Audium® Archives



MUSIC JOURNAL, January 1977 , Stan Shaff, AUDIUM: Sound-Sculptured Space

Excerpt: “For the past 18 years, I have been involved with exploring the language of space in music. The core of our concern has been that sound, in its movement through space, defines new, provocative relationships. Given this, the composer becomes sound sculptor, and spatial considerations, direction, speed and intensity require a new musical vocabulary. The interaction between compositional needs and technological innovation has led to the creation of a musical medium, Audium.”

COMPUTER MUSIC JOURNAL, MIT PRESS, Gareth Loy, Vol. 9, Number 2, 1985, “About AUDIUM A Conversation with Stanley Shaff” (COMPUTER MUSIC JOURNAL Website access through pin # ; see Audium website reprint on Press Clippings Page)

Excerpt: “Both his creation and his single-minded devotion to its fulfillment for over a quarter of a century have been driven by the urge to explore interactively the use of space and environment in music composition. Following in the tradition of other California composers such as Harry Partch, Shaff had to become an instrument builder in the service of his philosophy of music. Shaff has carried his vision into the design of the music, the unique sound reproduction system employing upwards of 136 speakers, and into the design and construction of the theater itself. Shaff has issued no records…A record would be to the experience of AUDIUM what a photograph is to a kinetic sculpture. Because it depends on this specialized environment, one must go to AUDIUM to have this experience, which helps account for its obscurity. Use of space….Shaff’s contribution lies in his realization that, if one is truly serious about utilizing space in music, one must configure the performance environment in ways that are inconceivable in a typical concert hall.”

KOREAN MUSIC JOURNAL, Eumak Dong-A, June 1986

NASA AMES RESEARCH CENTER , Durand R. Begault, April 2,000 3-D Sound for Virtual Reality and Multimedia: (enter pg. 208 in page window at bottom of page)

Excerpt “..there are composers who manipulated sound space by locating multiple speakers at various locations in a performance space and then switching or panning the sound between the sources. In this approach, the composition of spatial manipulation is dependent on the location of the speakers and usually exploits the acoustical properties of the enclosure. Examples include Varese’s Poem Electronique (tape music performed in the Phillips Pavilion of the 1958 World Fair, Brussels) and Stanley Schaff’s Audium installation, currently active in San Francisco.”

LEONARDO, Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology, MIT Press, Volume 35, Number 3, 2002, Stan Shaff AUDIUM: Sound-Sculptured Space (LEONARDO Website access through pin # ; see Audium website reprint on Press Clippings Page)Excerpt: “Through Audium, we have sought to bring listeners physically inside a sound world, where they can experience sounds as kinetic, sculptural, shaping energies. As sounds travel in total darkness, they create textures, colors and forms. Polytonal writing allows chordal clusters to interact on different levels in space. Through the workings of sound tensions and releases, the pushing and pulling of harmonics, the audio space expands and contracts. A melodic line acquires a starting point, a speed, a determined pathway and a point of conclusions. Areas in space become launching sites and meeting stations for converging sound lines. Melodic convolutions can be physically felt as they flow along spatial planes vertical, horizontal, diagonal, circular and any desired combination thereof. As each melodic line travels, layers unfold, overlap and entwine to reveal a rich audio tapestry. In seeking to understand the language of space, we hope to have brought new perceptual understandings to a largely neglected dimension in the vocabulary of music.”


HIGH FIDELITY MAGAZINE, May 1970, “Four Channels and Sixty-One Speakers”

PERFORMING ARTS, November, 1975, “A New Sound Concept”

HIGH FIDELITY AND MUSICAL AMERICA, September, 1976, Alfred Frankenstein “Debuts and Reappearances”

Excerpt: “Space has always been an implied dimension of electronic music; in Audium it becomes an actual dimension as well…..While everything is taped, the innumerable, often complex paths the sound takes through 136 speakers, the speed of its motion, and its intensity are subject to the ear and hand of the controller. The music is thereby released from the mechanical repetitiousness that so often characterizes the electronic medium….Darkness makes space part of the experience in uniquely powerful fashion. Often one seems to be searching out the sound, using one’s ears in a strenuous aural exploration of the surroundings. And the surroundings seem to encompass far more depth than the experience of the eye would confirm. Shaff has not invented any particularly new sounds, but his use of space as an element of sound is his and McEachern’s….even the most familiar of sounds takes on an unexpected clarity and purity….Nothing quite like it exists anywhere else.”

