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Wendy Carlos

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Biography

Composer Wendy Carlos spurred electronic music to new commercial heights during the late '60s, popularizing the synthesizer with the enormously successful Switched-On Bach album. Born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island on November 14, 1939, Carlos pursued her M.A. in composition under Vladimir Ussachevsky and Otto Luening at Columbia University's famed Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center. Following her graduation, she moved to Manhattan, where she found work as a recording engineer. In Manhattan, she met Dr. Robert Moog and, not long afterward, she began playing the Moog synthesizer. Carlos released her first recording, Switched-On Bach, in 1968. A showcase for the Moog synthesizer, Switched-On Bach interpreted the legendary composer's most renowned fugues and movements via state-of-the-art synth technology; purists were appalled, but the record captured the public's imagination and in time became the first classical album certified platinum by the RIAA. It also earned three Grammy Awards. A similar effort, The Well-Tempered Synthesizer, followed in 1969. In 1971, Carlos wrote the music for Stanley Kubrick's controversial film A Clockwork Orange, introducing the vocoder -- an electronic device designed to synthesize the human voice -- in her score. After 1976's Brandenburg Concertos 3-5, Carlos again worked with Kubrick, providing the score for his 1980 adaptation of Stephen King's The Shining. Two years later, she wrote music for the Disney film Tron. Subsequent efforts included a spoof of Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf" recorded with Weird Al Yankovic and Switched-On Bach 2000. ~ All Music Guide

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