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Orchestral Tools launches 'The Sixth Section' Sound Design Competition


Sample library developers Orchestral Tools have launched The Sixth Section, a new sound design competition that challenges sonic scientists the world over to create a new sampled instrument to complement and expand the definitions of the orchestra. Entries will be judged on their creativity and ingenuity, as well as on the level of expressiveness available in the finished instrument. The contest is open to all and entries will be accepted until Friday, April 14th, 2023. For more information and to enter, please click here. Here's what they say:

Orchestral Tools has built a robust line of sample libraries designed to explore the very limits of the traditional sections of the orchestra—strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. More recently, the developers have expanded into a 'fifth' section by exploring electronic and sound collage elements within their libraries and developing expressive, emotional palettes within which these instruments can be utilized for both traditional scoring and sound design purposes. This forward-thinking approach led Orchestral Tools to contemplate the idea of 'The Sixth Section'—new approaches to sound that would compliment the orchestra as well as expand its expressive capabilities beyond its traditional sections.

Final entries must be a playable virtual instrument in one of three varieties—either a custom instrument with Kontakt, HALion, or Max for Live, a loaded sampler device within Ableton, Bitwig, or Logic, or a scripted file with MaxMSP or Processing. Entries will be judged on several criteria, including sound quality, creativity, expressiveness and playability, and resource efficiency. Submissions will be judged by the Orchestral Tools team and two special guest judges—sound designer Robert Dudzic and composer Jacob Shea. Winners will be announced on May 4, 2023. To aid entrants, Orchestral Tools has also created a special sample collection of core sounds to jump-start the imagination of the entrants.

One of the founding principles behind Orchestral Tools was a genuine desire to expand the perception of what orchestral scoring can mean from a sonic perspective. And as such, we often challenge our users with new and experimental libraries that demonstrate this approach. The idea behind The Sixth Section competition is to push that even further—what new instruments can our users create that will define what the orchestra can mean for a new century? And a new generation of composers?

Orchestral Tools CEO Hendrik Schwarzer

About the judges:

  • Robert Dudzic has 25 years of professional sound design experience, contributing to hundreds of movie trailers and TV shows around the world. In the past, he has collaborated with Roland, Yamaha, Steinberg, Roli, Arturia, Tascam, ProjectSAM, and Heavyocity. His expertise makes him a valued asset in the industry, and his contributions have helped shape the way sound is used in media today.
  • Jacob Shea is a composer from California who has worked with many of Hollywood's top composers, including Elliot Goldenthal, Steve Jablonsky, and Hans Zimmer. His work as a composer and music programmer has appeared in a wide variety of media. He currently heads up the Bleeding Fingers Custom Music Shop as lead composer.
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