Dr. Bernfeld

My father, Dr. Benjamin Bernfeld studied music, playing as a cellist at the Radio Symphonic Orchestra in Bucharest, as well as in a quartet with Mendi Rodan, the renowned late Israeli conductor during the end of the 1940’s.

 

In the early 1950’s, Benjamin studied electrical engineering in the Leningrad Institute of Motion Picture Engineers, today St. Petersburg. He received his major in acoustics with excellence.

Back in Bucharest, his first job was in research, at ICECIN (Institute of Cinematographic Research), reaching his peak with the design of a large diaphragm microphone.

 

During the 60’s and until we left Romania in 1974, Benjamin worked as a Tonmeister for the classical label of Electrecord, the Romanian record company, producing many brilliant symphonic and opera recordings.

 

Settling near Frankfurt, Germany, he worked for two years at the Ingenieurbüro für Akustik und Bauphysik Ernst-Joachim Völker as an acoustic measurement engineer.

 

In 1975 he received his Doctor of Engineering degree in Spatial Hearing and Stereophony from the Strasbourg Louis Pasteur University.

 

In 1977 Benjamin became the first chief sound engineer in IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique), the legendary music, sound and avant-garde electro-acoustical art music institute in Paris near the Centre Pompidou. He was an early adopter of Ambisonics.

 

Back in Germany, this time in Freiburg, he joined forces with the Harmonia Mundi (HM) record label to open the first digital editing studios in Germany and one of the first in Europe. Benjamin made numerous splendid recordings for HM, especially in the Cedernsaal of the Kirchheim Castle.

In the early 80’s, Benjamin recognized the lack of digital interfaces and sound processing tools, so he created one of the first digital sound processing systems in 1984, the BW102. Daniel Weiss (former Studer Digital) developed, supervised the manufacturing and tested the modular “hand-made” equipment, while Benjamin was deciding on the functionality, product definition and most of all developing the markets worldwide. Hundreds of BW102s were sold to many studios like Bob Ludwig’s Gateway Mastering, Bernie Grundman Mastering, EMI Abbey Road, CBS records, Sonopress and many more. A novelty was added to the system in the early 90’s with the DOS based Pinguin GUI interface and automation system developed by Ralph Kessler.

 

Benjamin was active for over 40 years in the distinguished Audio Engineering Society (AES). He was the President of the AES in 1986, and countless times Paper Chairman.

 

He also was active in the VDT (Verband Deutscher Tonmeister) for many years.