SYNAPSE, The Electronic Music Magazine, Phillip Elwood, Oct. 1976, Audium: Sound in Space “Stan Shaff and Doug McEachern are sculptors in sound and space.”

BAM, THE CALIFORNIA MUSIC MAGAZINE, Blair Jackson, January, 1978 “Aphrodisiac for the Ear”

KEYBOARD, Ellayn Evans, February, 1981

Excerpt: “Journalists form Los Angeles to Japan have praised its haunting quality….an intense sonically-created environment…configurations of environmental and futuristic sound are steered through the theatre via 136 separate speakers placed all over the room in the ceiling, walls and floor.”

KEYBOARD, Greg Armbruster, Nov. 1984, “Audium in San Francisco a Theatre of Sound-Sculptured Space,” pg. 10Excerpt: “There are two concepts that are fundamental to my work: first is the idea of sound in motion as an element for musical composition, and second is the idea that the environment is part of the work, a compositional entity in its own right. So states…Stan Shaff, composer…Conventionally, composers have almost been forced to present their works in the container chosen by the audience the auditorium…I’ve reversed that. Here the work is the place, and everything that goes on within it is part of that work. The composition literally starts the moment people enter the foyer… “

ELECTRONIC MUSICIAN, Deborah Parisi, Jan. 1990, Into the 21st Century: New Ways of Making Music, “Space is the Place (and a compositional tool as well)”

BAM, THE CALIFORNIA MUSIC MAGAZINE, Richard Price, Dec. 16, 1994, “San Francisco’s Unique Theatre of Sound,” pg. 16

THE TENTACLE | Articles | December 1999, Christopher DeLaurenti

Excerpt: “Regrettably, pioneering multispeaker environments such as the Philips Pavilion at the 1958 Brussels World Fair (designed by Le Corbusier with compositions by Iannis Xenakis and Edgard Varese coursing through 350 speakers), San Francisco’s Audium, and the Karlheinz Stockhausen sphere at the 1970 Osaka World’s Fair have barely whetted the public’s appetite for supra-stereo performances.”

MUSIKK FRA STELHETTEN, LOSTBLOG, Trond Lossius, June 3, 2001

NEW MUSIC BOX, The Web Magazine from the American Music Center, Dean Suzuki, Dec. 1, 2001, View from the West: The Next Big Thing

Excerpt: “The work is at once music as well as a kind of abstract dance (movement through space), sculpture (defining space through sound), and theater. Shaff believes that the use of sound moving through and defining space is the next step in the evolution of contemporary music, and there is certainly great potential for the genre…”

DEMeter, Universite de Lille, Annette Vande Gorne, Dec. 2002, pg. 14

ICAT 2002 CONFERENCE, The Virtual Reality Society of Japan, Dec. 4-6, Tokyo, Japan, Abstract: Spatially Immersive Displays: Media Spaces, University of Aizu, Michael Cohen, Takuya Azumi, et. al. 

DEMeter, December 2002, Vincent Tiffon, Universite de Lille (French text) (pg. 14 reference)

NEW MUSIC BOX, The Web Magazine from the American Music Center, Stan Shaff, Comment on question: What happens when the space is an integral part of the compositional process? Jan. 8, 2003

OTHER MINDS FESTIVAL, Special Performance for OM 10 Festival, March 5, 2004 ; Composer Panel, March 4, 2004

AUDIO TELETIPOS, Feb. 23, 2005



CONDITIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT OF AN INTERCHANGE FORMAT FOR SPATIAL AUDIO, Sonic Arts Research Centre, Queen’s University Belfast, Eric Lyon, 2008


NEW MUSIC AMERICA ’81 FESTIVAL, Special Performance, June 9, 1981

SAN FRANCISCO ARTS FESTIVAL, 1982 Participant, June Aug., 1982

*WIRED, “Big Sound” Feb. 1996 Colin Berry

PRO SOUND NEWS, David Streich, June 1998, Awesome Audium pg. 82

SURROUND PROFESSIONAL, Oct. 1998, Richard Zvonar, Bay Area Surroundings, pg. 16, “For those wishing to explore the surround treasures of the Bay Area, consider these multichannel institutions…Shaff’s interest in musical space was first kindled by his association with the sculptor Seymour Locks in the late 1950’s..Shaff, a jazz trumpeter, would improvise with Locks projections, moving about while he played to explore different spatial relationships with the environment.”

