Shelley Katz has a multifaceted career as a conductor, pianist and inventor. Known for his original musicianship and innovative contributions as a music technologist, Shelley has gained a reputation worldwide for his performances as a pianist and conductor, as well as for his expertise in sound reproduction, gestural control of artificial systems and the design of virtual acoustic systems.

Shelley’s professional musical journey began with his graduation from the Julliard School. He then honed his conducting skills working as solorepetitor at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein and conductor of the Duisburg Studio Orchestra. Furthering his career, Shelley served as a conductor and Studienleiter at the Theater der Stadt Koblenz and the Staatstheater Mainz.

As a pianist, Shelley performed regularly and recorded with some of the world’s most acclaimed singers, including Jochen Kowalski, Gwyneth Jones and the tenor Nikolai Gedda, with whom he toured Europe for three years. His recordings can be found on Deutsche Grammophone, Capriccio, Somm Recordings, and Koch/Schwann among others. He has performed as an accompanist and in chamber music concerts at leading festivals and venues worldwide, including Wigmore Hall in London, Musikverein in Vienna, the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, Carnegie Hall in New York, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and Suntory Hall in Tokyo.

As a music technologist, Shelley is the author of numerous granted patents and inventor of the innovative Symphonova system. He also designed the highly-acclaimed Podium Sound loudspeakers, which are the only audiophile-quality, passive flat-panel loudspeakers in the world. His academic pursuits led him to earn his Ph.D. (Tonmeister) from the University of Surrey, where he researched the cognition of musical expression. Shelley is a Former Fellow at Wolfson College, University of Cambridge, and also Former Musician in Residence (Queen’s University – Canada).

Music Technologist

Shelley Katz’s primary research areas are low-latency gestural control in time-critical non-laboratory environments, and methods of sound reproduction and propagation to accurately emulate naturally occurring sound. The research has led to a number of inventions and patents.

Shelley’s library of patents includes a digital piano, which moves the air similarly to the great acoustic concert instruments, and has the unusual capability of accommodating whatever the acoustics are in the venue. As a result, the Katz piano combines the best of the two types of instruments: the sound quality of a grand concert piano and the simple logistics and robustness of a digital instrument.

Layered Sound is another patent in the domain of sound reproduction. It is a method for sound propagation, which unlike the usual methods used for conventional loudspeakers, combines and delivers both direct and indirect sounds. As a result, the sound reproduced is more faithful to the natural sound recorded, and the recording is perceived as having greater clarity and enhanced spatial qualities.

His patents also include a new drive unit that has varied applications in multiple domains. In the particular area of sound reproduction in which the invention was conceived, the drive unit corrects sound distortions resulting from mechanical imperfections inherent in all loudspeakers. Most importantly, these corrections are done without any sound processing and therefore listeners get to hear unadulterated sound, exactly as the original sound was recorded.

In addition to Symphonova patent, granted patents also include a software for real-time control of midi scores, virtual acoustics. Other inventions encompass a method to create the best concert-hall acoustics in venues that are otherwise not suitable for acoustic instruments or voice, and a method for sound propagation to faithfully reproduce the sound of acoustic instruments (Instrumental Loudspeakers).