Tom Snook, CTO, New World Symphony

Connecting the world's leading musicians over broadband while planning a state-of-the-art facility keeps Tom Snook up at night -- but young at heart.

Snook, 62, chief technology officer at the New World Symphony (NWS) in Miami Beach, has partnered with the Internet2 consortium for nearly a decade to provide graduate-level music students with mentors at the world's best symphonies and universities.

Ann Doyle, senior program manager for arts and humanities initiatives at Internet2, says Snook "has been a remarkable pioneer in shaping the performing arts community's use of [Internet2's network]."

Since starting at the NWS in 1995, Snook has worked with universities, research institutes and manufacturers to develop the products needed to offer interactive master classes, with the student based in Miami Beach and the mentor anywhere in the world. When Snook started, echo cancellation techniques removed the highs and lows, latency was a significant problem, and the audio wasn't well synchronized with the visual. Now, "the latency between here and New York for a master class one way is about 5 milliseconds, which is pretty awesome," says Snook.

The symphony's new facility, to be completed next year, will have 17 miles of 10Gbit fiber and house 38 practice rooms -- each with the requisite equipment for interactive education.

And although he isn't a professional musician himself, Snook does have a great music story: He once played drums with Louis Armstrong in Paris back in his student days.

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