Audiophile Audition Staff Bios


Jake Barlow
is choral scholar at Truro Cathedral, where he follows an active career as a freelance singer, teacher, music journalist and vocal animateur. He holds a degree in Literae Humaniores from the University of Oxford, sang with the chapel choirs of Worcester, New, Magdelen, Merton and Queen’s Colleges, as well as the Schola Cantorum of Oxford. He has performed at many venues in the UK and Europe. He is Vocal Coach in Residence at New Cornwall Opera and Assistant Musical Director of the Cornwall Junior Choir, and maintains a teaching and academic tutoring practice at Truro. www.jake-barlow.com

Peter Bates
has been listening to classical music for over forty years. At his junior prom, instead of singing “Johnny Angel” in his date’s ear while slow dancing, he hummed the “Marche au supplice” from Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique. In college he reviewed musical performances for the Bates College Student. For about five years he wrote reviews of classical recordings for Classical disCDigest. On his web site Stylus (www.stylus.batescommunications.net), he reviews local performances of classical music and jazz of such groups as the Boston Symphony, the Boston Philharmonic, the Boston Chamber Music Players, and solo performers. He has been writing for Audiophile Audition since its inception in 1998. He works as a technical consultant for Analog Devices, plays the recorder, is an avid photographer and an often outrageous poet. He listens to music everywhere, in his car, on his Sandisk Sansa MP3 player while elliptically cross-training, on his JVC RX-8040B AV receiver, Pioneer DV-676A DVD player, Snell 5.1 surround speaker system, and Grado Reference Series headphones.

Daniel R. Coombs
joined the St. Stephen’s Chamber Ensemble as principal clarinet during the 2010 season. Originally from Chicago, IL, Mr. Coombs is a graduate of DePaul University with a BA in music performance and a master’s degree in education leadership from Loyola University. He studied clarinet with Raymond Kazman of the Grant Park Symphony and, while at DePaul, with Lorin Levee as well as a Master Class with Clark Brody. Mr. Coombs also studied conducting with Leonard Slatkin of the St. Louis Symphony. As a clarinetist, Daniel was a member of the Park Forest Symphony and the Chicago Heights Symphony. For over thirty years, he has also been a certified science teacher and educator both in Illinois and in Arizona. Mr. Coombs has served as a school principal in Scottsdale and, for the past seven years, as principal of Desert Ridge High School, Gilbert.  Mr. Coombs is also the principal clarinetist for the Chandler Symphony as well as the Musica Nova Baroque. He performs chamber music professionally and for school groups. He also writes classical reviews for Amazon, Classics Online and HB Direct.

William “Zan” Furtwangler
has been an avid follower of recorded classical music for over five decades, attending concerts and including the audiophile scene. As an avocation, he has been a free-lance reviewer  for the Charleston (S.C.) Post & Courier, writing about newly released recordings 1976–1987 and the lively arts in general 1977-2010. His writings have appeared in national journals and his reviews quoted in the on-line biographies of internationally known artists. More recently, he has been lured to the internet, reviewing for CharlestonToday.net, a site covering the arts. He is a life-long collector of recorded music, 98% classical. He holds a B.A. (English) and a Master’s degree (Public Administration). If his last name is familiar, it is because the great conductor was a first cousin, three times removed. His system is based  on the theory that great sound reproduction can be obtained in a properly sized and shaped room with a mix of carefully selected equipment.

Highlights of his system are AE-1 speakers (original), a proprietary sub-woofer, Fried Beta speakers, NAD T742 surround sound receiver, Muse Model Two DAC, Accurus A-150 amplifier, Sony NS-775V DVD/CD/SACD player, Panasonic A-310 DVD/CD player, Technics SL-1200 MK2 direct drive turntable with Grado Platinum cartridge and NAD PP-3 digital phono/USB preamp.

Robbie Gerson
became a jazz fan when his older brother returned from the army with multiple reel-to-reel bop. A self-taught piano player, he is fluent in various musical styles. Having lived in Philadelphia and San Francisco, he was able to experience a diverse range of live performers, including John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, and James Brown. Assorted activities include running a marathon, coaching youth sports and implementing local educational training programs. He collects vintage 78s, now lives in Arizona, and is a steadfast member of the Wolverine Antique Music Society, dedicated to the preservation of original vinyl recordings.

Tom Gibbs
A journalism major with a minor in Commercial Art, his early experience with newspapers soon transitioned toward the advertising field; is currently with publishing giant R.R. Donnelley (last eighteen years). Handles the creative and presentation needs of the Chamblee (Atlanta, GA) division, and also function as a Prinergy-qualified senior electronic prepress operator. For the last seven years has moonlighted at Delta Air Lines, working on publications of Delta’s Corporate Communications division.

