With Love, We Remember
3/31/56 – 12/15/17
Dominick Joseph Maita lived his life guiding musicians young and old to do their best work. He knew how to listen for the right tone and had an ear for finding the right balance of sounds, not just in a recording or mastering studio, but in life.
That life, which ended at his home in Boulder, Colorado, on Friday, December 15, 2017, was ultimately his best work.
He died at age 61 of neuroendocrine cancer, an illness that he was convinced made him a better person. Remarkably, the anticipation of each sunrise became an opportunity “to be spectacular” despite knowing his body was working against him. Even during the hardest days, he pushed himself to see the good. “Am I dying or finally living?” he asked his wife, Cindie Baker Maita, after receiving his cancer diagnosis a year ago. He knew the answer was both, but Dominick chose to approach the dying by making the living matter more.
Music dominated his life since Dominick was very young in Bayonne, New Jersey, just outside New York. After studying music engineering at the University of Miami, he returned to New York to become the chief engineer of RPM Studios and later mastering engineer at Sterling Sound, one of the industry’s most prestigious mastering studios.
Over the next 25 years in New York, he worked as an engineer and mixer for some of the world’s greatest musical artists — Bryan Ferry (“Boys and Girls”), Herbie Hancock (“Future Shock”), Til Tuesday (“Voices Carry”) and Laurie Anderson (“Strange Angels”). His discography is long and reflects a diverse client list spanning all genres of artists from folk (Suzzy and Maggie Roche, Tracy Grammer, Doc Watson) to punk (Plain White T’s, Fall Out Boy, Hawthorne Heights) to pop (Billy Joel, Jill Sobule) to jam (The String Cheese Incident) to classical experimental (Phillip Glass) to Afropop (Miriam Makeba). His ability to work with such a diverse roster of artists who come from many generations reflects an artist that people respected and trusted. Through patience and direction, he knew how to bring out the best in people.
In 1998, Dominick met Cindie Baker through the Century Road Club Association cycling team they both rode with in New York City. They married in 2002 and relocated to Boulder in 2004. There, Dominick fulfilled his dream of operating his own world-class mastering suite, at the same time discovering a profound love of the outdoors through his athletic pursuits.
Dominick and Cindie embraced their Colorado life, exploring its back roads and mountain towns by foot, bicycle, snowshoe, river raft and car. Dominick also struck a balance in his own life, between the solitude of the mastering studio and the fellowship with nature.
His longest-running project was mastering nearly 20 albums from the hit television series “Glee.” Many of those albums were No. 1 hits in the U.S. and worldwide, reaching millions of listeners, all of whom benefited from Dominick’s ear and craftsmanship.
Throughout his professional life, Dominick drew inspiration from the late Chet Atkins. Atkins was not only one of the greatest guitarists of his generation, but he also created what came to be known as “The Nashville Sound,” which used a broader palette of sounds, such as string sections, background singers and horns, to both modernize and expand the audience for country music. Like Atkins, Dominick was interested in manipulating sound to take listeners on an emotional journey.
Dominick applied that inspiration to one of his final major projects, mastering the unique concerts at Tippet Rise Art Center in Fishtail, Montana. Tippet Rise combined so much of what Dominick appreciated — the peace of the great outdoors, the precision of fine art and music and the kindness and generosity of the people he loved most.
“Dom’s work will live forever,” said co-founders Peter and Cathy Halstead, “because what he has helped create at Tippet Rise is as fine as anything we’ve ever heard and will endure beyond this momentary time.”
Just as Chet Atkins mesmerized audiences with his fluid fingerpicking guitar style, strumming a steady bass beat with his thumb while plucking lively melodies with his fingers, Dominick mastered his own life — steady and calm, and with a poet’s eye and a joyful wit that made all of it spectacular.
Dominick is survived by his wife, Cindie Baker Maita; his mother, Margaret Maita; his daughter, Heather Humenic Krops; and his grandchildren, Julia Edgerton and Michael Krops. He was preceded in death by his father, Joseph Maita, and brother, Frank Maita.
Memorial services to celebrate Dominick’s life are being planned for a later date to be held in Bayonne and Boulder.
Memorial contributions can be sent to the hospice that provided him great comfort and care in his final few days: TRU Community Care, 2594 Trailridge Drive East, Lafayette, CO 80026, www.trucare.org.
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