Harmonix Music Systems – Studio Biography

Harmonix Music Systems develop cutting-edge interactive music entertainment products and technologies. Harmonix is a group of software developers, musicians, inventors, video gamers, artists, and designers who are working toward a common goal: To let everyone experience the joy of making music.

Based in Cambridge, MA, Harmonix Music Systems was founded in 1995, with roots at the MIT Media Laboratory. Awarded several U.S. and international patents for unique music technologies, Harmonix is financed by Acer Technology Ventures, Collaborative Seed and Growth Partners, and SOFTBANK Investments.

Harmonix have developed interactive music attractions for theme parks and other Location-Based Entertainment (LBE) venues. In 1999 we developed a major new exhibit for the world’s largest theme park operator in Orlando, Florida, which opened to rave reviews. Our most recent LBE product, CamJam, transformed the user’s entire body into a musical instrument. Using camera-based input technology, CamJam transported users into virtual environments where they could star in their own music videos and improvise music just by moving their bodies.

Management

Alex Rigopulos – President and CEO
Alex earned his M.S. from the computer music group of the MIT Media Laboratory and his B.S. in music composition at MIT. Prior to starting Harmonix, he worked as a design consultant to Yamaha Musical Instruments in Japan. Alex performs with the Boston-area Balinese percussion orchestra
Gamelan Galak Tika, and he plays drums for Yeast, the world’s worst band.

Eran Egozy – VP Engineering and CTO 
Eran earned his B.S. and M.S. in electrical engineering at MIT and was a researcher in the computer music group at the MIT Media Laboratory. Prior to starting Harmonix, he developed Web application development tools for Art Technology Group in Boston. Eran is an accomplished classical clarinetist, and he also performs with Gamelan Galak Tika.

Mike Dornbrook – Executive Vice President and COO 
Mike began his computer game industry career in 1979 with the inception of Infocom, where he started as the tester for Zork I. Subsequently he founded the Zork User’s Group, created The New Zork Times newsletter and the industry’s first hint books, InvisiClues. He headed up Infocom’s marketing through most of the 1980s, launching over forty Top-10 bestsellers, and is particularly proud of championing The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Leather Goddesses of Phobos. Before joining Harmonix, he was co-founder and President of Boffo Games, best known for The Space Bar. He has a BS from MIT and an MBA from the University of Chicago. Mike is responsible for Harmonix’s sales, marketing, finance, and all the other boring stuff.

Greg LoPiccolo – VP Product Development 
After a decade-long stint as bassist/songwriter with Boston alternative rock pioneers Tribe, Greg signed on as Audio/Video Director for PC game developer Looking Glass Studios, and spent the next five years doing interactive scoring and game audio for such groundbreaking titles as System Shock, Flight Unlimited, and Terra Nova. He served as Project Director for Thief: The Dark Project (published by Eidos), before coming to Harmonix in 1998 to run product development.

Engineers:

Dan Schmidt – Senior Software Developer 
Dan came to Harmonix in 1996 from Looking Glass Studios, where he worked on the games Ultima Underworld, Ultima Underworld II, and System Shock, and where he was project leader on s, recently named 15th best computer game of all time by PC Gamer. Dan earned degrees in both computer science and music composition from MIT. He is an active composer and musician, and has been leading the band Honest Bob & the Factory-to-Dealer Incentive since 1992. He is also a tournament chess player and a core member of Gamelan Galak Tika.

Eric Malafeew – Senior Software Developer 
Eric came to Harmonix from MBL Research, where he developed games for EA Sports. He was the lead programmer on Supercross 2000 (PSX/N64) and rendering programmer on the acclaimed NHL ’99 (N64). He was also the client programmer on the massive multiplayer game Terra (PC) and has developed network, graphics, and scripting systems for military simulations. Eric earned his B.S.M.E. at Virginia Tech and his M.S.M.E. at MIT, where he programmed mobile robots. He enjoys ’70s music, ’80s movies, and his ’90s family.

Christine Legge – Software Developer 
Christine came to Harmonix from Presage Software, where she developed leading children’s products including Madeline’s 1st and 2nd Grade Reading and Kid Pix Studio Deluxe. As a member of Harmonix, she worked on the What if Music Were in the Air exhibit at the world’s largest theme park in Orlando, Florida, and CamJam, an interactive music experience using camera-based input. Christine has a B.S. in computer science from Stanford University. She also spent a year working in Japan for Koei Corporation. In her spare time she enjoys playing volleyball.


