become one of the largest Recording Studios and Post Production Audio Facilities in New York City.  Commercials, TV Shows, Motion Pictures, Animated Feature Films and Record Albums were all recorded and mixed by the fantastic members of the HSRNY staff in the beautifully designed and technically advanced 25,000 square foot home above Grand Central Terminal.

HSRNY recorded hit records, famous bands and musicians and posted sound for top TV Shows, Motion Pictures, Animated Features and Radio and TV Advertising. The vast client list included Dreamworks, Blue Sky, Fox, Disney, Pixar, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Oprah, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS, VIACOM, ESPN, HBO, MTV, VH1, WPP, Y&R, JWT, McGarry Bowen, O&M, Grey, Saatchi, Droga5, Publicis, Digitas, EuroRSCG, Kaplan Thaler, McCann Erikson and thousands of recording studios and ad agencies around the world.

From the Rolling Stones’ “Tattoo You” to Tony Bennett’s “Duet’s”, from Disney’s “Beauty And the Beast” to Blue Sky’s “Ice Age 1, 2, and 3”, and from “Life Styles of the Rich and Famous” to “The Cosby Show” and “Spin City” and “House Hunters International”, HSRNY and Howard Schwartz have always had a leadership position in the audio industry.

Howard Schwartz is one of the 11 original “Founders”, Past Presidents and Past Chairmen of the Society of Professional Audio Recording Services (SPARS).  He also served as Past Vice Chairman of the ITS, The Association of Imaging Technology And Sound, Past President of the ITS/New York, and Vice President of the New York Production Alliance. Howard is a past member of AFTRA, The American Federation of Musicians, and was the CEO of HSRNY since its’ inception in 1975.

Howard Schwartz Recording was closed in June of 2011.

This year, we are also honoring two tireless supporters of SPARS, Shirley Kaye and Dave Teig, both who were responsible for keeping the SPARS organization moving forward during the 1980s and 1990s. There was a special private reception to honor both at 8 pm on Saturday, October 19 at Avatar Studios.

Shirley KayeAs far as most industry folks are concerned, Shirley Kaye was the only Executive Director SPARS ever had. Yes there were others, but for more than 20 years, the face of SPARS was Shirley Kaye.

Before assuming the reins of SPARS, Shirley and her husband Jesse, owned a studio in South Florida called Coconuts Recording, an experience which led them to SPARS and a 20+ year career in the recording industry. Because of Shirley’s tireless efforts, SPARS prospered and grew into a powerhouse association of recording studios, engineers and producers. Shirley turned over the management of SPARS in 2003 to spend more time with her husband and family.

The past and present members of SPARS, as well as the industry in general, will be forever indebted to Shirley for her contributions to the recording industry and the craft of audio and music production. Many of us active in the 1980s and 1990s will remember the fabulous SPARS events and parties, whose success was directly contributed to Shirley. Two such memorable events were private tours of New York’s Statue of Liberty and San Francisco’s venerable Alcatraz Island, both accessed by memorable exclusive boat trips.

Dave Teig was born and raised in Brooklyn, USA and was a rabid Dodgers fan.  He was a member of the All-City Radio Workshop during his High School years where he met Al Weintraub who eventually became one of the owners of Bell Sound Studios.  In 1947, Dave began a career in radio broadcasting, interrupted for 2 years of Army duty, returning in 1953 and until he was recruited by Weintraub to manage Bell Sound.  During his tenure at Bell Sound, he was responsible for importing a top engineer of Abbey Road Studios, Malcolm Addey. He left Bell Sound in 1974 to become manager at Atlantic Studios.

Dave was involved with SPARS since its inception in 1979. He was one of the original core group of founders and served as the first secretary under the first president, Joe Tarsia. Dave remained actively involved with SPARS over the years and was instrumental in setting up the monthly New York chapter meetings, which took place on the second floor of Gallagher’s Steak House on West 52nd Street. The meetings were sponsored by manufacturers and quickly became a popular event attracting many of the area’s recording practitioners. Dave was host / emcee at these events and is fondly remembered as the person who handed out different colored tickets after asking “meat or fish.” The last meeting at Gallagher’s ended around 2002/2003. Dave is an avid NY Rangers fan.

The SPARS Legacy Award was established by the SPARS Board of Directors as an annual award to honor an industry luminary who historically has demonstrated outstanding leadership, vision and commitment to the recording studio movement in America and the professional recording craft in general.

Feel free to leave your comments for Howard, Shirley or Dave below…

2 Responses to 2013 SPARS Legacy Award

  1. Dick Trump says:

    What a pleasure it is to see three good friends honored this way. Each of you contributed so much to SPARS over the years, both preceding and continuing beyond my years with the board.

    You each also had an impact on my own business and service to SPARS in different ways. Howard willingly shared business advice, Dave his guidance to the important New York operations and Shirley provided her sensible leadership to a group of individual leaders (hardly and easy task).

    I send my best wishes to the three of you and to the SPARS family and leadership that continues today.

  2. mike tarsia says:

    great event good to see many of the SPARS people and also so many people who still appreciate the organization and the people..thanks Kirk at Avatar for hosting the SPARS event

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