SHIFT/INFO-WORLD, JAPAN, 2000, Kanya Niijima

CHURN MAGAZINE, An Arts Magazine, Issue # 4, Edition, 2001 Excerpt: “.. an amazing sound system which experiments with all possible ways to create sound in an enclosed, almost visually sweltering pitch black environment.” Also, Interview with Stan ShaffRES MAGAZINE, Film, Music, Art, Design, Culture June 15, 2004

OTHER MINDS FESTIVAL, Special Performance for OM 10 Festival, March 5, 2004 ; Composer Panel, March 4, 2004


PING MAGAZINE, JAPAN David Charles, August 25, 2008

MOTORCADE AUDIO MAGAZINE, April 15, 2009, Israel Curtis

SOUND ON SOUND, Loudspeaker Orchestras: Non-Standard Multi-Loudspeaker Diffusion Systems, Emmanuel Deruty, pg. 176, par. 3, Jan. 2012


UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, Oct. 25, 1970, Robert Strand, “In a Noisy World, a Theater of Sound” (article released after theatre closed, due to sale of building)

UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, Robert Strand, Nov. 1976 Sounds-in-Space Excerpt: “A new art form is emerging: the sounds-in-space show”ASSOCIATED PRESS, Robert McEwen, January, 1978 “A Paradise of Sound”

REUTER’s, Dean Lokken, March 26, 1986, “Audium: Music in a Womb”


SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, Oct. 17, 1964 Space-Sound Continuum in Total Darkness, Alfred Frankenstein, Music Critic , Review of Oct. 15, 1964 Audium performance at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Excerpt:“Space and sound seem to go especially well together when the sound is produced electronically, but the possibilities of the space-sound continuum have seldom been so extensively explored as they were Thursday night at the San Francisco Museum of Art in a program presented by Stanley Shaff and Douglas McEachern. Shaff is the composer and McEachern the sound engineer. With speakers placed at strategic points in the room, and other speakers mounted on arms that go round and round over the heads of the audience, McEachern makes it possible for Shaff’s sound to move in any and all dimensions…. he has a remarkable way with delicate, ethereal sounds of many shapes and colors, and their deployment in space is no mere gimmick; he is also a master of irony and drama. He has real style and real range of style in a medium wherein conformity and cliche are more the rule than the exception, and one hopes his work will eventually reach the large audience it deserves.”

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, July 28, 1967, Merla Zellerbach, “A Non-Psychedelic Trip Through Sound”

BAY GUARDIAN, Creighton Churchill, May 14, 1968 “A Light Show for the Ears

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, Glen G, Music Reviewer, May 20, 1968, “Sound-Sculptured Space at the Audium”

OAKLAND TRIBUNE, Paul Hertelendy, Music Critic, Sept. 24, 1968, “S.F. Audium First Mobile in Sound”

OAKLAND TRIBUNE, Paul Hertelendy, Music Critic, Sept. 10, 1969, “Hypnotic Sounds Highlight Audium”

Excerpt: “Audium is such a sophisticated theater of taped sounds that it makes Karlheinz Stockhausen’s developments in spacial music seem rather primitive in comparison.”

BERKELEY BARB, David Close, Sept. 19, 1969, “Audium”

Excerpt: “Much work has been done with the shaping of light and space into free form, but the sole use of sound as an artistic medium in itself has been a neglected stepchild. Only a few men like Stockhausen and Cage have bothered with it at all, and it has never been explored to the full depth of its possibilities. Rock and modern stereo techniques only nibble at the fringes, and never really approach the core of sound as an art form. We have given so much attention to the bombardment of all the senses as a means of entertainment that we have neglected the possibilities inherent in the isolation of the senses and the use of their perceptions as a means to develop the mind and imagination. This concept is alive and working in Audium.”

OAKLAND TRIBUNE, Paul Hertelendy, Music Critic, Oct. 26, 1969, “New Sounds, New Sources”Excerpt: “Two local master craftsmen in music and acoustics have perfected a new technique that one could call mobile polyfontal music…It could easily develop into a major art form of the coming decades.

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, Anitra Earle, Music Critic, Dec. 15, 1969, “Audium’s Concert in the Dark”

Oct. 2,1970: FIRST AUDIUM THEATRE CLOSES, due to sale of the building. Oct. 31, 1975: OPENING OF AUDIUM’S SECOND THEATRE.

