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Ovation Nomination for Music Professor

UC Riverside Music Professor Tim Labor Nominated for Ovation Award

Awards ceremony in November honors the best in Los Angeles theater

(October 20, 2005)

Tim Labor

Tim Labor

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — Tim Labor, an assistant professor of music at UC Riverside, has been nominated for an Ovation Award for his sound design of the Open Fist Theatre Company’s production of “Papa.”

Labor, a longtime professional sound designer specializing in music, composition and sound installation and technology, is in competition with six other sound designers in the intimate theater category for the Ovation Awards, voted on by the Los Angeles Theatre Alliance. The awards take place Nov. 14 at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles.

The Hollywood-based Open Fist Theatre Company produced “Papa” last March. The rarely done play was written in the late ‘60s, by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John DeGroot, supposing an afternoon and evening in the life of legendary author Ernest Hemingway as he is interviewed by reporters. This is Labor’s first Ovation nomination.

“This is a collaborative honor, certainly shared with the play’s solo performer Adrian Sparks, and Martha Demson, the artistic director at Open Fist,” Labor said. “We had an excellent production team and cast on the project. The challenge for me in sound design was that this is a one-man play that is very realistic, so the sounds we used in the play had to come from the real world.”
The sound design reflected the ongoing tumult in Hemingway’s life.

“By the end of the play, things have become raucous in the life of Hemingway, and we get an idea of some of the exceptional moments in his life,” Labor said. “The challenge was to take the realistic moments, see the implications, and do something fantastic with them. We hear and see the flashbulbs of photographers. At one point, Hemingway yells at God, and we need sound that amplifies this act. Nobody expects to hear thunder in a one-person play, but for our purposes, that sound was the same as talking back to God.”
Other sound elements included birds, cats, children — and the unique street sounds of Hemingway’s beloved Cuba.

Labor has worked with the Open Fist Theatre Company many times, beginning with a 1999 production of “Brecht’s Life of Galileo.” Labor’s current projects include the sound design for Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” opening in November at Miracosta High School in Redondo Beach; and the recently completed music composition for “Never Say Macbeth,” a low-budget feature film scheduled to premiere in November.

Labor holds a degree in music from Queens University, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego. His awards include the Maurice C. Dubin Award in Composition; the Queen's Medal in Music, a PROcan Award; the Rodolphe Mathieu Award, a SOCAN Award and a grant from the Canada Council.

As a film and media composer, Labor has collaborated in composition and sound design for more than 50 projects, including the opening theme for Sony Interactive's hit computer game "Everquest," the documentary, "High Energy Vision" and the films "A Russian Diary" and "Casita." His recent composing projects include "The Sun" for the Hysterica Dance Company at the Ford Summer Nights Festival, and the Circle-X Theater Company world premiere productions of "Louis Slotin Sonata," "Schadenfreude" and "American Book of the Dead: the Game Show."

Labor, who is on sabbatical this semester from UC Riverside but will return in the spring, gives credit to the university for its support.

“The university creates an environment where creative people can pursue projects in their field and bring that experience back to the university to share with students and colleagues,” Labor said. “We have wonderful, ambitious students, who thrive in an atmosphere that endorses cultural and creative confidence.”

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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