A lifelong lover of music, Tom’s first exposure came at an early age. When his older brother returned from a stint in the armed forces with a truckload of audio gear, he was transformed into something of a hardware geek as well. That fascination with all things electronic continues to this day and has now morphed into a listening room/home theater. He has recently been dabbling in the black arts of iPods and MP3s. Tom is a lifelong outdoorsman of sorts, and enjoys hiking and backpacking.

Pierre Giroux
lives in Toronto Canada and has been a jazz fan ever since a chance encounter with Oscar Peterson, who at the time, was very early in his career. Thus began a lifelong attraction to the music and the people who played it. In an international business career that spanned forty years, there were opportunities to hear Chet Baker in Paris, Sarah Vaughn in Copenhagen, Ella Fitzgerald in Rome, Bill Evans in Montreal, Tal Farlow in London ,Woody Herman in Toronto, and Hank Jones in New York among many others too numerous to mention. The journey and fascination continues.

Randy Haldeman, Ph.D.
A native of Wisconsin, Randy Haldeman has taught Choral and General Music in all levels of academia – Pre-K through collegiate – in Wisconsin, Idaho, Illinois, Florida, Vermont, and Italy. He earned the Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, the Master of Music degree in Voice and Opera Performance from Northwestern University, and the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Music Education (Choral Conducting emphasis) from The Florida State University. In addition to his musical life, for many years Haldeman earned his living as a recording engineer and technician. His recordings have found their way to NPR’s Performance Today, Fresh Air with Terri Gross, PBS, and many local channels. Audio work has included collaborations with performers such as William Warfield, Sherrill Milnes, Tori Amos, Bill Morrissey, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Garrison Keillor, and (my favorite) Marcel Marceau.

I have three mid-fi setups:
The “suite retreat” is where I would do initial, sustained critical listening. Currently, it holds a Denon AVR 3806 receiver, the Denon DVD 5910 Universal player, a Music Hall MMF-5 turntable w/ Goldring 1012GX cartridge (stock cartridge), a Pro-Ject Phono Box SE, Tannoy Sensys DC2 series speakers (complete surround-sound set), a Bag End Infrasub-18, Sennheiser HD-595 and Grado SR-80 headphones. Movies are projected onto a 120” white screen via a Sony Cineza HS-51 projector. I also do a lot of listening in my office, mostly for score study and so forth. Currently, it holds a Denon AVR-1801 receiver, HK DC-520 cassette deck, Oppo 970HD Universal Player, Tascam DA-40 DAT, Music Hall mmf 2.1 turntable (with Goldring Elan cartridge), Sennheiser HD600 and Grado SR-125 headphones, Grado RA-1 headphone amp, Acoustic Research 302 speakers, M&K Sub, and Bose 301s as surrounds. I find that I am using my headphones more and more for concentrated listening at school. The family room has a Denon AVR-2308CI, Denon DVD 3910 Universal player, TiVo Series 2 (mod), and a Wharfedale Diamond 9.6 surround speaker system.

Calvin Harding Jr.
Calvin has been actively involved in the home theater industry since 1985. He is the editor and principal staff writer for Entertainment Gazette, a print publication launched in Central Florida in 1999. Calvin primarily reviews home theater components and 3D/2D Blu-ray movies.  In addition to his reviews for Audiophile Audition, some of Calvin’s reviews have also been featured on websites including D-BOX, Studio Experience, Projectorcentral, Smarthome and Clark Synthesis. Calvin has a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Central Florida and a doctorate from the University of Florida.

Main System: Optoma HD3300 3D/2D front projector, Draper Onyx 133” M2500 screen, Peerless-AV PRG-UNV ceiling mount, Oppo Digital BDP-93 BD/DVD player,  Sherwood Newcastle R-965 AV receiver, BIC America Venturi 7.1 speaker system, AudioQuest cables, D-BOX SRP-230 platform with Series IV controller

Stephen Hornbrook
also writes equipment and movie reviews for Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity (www.hometheaterhifi.com), along with being a full time software engineer.  Stephen has a passion for film scores but a joy for all types of music: from Kanye to Bjork to Miles Davis and everything in between…except Justin Bieber.  His home is in lovely Portland, Oregon and, as a graduate of The University of Oregon, he is quite the Duck fan.

