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NY Sound Designer Erik T. Lawson Wins 2013 USITT Award for Young Designers & Technicians

New York Sound Designer Erik T. Lawson is the winner of the 2013 Robert E. Cohen Sound Achievement Award, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology has announced.

Lawson is among nine winners of 2013 USITT Awards for Young Designers & Technicians in the Performing Arts, which include the sound design award.

Lawson received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama in May 2012 and has since been designing for New York venues including the Incubator Arts Project and the Undergroundzero Festival.

The 2013 YD&T awards will be presented in a special ceremony at USITT's Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, March 20?23, which draws 5,000 people from the world of theatrical design.

The awards are held annually by USITT, the national association for performing arts design and technology professionals. Nine awards sponsored by industry leaders honor young designers in the areas of production, sound, lighting, costumes, makeup, stage management, set design and scenic technology.

Winners are nominated by USITT members and chosen by a panel of experts in each field. Lawson was nominated by CMU Drama Prof. Joe Pino. Lawson submitted a resume, letters of recommendation and a portfolio of his work to the sound design panel.

Lawsons's portfolio included original composition and sound design work for CMU productions of The Alice Project, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Suddenly, Last Summer. He has also composed sound designs for the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and the Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre.

One adjudicator wrote of Lawson's work, "I really enjoyed reading your working philosophy ... I really like what I see and hear!" Another noted, "I was very impressed by your work. I was particularly intrigued by your methods of visualizing and planning your scores."

The Robert E. Cohen Sound Achievement Award was established in 2005 by Robert Cohen, founder of Clear?Com Intercom Systems, to recognize creative application of sound. Lawson will receive a $1,000 cash prize and free USITT Conference registration.

A total of 60 young designers were nominated for the 2013 YD&T Awards. The winners will be honored in a special multi?media event on opening night of USITT's 53rd Annual Conference & Stage Expo, and with a separate reception during the four?day event to meet their award's sponsors and adjudicators.

USITT, the association for backstage professionals, serves nearly 4,000 members worldwide. Its annual Conference offers more than 200 workshops, meetings and networking events for theatrical design professionals. For more information, visit

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