“Everywhere I go, I get to experience a moment in time that nobody’s going to get back,” said Téa Mottolese, GBH’s freelance audio engineer since 2021. Every performance she engineers allows her to connect with the musicians and audience through a unique shared experience.

As GBH welcomes the next generation of sound engineers, Mottolese works alongside Grammy Award-winning audio engineer Antonio Oliart to record and produce live and studio music performances for GBH Music.

Mottolese has known that she was going to be an audio engineer since high school, when a local composer invited her to play saxophone on a composition project. After recording in the studio, she went into the control room to listen.

“When I saw the console and speakers and watched the engineer mix the recording, I thought to myself, ‘I found it,’” Mottolese recalled. “I realized this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I was only 15 and didn’t know much about the field, but I was right about myself that day.”

Since arriving at GBH, Mottolese has engineered performances in GBH’s Calderwood Studio and Fraser Performance Studio. This summer, she is engineering live sets for the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood in Lenox, Mass. “There’s a thrill in the work I do,” she said. “The Tanglewood concerts range from two performers to a hundred musicians on stage. The constant switching of ensemble size and repertoire is an organized form of chaos that’s exciting to me.”

Mottolese methodically prepares herself for every live performance. She has a mental checklist of which microphones are turned on, a memorized sequence of the show and a plan to ensure smooth transitions in between acts.

A woman sits at a sound board in the dark and stares intently to the left.
Scott Metcalfe

Through her education and early career, Mottolese entered into a male-dominated audio engineering field. When studying at The Peabody Institute of The John Hopkins University, she was the only woman in her class. In 2023, women make up just 8.6% of recording engineers in the U.S.

“We need to give young women the space and opportunities to explore and later enter these engineering fields,” Mottolese says. “This looks like equitable hiring practices, education access, mentorship opportunities and honest collaborative workspaces.”

Mottolese attributes her success in audio engineering to both her work ethic and fateful encounters. At GBH, she expresses gratitude in working closely with Antonio Oliart.

Oliart says he and Mottolese have a rewarding and collaborative partnership. “We speak the same engineering and musical language,” he said. “Her musical intuition and advice help to improve our outcomes.”

Listen to Mottolese’s engineering work on this summer’s Tanglewood broadcasts from CRB Classical 99.5.