Peter Joelson
started piano lessons aged four, joining them with organ lessons at 12 when he got a position as organist at his local church. A Science graduate, he taught Mathematics and was also Assistant then Director of Music as well. He enjoyed the trips to sing Evensong at various cathedrals, playing the organ at the services. He knew he’d reached his limits after being allowed to practise out of hours at Westminster Cathedral. He’s given concerts in chamber groups in the beautiful Dorset countryside of England. He’s very enthusiastic about high resolution formats and about careful, musical remastering of old recordings. He enjoys listening to a wide variety of music, from Bach to Charles Trenet, Julia Fischer to Barnabas von Geczy, Toscanini to Furtwaengler, Schnabel to Sudbin, and he has every volume of the Guild Light Music series in his collection.

Main System: Linn Unidisk SC, Linn LK140 x 2, Linn LK80, Musical Fidelity CLiC Universal Music Controller, PMC GB1i x 2, PMC DB1i x 2, PMC DBiMC

Hermon Joyner
is a freelance writer and photographer living in Portland, Oregon. A one-time music major, he sings and plays the trumpet, violin, and mandolin. Joyner has a Masters in Professional Writing from PSU in Portland, Oregon and is the author of Visual/Haiku. His taste in music is eclectic and includes Baroque, Romantic, 20th-Century Classical, most genres of Jazz, Celtic, Bluegrass, and Indie Rock.

Paul Kennedy
spent his working life in and around the computer industry. Now semi-retired, he helps small and medium technology companies understand and exploit their markets. Years of enforced piano lessons resulted in his love of listening to music. He is married , lives in Toronto near his three children, and enjoys time with his six grandchildren.

I listen on several systems = OUTPUT – Advent, Klipschorn, Sony speakers; POWER – Harmon Kardon HK 770 Amp & 725 Preamp, Technics SV 697 Amp; INPUT – Panasonic Blu-Ray DMP-BD77, Sony CDP-397, Nakamichi MR2

Jeff Krow
has been a jazz fanatic for over 30 years. Graduated from California State University, Chico, did a KCSC-FM college jazz radio show. Has 5000+ CD Jazz collection. His jazz genre favorites are hard bop, big band, West Coast jazz (50s-60s), soul jazz, and small group swing era. He attends many live sessions and his favorite jazz instrument is the trumpet. He lives in Portland, OR.

Ken Micallef
is a New York-based freelance writer whose work also appears in DownBeat, Electronic Musician, Modern Drummer, Autodesk.com and Positive-Feedback.com, where in addition to reviewing equipment, he writes the monthly Vinyl in the Round column covering vinyl.

System #1 = Speakers: DeVore Fidelity Nines; Pre/Power: Shindo Allegro preamplifier and Shindo Haut Brion amplifier;  Digital Sources: MacBook, Halide HD DAC, Meridian Explorer DAC, Western Digital T2 Mirror Drive (X4); Analog Sources: Kuzma Stabi/Stogi turntable/arm combo, Denon DL-103, Auditorium 23 Denon step-up transformer, TSD15 cartridge; Cables: Auditorium A23 speaker cables, Shindo interconnects; Accessories: Salamander rack, 2″ Mapleshade platforms, JPS Labs Kaptovator AC conditioner, Shunyata Black Mamba and Anaconda Vx Powersnakes, Shunyata Hydra 4, 3″ studio treatment foam damping/ceiling-wall treatment.
System #2 = Speakers: Snell J/IIs;  Analog source: Music Hall 5.1 SE turntable; Pre/Power: SQ-25 Tube Preamp/SQ-30 6V6 Tube Power Amplifier; Room size: 24′ x 12′, short-wall setup, suspended wood floor, 1-foot deep plaster-covered 2 x 4 walls, wood-beam 10′ to 11′ ceiling.

Patrick P.L. Lam
Born in Hong Kong, Patrick holds the A.R.C.T. diplomas for Performers and Teachers from the Royal Conservatory of Music. He received both his degrees in the Life Sciences at the University of Toronto, where his doctoral research was in the fields of diabetes and pancreatitis. He has been a music critic and writer for both local and international publications abroad, including MusicWeb International. System: NAD L40 Receiver, Sony DVP-NS3100ES SACD/CD/DVD player, B&W DM601 speakers.

Ronald Legum
is a doctor in Maine, specializing in Cardiology. He plays the piano for relaxation, and thrives on good music, well-reproduced.

System: Pete Riggle-modded Rega 25 with Riggle counterweight and Incognito wiring; Ortofon Kontrapunkt A MC cartridge, Rogue Perseus preamp with Mullard 12AU7s. Speakers “much like vintage Duntec Sovereigns 5″ in refrigerator-sized cabinets, bi-amped with monoblock Nuforce  REF9 V2 amps top and mids and Bryston 3B for woofers.

