Scientist behind Stokowski/Philadelphia Orchestra recordings receives posthumous Grammy

Posted on: February 23, 2016

On Friday (2/19) at Chicago classical radio station WFMT, Mary Mazurek writes that Harvey Fletcher, “known as the ‘Father of Stereophonic Sound’ [for] his work at Bell Labs,” has been honored with a 2016 Individual Technical Grammy Award. Fletcher (1884-1981) “was a brilliant young physics student at the University of Chicago … After receiving his Ph.D., Dr. Fletcher … joined Bell Labs in 1916 and became its Director of Physical Research [where he] sought to improve audio quality of the telephone system…. His profound interest in music … led Fletcher to partner with Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and this collaboration produced over 100 stereo recordings. In his tests, listeners were often unable to distinguish the difference between the live orchestra and the recordings…. Prior to Fletcher’s and Bell Labs’ stereo recording innovations, records were made on wax cylinders called Edison cylinders…. Fletcher is credited with the invention the first practical hearing aid, the A2 audiometer, the artificial larynx, and also, supervised the development of the transistor.”

Posted February 23, 2016