Women Music March 2021 – Day 29 – Wendy Carlos

She made music jump into 3D': Wendy Carlos, the reclusive synth genius |  Electronic music | The GuardianWendy Carlos

Wendy Carlos (born November 14, 1939) is an American musician and composer best known for her electronic music and film scores. Born and raised in Rhode Island, she studied physics and music at Brown University before moving to New York City in 1962 to study music composition at Columbia University. Studying and working with various electronic musicians and technicians at the city’s Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, she helped in the development of the Moog synthesizer, the first commercially available keyboard instrument created by Robert Moog.

Carlos came to prominence with Switched-On Bach (1968), an album of music by Johann Sebastian Bach performed on a Moog synthesizer, which helped popularize its use in the 1970s and won her three Grammy Awards. Its commercial success led to several more albums including further synthesized classical music adaptations and experimental and ambient music. She composed the score to two of Stanley Kubrick films – A Clockwork Orange (1971) and The Shining (1980) – and Tron (1982) for Walt Disney Productions.

Discography:
Studio: 13 albums from 1968 – 1998
Soundtrack: 5 albums from 1971 – 2005
Compilation: 3 albums from 1967 – 1968

Other things to share:
Carlos is an accomplished solar eclipse photographer. Her work has been published online by NASA and has appeared on the cover of Sky & Telescope. She has developed various techniques for the extension of dynamic range in eclipse photography by the use of darkroom techniques and digital composites.

In 1979, Wendy (born Walter) raised public awareness of transgender issues by disclosing she had been living as a woman since at least 1968, and in 1972 had undergone sex reassignment surgery.

Source: wikipedia

13 Comments Add yours

  1. trentpmcd says:

    I heard SoB at 5 and was hooked – Wendy Carlos is one of my all time favorite musicians. And I have a large modular synthesizer to prove it 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      What the heck!? You play Moog!? Jim Adams first made me aware of her when he posted something awhile back. So glad I learned about her and love her music. She is an iconic figure in electronic music!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. trentpmcd says:

        Yep. Well, I only have a little “Moog” branded equipment, but I have modern versions of it, though still all old school, analog.
        Very funny – as you would expect, playing synth is very male dominated, but several of the biggest names are women. Maybe the biggest name after Wendy Carlos is Suzanne Ciani – she is huge in certain circles and is one of the true pioneers of what you hear in electronic music today. And there are other big names, like Laurie Spiegel, who is another early pioneer, but she used huge, huge systems at Bell Labs.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          I’m truly envious. I bet it is so much fun to play. I think the woman on the video is also a synth player. I can see the album had a big impact on you.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. trentpmcd says:

            It is a lot of fun, but a lot of work! A modular synthesizer means you have to patch each sound one patch cord at a time. And of course make sure all of the knobs are int he right position 😉

            Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a remarkable story. While I’m aware of the Moog synthesizer (have contemplated dedicating a “Hardware” post to the Moog) and “The Shining”, I had no idea about Wendy Carlos. “Switched on Bach” is something!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I’m glad to introduce you to Wendy Carlos’ Switched on Bach 🙂 Well worth listening on repeat. I would love to see a post on the Moog. If you do it, plz let me know so I don’t miss it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Lisa, will do. A few years ago, I did a “Hardware” post on the Hammond B-3: https://christiansmusicmusings.wordpress.com/2017/06/05/the-hardware-the-hammond-b-3/

        I’ve also covered various guitars, the Vox Continental keyboard and the Mellotron. The entire series is at https://christiansmusicmusings.wordpress.com/category/the-hardware/

        Can you tell my geeky side is kicking in? 🙂

        Like

  3. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    I wonder if George met her because he was one of the first to buy one and ship it to England. He used it on Abbey Road. I liked the moog and mellotron a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      George knew a good thing when he saw it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved the Kubrick scores.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I think soundtracks can make or break a movie. As good as both of those movies are proves how good Carlos is. I also loved the Tron movie.

      Liked by 1 person

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