Gary Lemco
B.A. & M. A., SUNY Binghamton, NY; M.A. & PH.D., GA State University. Music studies with Carmine Arena, Philip Friedheim, Emanuel Winternitz, and Jean Casadesus. Host of The Music Treasury, WHRW-FM 1966-68 & 1970-75; Guest critic on WQXR’s nationally-distributed First Hearing, 1984-1999; Writer, Musical America and Classical DisCDigest; Contributor to Audiophile Audition & Classicalmusicguide.com. Member, Music Critics Association of North America. Author: Nietzsche as Educator; articles on Hemingway, Hawthorne, Bellow, Shelley, Fitzgerald, H. James, Orwell, D. H. Lawrence, Ellison. Specialist in reviewing reissues of great performers of the past. Hosts The Music Treasury on KZSU-FM, Stanford = streamed at kzsulive.stanford.edu Tuesdays 7-9 PM (PST).

Mel Martin
Mel spent part of his early life working his way through college at a commercial classical FM station in Iowa. It was great to be paid for listening to and talking about great music. Mel spend most of his live in journalism and won a couple of EMMY Awards along the way. He has worked in Florida, Seattle, and spent 4 years in London at the BBC.

He wrote a biography of film producer Samuel Bronston (El Cid, Fall of the Roman Empire, King of Kings) and did DVD commentary on some of his movies. Now he does some consulting from his home in Arizona, as well following his passion of landscape and astronomical photography under the clear Arizona skies. He also writes about tech and computing for TUAW.COM  He listens mostly on Magnepan 3.6R speakers, an Oppo BDP-103 and an Emotiva UMC-200 pre-amp driving an Emotiva XPA-2 300 WPC amplifier.

Robert Moon
Robert Moon is a freelance classical music journalist who wrote the internationally recognized book on London/Decca early stereo classical records, Full Frequency Stereophonic Sound. He writes for Strings Magazine, San Francisco Classical Voice and Audiophile Audition. He holds an MA Degree in Arts Administration from University of Wisconsin. The arts organizations he has served in administrative capacities include the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kansas Arts Commission and the Minnesota Orchestra. Listening to his extensive record and CD collection and attending concerts in the San Francisco Bay Area reminds him that music is an essential force that integrates mind, heart and spirit.

John Nastos
John Nastos plays reeds and was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. Before he was out of high school, John was enrolled at Portland State University, studying under Darrell Grant, Alan Jones, Charles Gray, and Rob Scheps. After Portland State, John went on to get his Bachelor’s degree in jazz at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, where he finished the four-year undergraduate degree in three years.

John has performed around the Northwest and in New York City with artists such as the Mel Brown Septet and B3 Quartet, Gordon Lee’s Big Band, Auditory Sculpture, Rob Scheps, Ben Darwish, Drew Shoals, Dan Schulte, and more. He has played at many major festivals, including the Mt. Hood Jazz Festival, Portland Jazz Festival, and Ellensburg Jazz Festival. In addition to performing and teaching in Portland, John is also webmaster for JazzPDX.org and Audiophile Audition.

John Nemaric
has been involved with classical music and to some extent early jazz since 1947. He has attended several hundred live concerts since that time. He received his B.A. in Anthropology at the University of California Santa Cruz and his Ph.D. in Archeology from Tudor College in the UK. Within anthropology he specialized in human complex systems, computerized modeling/simulation and ethnomusicology with particular emphasis in musical forms from Africa, Europe and South America. He has also reviewed classical music for a number of years. Presently he is researching the history of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the life of its former conductor William Steinberg. He also teaches (PT) courses related to the history of classical music, opera and ballet at Carnegie Mellon University. His favorite instrument is the Wagner B-flat tuba.

System: Yamaha HTR-5940 6.1 AV receiver, Pioneer DV-578A SACD/CD/DVD player, custom-modified full range three-way speakers for surround, a custom built (by himself) subwoofer, makes all his own cables from pure copper or silver.

Lee Passarella
Lee caught the classical music bug in high school and hasn’t stopped listening since. When he moved from Philadelphia to Atlanta in the late 80s, he had to jettison around 6,000 LPs. Now he’s trying to hit the same mark with CDs and SACDs. Lee played clarinet (atrociously) and trumpet (pretty well) in high school, studied piano for over ten years, and sang in choruses in college and grad school. His fondest memory from those days is singing the German Requiem with the fabulous Curtis Symphony Orchestra.

