Following his studies in management and a stint in the world of business, Harvey Robitaille went back to his first love, music, at the age of 26. It was backstage that he found his instrument, the mixing console - and his true calling: sound design. "In a show, like a movie, there’s no emotion without a music soundtrack and sound effects,” he explains. “The mixing board is the sound designer’s medium and vocabulary. He uses it to create moods and textures. "
Over the past 35 years Harvey Robitaille has built a solid reputation in the field of theatre through his sound tableaux and his work has been recognized by his industry peers in Quebec with four prestigious Félix awards. He has taken an increasingly multidisciplinary approach to his designs, working in harmony with all the other aspects of the creations he works on. Among his many credits are the rock opera Starmania by Luc Plamondon, 18 awards ceremonies for the l'Association québécoise de l'industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo (ADISQ), 25 Just For Laughs Festivals and four Montreal International Jazz Festivals.
In 2000, Harvey designed the sound for the Millennium Symphony presented at St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, an event broadcast in quad, with more than 350 musicians on stage. He has worked with many Quebec groups and singers, including Harmonium, Robert Charlebois, Diane Dufresne, Jean-Pierre Ferland and Celine Dion. He has worked as Chief Sound Designer for such large-scale national events as the Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill, and the visits of Pope John Paul II and Queen Elizabeth II to Ottawa.
In 2000 Harvey Robitaille began working regularly with Cirque du Soleil. He designed the sound for many of the company’s special events, engagements that took him to Moscow, Cologne, London, Rome, Valencia and Las Vegas. He was also responsible for the sound environments in the Cirque shows Alegría and Dralion as well as the Cirque television series Solstrom in 2003. In 2009, he worked on the arena version of Alegría, but Banana Shpeel is his first engagement with Cirque du Soleil as Sound Designer.
One of the challenges Harvey had to face was amplifying the sound made by the footsteps of the tap dancers. "We chose a mixture of traditional and modern techniques,” he says. “Boundary microphones at the edge of the stage capture the overall sound, while fill mics attached to the dancers’ shoes amplify each of the individual taps.”
Harvey Robitaille was born in 1946 in Montreal.