On Tuesday, Sept. 16, the School of Fine and Performing Arts held its inaugural Speaker Series presentation with guest architect John Storyk, the principal designer for Walters-Storyk Design Group (WSDG).
A master of his art for over 45 years, Storyk shared the creation story of his career and the ongoing journey in his profession through a lecture titled, “John Storyk-—A Career in Music and Architecture.”
Storyk said the roughly 50-person company is a continuation of his career, stating WSDG is made up of leaders in the field of technical or acoustic architecture, “a long term for recording studios.” The firm has six offices across four continents and having designed over 3,000 recording studios and other facilities worldwide
Storyk studied architecture at Princeton University, graduated and moved to New York in 1968, where he worked for an architecture firm.
“I grew up to the music of the ‘50s and the ‘60s…artists made their records in an afternoon, on not very fancy equipment, but in very interesting spaces….artists made music because they loved doing it, not because of the business,” Storyk said. “In college I got very into rhythm and blues…and it didn’t take long before I got into blues musicians, including one very strange left-handed guitar player, which started a very serendipitous adventure.”
Storyk landed the opportunity to design a recording studio for the aforementioned left-handed guitar player, better known as Jimi Hendrix. He designed Electric Lady Studios for Hendrix, helping bring to fruition the first ever artist-owned recording studio. Since then, Storyk has designed private recording studios for Bob Marley, Jay-Z, Green Day, Aerosmith, Alicia Keys and many more.
According to Fine and Performing Arts Interim Dean Paul Kassel, the Speaker Series came about through an advisory board of Fine and Performing Arts students who, last semester, demonstrated their desire to have experts from the field speak about their transition into their careers.
“Having this speaker series will enhance the school and students’ experience,” Kassel said. “Storyk seemed like the perfect choice because he lives in Highland and successfully runs an amazing, multimillion-dollar business. Getting introduced to him and later on being able to invite him to New Paltz turned out to be a series of fortunate events.”
Kassel said he will continue to solicit ideas and names for future guests and hopes to have two events per semester.
Storyk closed his presentation with saying that he has spent nearly half a century trying to marry two loves—architecture and acoustics which, through his work, “will grow to love each other more and more.”
“Identify and nurture what is nascent in your talent and allow it to blossom. Art always prevails and I think I’m talking to the right crowd,” he said.