Goodbye to Two Pioneers of Electronic Music

This week purveyed the unpleasant news of the demise of two ultra-important innovators of 20th Century music, Bob Moog and Luc Ferrari. I don’t think I have too much to add to the accolades and obituaries I’ve already read online and in print, but suffice to say I feel lucky to have been in the same room (though not at the same time) with these guys. Bob Moog visited Bard College, my alma mater, in 1996, and was as pleasant a guy as you could possibly imagine. It was amazing to me, though perhaps not surprising, that the guy who basically made synthesized music affordable to the masses was so accessible, so sweet and so helpful in spending time with students, answering their questions politely (even the dumb ones). Hearing from him first-hand about his teenage interest in the theremin was pretty amazing, to the point where I wished that I would’ve had half the adolescent curiousity, not to mention ingenuity. I never had the luck to chat with Luc Ferrari, but I did get to see a performance of his work — that he was present at — in Chicago in 2000 (I think), with a question-and-answer session as well. Though I have to admit there were a few moments that I wasn’t into, overall the music was fantastic, and so was the opportunity to see modern music performed in a nice, large space. Generally I’ve found Ferrari’s recorded works to be the most compelling of the stuff I’ve heard by the musique concrete “school” (though to be fair, I haven’t heard everything, obviously). And though Ferrari and Moog were in their 70s, they were still very active, so despite living long and fruitful lives, I consider it a pity that they’re gone.

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