OAKLAND TRIBUNE, Paul Hertelendy, Music Critic, Dec. 28, 1975, “Audium: A Real Ear-Opener”

Excerpt: “ episodic adventure in mobile polyfontal sound…grade-A trip to the moon on gossamer wings”

SAN FRANCISCO SUNDAY EXAMINER & CHRONICLE, Calvin Ahlgren, Music, Jan. 11, 1976, “There’s More to High Fidelity and Music Than Meets the Ear”

Excerpt: “..a revolution is in advanced flight. If it had a logo, it might well be a pair of winged ears. represents an auditory planetarium”

SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER, Philip Elwood, Music Critic, Jan. 24, 1976, “A Supertrip in Aural Arts”

Excerpt: “Audium is sensational, a supertrip…probing the possibilities of compositions in recorded sound, and space…..silence, sound, darkness and light are absolute and penetrating.”

LOS ANGELES TIMES, David Johnston, Oct. 12, 1976, “Theater in Dark Puts On Fantasy Show for Ears” Excerpt: “75 minutes of sensational aural stimulation….Its sounds, in a blend that is both symphony and cacaphony, seem to go beyond the eardrum to penetrate the soul…light show for the ears”

CHICAGO TRIBUNE, Michael Coakley, Dec. 12, 1976, “A language of sound tells the Audium Story”

Excerpt: “It is a performance, rather unique in the history of theater, which is totally devoid of the visual. Just blackness and sound.”

CALIFORNIA LIVING (S.F. Sunday Examiner & Chronicle), Anna Shaff, March 6, 1977, “Audium Continuum”

Excerpt: “Above, below, front, rear, sides, metamorphose into aural dimensions. As sounds travel, carving space, conjuring images, you are participating in a sound sculpture. Sound is sculpting space.”

BAY GUARDIAN, Blair Jackson, Feb. 24, 1977, “Sound Sculpture in Four Dimensions”

Excerpt: “Audium puts sound into three clearly discernible dimensions plus a more mystical, less definable fourth dimension that lies in the mind…”

SAN JOSE MERCURY, Paul Hertelendy, Music Reviewer, Jan. 10, 1980, “Audium a Delight for the Senses”

Excerpt: “ polyfontal sound, surging through the space-time continuum.”

ASAHI SHIMBUN (Tokyo), Iwao Sakane, March 17, 1980, “Theater that Aims to Rehabilitate Music”

Excerpt: “Audium made me recall several experimental sound halls established during the International Exposition held in Osaka back in 1970. Nothing significant has developed in Japan since then. On the contrary, the experiment is being continued in America. And there is a man like Shaff who is engaged in bringing back music into the everyday life of mankind. I was deeply impressed…It is not far in the distant future, I don? think, that a small theater such as Audium will gain its proper recognition.”

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, Heuwell Tircuit, Music Reviewer, Jan. 30, 1984

Excerpt: “Composer Stan Shaff’s Audium VIII has just opened, and proves o be one of the most refined and elegant of the lot….The sounds are above, below and all around the audience. Thus the use of sculptured sound to describe Audium. A sound can begin one place, and then move above, below or around the room. Such features never degenerated into Ping Pong exhibitions, but were used with considerable finesse. …grand rumble through the floor, which, as in Harry Partch? Marimba Eroica, one does not so much hear but feel through your backside.”

SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER, Scott Beach, Music Critic, July 7, 1984 “Compelling Show for the Ears Only” “ is certainly an impressive and compelling experience….the production they offer is truly unforgettable”

SAN FRANCISCO SUNDAY EXAMINER, IMAGE MAGAZINE, Kittredge Cherry, June 28, 1987, “A light show of Sound” pg. 30

URB MAGAZINE, June, 1994, pg. 20, Future Perfect: AUDIUM: A Waking Dream “The San Francisco Bay Area is well-known the world over for its vibrant music scene, less well-known are some of the area? electronic music pioneers. I made one of the most fascinating discoveries …at the end of last year….an incredible experiment in sound. Audium.”

WESTERN EDITION, August 1995, Richard Fitzpatrick

SAN FRANCISCO WEEKLY, Colin Berry, Nov.18, 1995 Senses Working Overtime pg. 18

SAN FRANCISCO FOCUS, Dennis Harvey, March 1997, “The world’s largest musical instrument…Audium is a unique San Francisco cultural institution” pg. 114

SOMA MAGAZINE, Feb. 1998 Sound Garden, Jeff De Lucio-Brock

SAN JOSE MERCURY, Paul Hertelendy, Music Critic, July 3, 1998 Audium Surrounds Listeners (Eyes, pg. 30)


SAN FRANCISCO MAGAZINE, March 2000, Culture Hot List pg. 45

SAN FRANCISCO WEEKLY, Silke Tudor, March 21, 2001, Altered audiovisual states at Euphor!um and the Audium

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, James Sullivan , Aug. 30, 2001, “Surreal Sculpture for the Ear”

Excerpt: “Their ideas about the movable energy of sound are just now finding their way into the entertainment world, through ?urround sound at the movies, ambient nightclub settings and the new multichannel recording technique called DVD Audio 5.1.”