Lee wrote classical music reviews for the New Records for ten plus years, keeping his hand in by offering his two cents’ worth on Amazon.com. He’s also published three books of poetry and acts as senior literary editor for Atlanta Review magazine. For a living, he turns to technical writing. Lee received a Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania.

Audio system: NAD AV Surround Sound Receiver T 747, Oppo Blu-ray Disc Player BDP-93, PSB 5i subwoofer, four Ohm 1000 speakers.

Paul Pelon IV
has been collecting records for the better part of 20 years. A jazz enthusiast, weekend nihilist and abstract artist, his life at times appears to enjoy the delightful other-worldliness of a Wes Anderson film. He has been writing reviews for Audiophile Audition for 8 years. When not crunching numbers and projecting margins during the 9-5 pace, he can be found managing local bands in the Grand Rapids music scene, entering international art competitions and planning the perfect getaway soundtrack for going on the lam. On his turntable is an ever revolving door of esoteric tunes that keeps his golden ear on the pulse of society. He’s a cultural hound with the musical knowledge and appreciation to give even the most discriminating of audiophiles something new to discover.

Steven Ritter
Studies at Indiana University with Eugene Rousseau (sax) and University of North Carolina at Greensboro with Raymond Gariglio (clarinet and winds), composition (Jack Jarrett), and Peter Paul Fuchs (conducting). B.A. in Music History and Theory. Writing professionally for 20 years now with American Record Guide, Fanfare, and Audiophile Audition. A priest in the Orthodox Church (which has a continuing tradition of excellence in its musical heritage), and has also developed a great love for ancient church chants of all kinds, and choral music in general – aside from the great symphonic and chamber music treasures of the world. Contributed to many publications musical and theological, and authored a book: That Your Joy May Be Full – Crossroads of Orthodox Faith and Life. Steven is a composer and arranger of Orthodox Church music.

System: Onkyo TZ-DS494 receiver, Sony DVP-NC875V SACD/CD/DVD player, Mirage M595ls tower frontal speakers, Boston Acoustic surrounds, Infinity sub, and a large 18’ x 25’ listening room with 15’ ceiling and hardwood floor.

Darren Robinson
Darren received bachelors of horn performance from New Mexico State University and a master of music education form Arizona State University.   Darren has had experience teaching music K-12; general music, guitar, drum ensemble, band, and strings.   In addition to now teaching horn privately to students from beginners to retirees, he is as active player in the Phoenix area; having worked from solo and chamber groups to theater and orchestras.   Not only experienced in playing on almost every standard band and string instrument, Darren has forays into piano, bagpipes, writing poetry, lyrics, arranging and composing.

Doug Simpson
B.A. in Broadcasting with an emphasis on film criticism, California State University, Los Angeles. Worked as an U.S. Navy broadcast journalist for 5 years, including a stint as radio station manager. Has been an avid music collector for 30+ years. His lifelong obsession with music came at an early age growing up in Alaska, due to his father’s extensive classical music collection, and blossomed when he first heard rock and jazz in junior high. He has written music reviews and features for several print and online publications, including Skyscraper, Campus Circle, InSound, The Scene L.A., The Silver Lake Local, and News4U. He currently works as a graphic artist and music analyst for a Los Angeles market research company.

Tim Taylor
I was born in the Swing Era of 1942.  The radio was constantly on at home as I grew up.  I started to play clarinet in elementary school.  I learned to play the b-flat, soprano, alto and bass clarinet in junior high.  I was fortunate to move to a high school in the San Fernando Valley, California with a great music director and music program where I was exposed heavily to big band jazz.  Several of my friends became pro-musicians, with Stan Kenton, Orin Tucker and other bands operating at the time.  When the Sixties were in full swing I listened a bit to some rock ‘n roll, but Henry Mancini with his Peter Gunn jazz and easy listening music was a favorite that kept me grounded.  I have been fortunate to have visited The Lighthouse Café in Hermosa Beach, California which at that time was referred to as the home of West Coast jazz.

I strayed from jazz a bit for a number of years.  My career took me to relocate in Oregon and I was constantly in a car and started listening to the jazz station in Portland, Oregon, KMHD 89.1 fm.  I retired from my career and by a fluke ended up being a disc jockey in 2000 with KMHD.  I was on the air Wednesday’s mid-morning on a show I named The Coffee Break and used the nickname JavaMan— on air thru 2009.  I had an ear for well-performed jazz and the show was successful.  It has been a great comfort and joy to hear the music as well as a catch up and learning process to evolving jazz.  I have had the privilege to experience a bit of the jazz scene in Portland at the many venues.





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