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Wendy Carlos

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Biografía

Composer Walter Carlos spurred electronic music to new commercial heights during the late 1960s, popularizing the synthesizer with the enormously successful Switched on Bach album. Born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island on November 14, 1939, Carlos pursued his M.A. in composition under Vladimir Ussachevsky and Otto Luening at Columbia University's famed Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center. Following his graduation, he moved to Manhattan, where he found work as a recording engineer. In Manhattan, he met Dr. Robert Moog and, not long afterward, he began playing the Moog synthesizer. Carlos released his 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 the album became the first classical record to be 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 his score.

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