An MIT Alumni Association Publication

Music Producer and Educator Manages Sound for Stars

  • Liz Karagianis

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Pablo Munguia ’91 began piano lessons in Mexico City at age five, but the lessons soon ended, he says, “when the teacher told my parents I had no interest, no inclination, and no talent.”

Now Munguia is a renowned music producer and audio engineer who has been nominated for 16 Primetime Emmy Awards and won six. He was on the audio team responsible for several Super Bowl half­time shows, traditionally the most-watched musical event of the year in the United States. Last year, it featured Lady Gaga; this year, Justin Timberlake was slated. “You must wow an audience of 100 million viewers and build a set from scratch right on the field,” he says. “The pres­sure is tremendous.”

Munguia has collabo­rated on the American Music Awards, the Grammys, the MTV Video Music Awards, the BET Awards, and more. He worked on American Idol, The X Factor, and the open­ing ceremonies of the Spe­cial Olympics in China. He also directs the master’s pro­gram in music production, technology, and innovation at Berklee College of Music’s campus in Valencia, Spain.

He began his career as a research scientist at IBM, then moved to Los Angeles to work with top pro­ducers and engineers.

A mix of engineering degrees prepared Munguia for his career. He earned two degrees in materials science and engineering: a bachelor’s from MIT and a master’s from the University of Texas at Austin in 1994. In 1997, he earned a degree from Berk­lee in music production and engineering.

He began his career as a research scientist at IBM, fabricating the world’s first diode that emits light in the visible range. Then he moved to Los Angeles to join West­lake Audio, where he worked with the industry’s top pro­ducers and engineers, like Quincy Jones and David Foster, and recording stars including Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Carole King, Alicia Keys, and others. Later, he started his own production company, Maraka Music.

“MIT puts you against the best people in the world, and you realize that you are not the best,” he says. “It was a huge lesson. MIT taught me to continue in the face of fail­ure. It was invaluable to gain the ability to face any situa­tion, win or lose.”

Munguia lives in Europe with his wife, Fernanda Sequeiros, and their one-year-old son, Ari, “who was born right in the middle of Oscar rehearsals.” For fun, he runs marathons. In his free time, he seldom listens to musicbecause, he says, “I immediately start to ana­lyze it.”

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