Jonathan Cummings – Software Developer 
Jon came to Harmonix straight from Brown University, where he earned his Sc.M. in computer science. At Brown, Jon focused his research on physical simulation and tools for editing physically realistic animation. Before that, he earned B.A.’s in computer science and mathematics from Boston University. Jon is an avid gamer and loves to cook and read whenever he’s away from
the office.

Denny Bromley – Software Developer 
Denny graduated from Harvard University in 1996 with a B.S. in computer science. He was a software developer for Mitsubishi Electric’s Cambridge research lab, JuniorNet Corporation, and Nearlife Inc. He has written original cartoon and animation music for Highlights for Children, Ranger Rick, Sports Illustrated for Kids, Weekly Reader, and Zillions. While at Nearlife, he was also the sound designer and composer for various projects, includingwww.virtualfishtank.comwww.superme.org, which is installed at the Chicago Children’s Museum; and Networld, a permanent exhibit at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. Any free time is split among dog training, watching Hong Kong action movies, playing with his blue Great Dane, “Fezzik,” and film scoring.

Steve Merel – Software Developer
Steve comes to Harmonix from Nearlife, where he worked on museum exhibits such as NetWorld, an exhibit at the Chicago Museum of Science and camera-tracking software, and worked on computer graphics for video and film at Rhythm & Hues Studios in Los Angeles. He has a B.A. in physics from
Princeton and an M.A. in physics from Harvard. An avid potter, he might even make you a coffee mug, if you ask nicely.

Damian Frank – Software Developer 
In his past life, Damian worked at Curl, where he was primarily a graphics API programmer. Prior to Curl, he was a programmer at Impressions Games, where he spent most of his time creating a graphics engine to be used in Lords of the Realm III. He spent a few years sleeping during the day and hacking code and playing games at night; oddly, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) gave him a B.S. in computer science for it. He loves games of all kinds, likes They Might Be Giants, and is thrilled to be at Harmonix.

Music

Josh “Robotkid” Randall – Music Director 
Josh graduated from Massachusetts College of Art with a degree in Electronic Multimedia in 1994. He used to wear a space suit and dance around onstage in the sci-fi techno group Institute of Technology. He did remixes and production work for a pile of electronic bands, including work for Geffen, TVT,
and Polygram Records. He previously worked at Looking Glass Studios, where he produced the hit computer games Thief: The Dark Project and System Shock 2. In his spare time, Josh enjoys VJing at local clubs and trying to top his wife’s high score in Q-Bert.

Kasson Crooker – Lead Composer/Sound Designer 
Kasson graduated from Berklee College of Music with a B.A. in studio engineering and production, with a particular interest in digital recording/manipulation and sound design. After graduating, he worked as a product tester at Lexicon, makers of amazing studio fx/dsp processors, and as the sound designer/audio producer for Papyrus Design Group (Sierra Online). All this while he was writing/recording/touring with his three bands:
Splashdown, Freezepop, and SymbionProject. Any free time is spent reading epic sci-fi books, collecting Dune memorabilia, and drinking decaliters of Dr.Pepper. He loves his Yamaha QY-70.

Christopher Child – Composer/Sound Designer 
Chris graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree in music synthesis and music composition. Prior to Harmonix, he worked as a studio lab supervisor for Berklee’s Music Synthesis department. He also works as a freelance composer, sound designer, and techno producer in the Boston area. When not spaced out in front of his computer or synthesizers, Chris enjoys eating spicy tuna rolls, vacuuming his apartment, travelling around the world recording sounds, and competitively playing ping-pong.

Producers:

Tracy Rosenthal-Newsom – Producer 
Tracy came to Harmonix from Walt Disney Imagineering, where she produced and designed attractions for DisneyQuest interactive parks. Prior to WDI, she served as Producer/Game Designer at Disney Interactive, where she worked on children’s software titles, including Ready for Math with Pooh and The Hunchback of Notre Dame Animated Storybook. Tracy spent her first (13-year) career as an assistant director for major motion pictures. She earned a B.F.A. in film at New York University.