VIA, March 2002, “A Feast for the Ears”

RATCHET UP: Sonic Immersion, John Schott, 2003

DIGITAL CITY, Jim Christie, Sound Sculpted for the 21st Century

ARTS SF.COM, The Independent Observer of S.F. Bay Area Music, Paul Hertelendy, “A New Reality: AUDIUM’S Blacked-out Surround-Sound Collage,” Jan. 16-23, 2004, Vol. 6, No. 56

Excerpt: “Being enveloped in electronic sounds encroaching from all directions in pitch darkness is something like scuba-diving far below the ocean surface: On one hand, you feel a meditative sensory deprivation, on another you are keenly aware, as if your senses are wide open for the first time.”

SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN, Johnny Ray Huston , June 2-8, 2004 “Lite and Sound: Audium’s Stan Shaff Creates a Soundtrack in the Mind’s Eye”*LETTER TO DATEBOOK, Gareth Loy, “Space Music,” reference, June 24, 2005

NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW, “Night + Day: San Francisco” by Julianne Balmain; reviewed by Richard Woodward, May 7, 2006 (reference)

EXAMINER.COM, Ed Uyeshima, Aug. 11, 2008

NEW YORK TIMES, Chloe Veltman, March 28, 2010 “Audio Aesthetics…”

DAILY CAL, UC Berkeley, Amelia Taylor-Hochberg, May 18, 2011 “Audium Blends Sound and Space”

THE BAY CITIZEN, New York Times Blog, Local Intelligence: Audium, by Andy Wright, June 18, 2011

BAY GUARDIAN, The Performant: Space Cadets, 9-8-11, Nicole Gluckstern



PSYCHOTECHNOLOGY, Ralph Kirkland and Robert Schwitzgebel, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1973, pgs. 286, 294, 304

MOSAIC THEATRE, Lael J. Woodbury, Dean, College of Fine Arts and Communications, Brigham Young University Press, 1976, pg. 165

MUSIC JOURNAL, Volume 35, 1977

CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN COMPOSERS, a biographical dictionary, Second edition, compiled by E. Ruth Anderson, C.K. Hall & Co. 1982

MINIMALISM: ORIGINS, Edward Strickland, Indiana University Press, 1993, pg. 174

3-D SOUND FOR VIRTUAL REALITY AND MULTIMEDIA, Durand R. Begault, University of Michigan Press, 1994, pg. 241

THE COMPUTER MUSIC TUTORIAL, The MIT Press, Curtis Roads, 1996, pg. 454


SAN FRANCISCO FOCUS, KQED, Dennis Harvey, 1997, pg. 114


FOUR MUSICAL MINIMALISTS, Keith Potter, Cambridge University Press, 2000, pg. 108EXPERIENCE DESIGN, Nathan Shedroff, New Riders Publishing, 2001, pgs. 266-267

THE SCIENCE OF SOUND, Thomas D. Rossing, Paul Wheeler, Addison Wesley, 2001

JOURNAL OF THE AUDIO ENGINEERING SOCIETY, 2004, Music, pg. 829DIGITAL AUDIO WORKSTATION, Colby Leider, Miami School of Music, McGraw Hill, 2004, pg. 303

THE SAN FRANCISCO TAPE MUSIC CENTER – 1960s Counterculture and the Avant Garde, Edited by David Bernstein, University of California Press, 2008, pgs. 273, 276

TERRY RILEY’S IN C, Robert Carl, Oxford Univ. Press, 2009, Stan Shaff refs. (pgs.xi, 43,55,145)


KPFA Interview with Charles Amirkhanian, “Thin Air,” Sept. 12, 1969


CALIFORNIA REPORT, KQED FM, April 13, 1999, Colin Berry



CROSSCURRENTS, KALW FM, April 28, 2011, Martina Castro, “The Audiophile:’Audium’ composer and founder on creating the Bay Area’s first sound theater”

CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, The Science of Sound, Stan Shaff and Christopher Hedge lecture, January 13, 2011

PLEASE NOTE: The AUDIUM ARCHIVES PAGES include most of the significant articles we have been able to find, with hyperlinks provided when available. If you come across anything we’ve missed, please e-mail it to us for inclusion ( If you are a researcher and can not get an article through newspaper or magazine archives, we will try to e-mail a scanned copy to you.