When you’re in a performance hall, awash in the satiny tones of a jazz saxophonist or a violin quartet, the auditory experience you’re having is the result of many calculations. The tilt of ceiling tiles, the spacing between acoustic panels, the type of materials used — all these architectural details have been designed by engineers and architects to maximize the experience of every person in the house, no matter their seat.
This summer, Filipe Camarotti ’14 is immersing himself in the world of acoustical engineering by interning with SIA Acoustics, which has an office in Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. SIA Acoustics is a small company that consults on projects ranging from compact sound recording studios and jazz venues to large concert halls.
To support his living expenses this summer, Camarotti has a grant from the Robert S. Goodfriend Summer Internship Fund, one of many donor-funded internship grants Bowdoin College provides students to support otherwise unpaid summertime work.
As a physics and math major, and a music minor, Camarotti says his internship combines his love of music with an innate curiosity to figure out how and why things work. “When I got more involved with music, I wondered, how does sound work? Why does sound behave in such a way?” he said.
Camarotti, who sings with the Bowdoin a cappella group the Meddiebempsters, first learned of the company at a Meddiebempsters concert in California. There he connected with a Meddie alumnus, Jeff Friedlander ’08, who works for SIA Acoustics. Friedlander, who also studied physics and music at Bowdoin, encouraged Camarotti to intern at his company to get a sense of the industry.
Camarotti says this summer Friedlander is encouraging him to soak in as much as he can. “He’s having me do a lot of reading and research and familiarizing myself with architectural software. He lets me listen into conversations he has with the boss [SIA founder Sam Berkow] or with clients to understand the language and how they go about tackling projects,” Camarotti said. “He says my biggest purpose is to be a sponge.”
This suits Camarotti, who says he wanted to be at a small company rather than a large firm, so he would be exposed to all sides of the business. “The reason I picked this company instead of applying to other places is because I knew I’d be working one-on-one with Jeff and be involved with all [the company’s] projects,” he said.
Camarotti, who was born in Brazil and grew up in Iowa, says that upon graduation, he may pursue an advanced engineering degree and work in the acoustics field. “It is a way to combine my desire to understand music and my love of music,” he said.