Composer, author, and filmmaker Richard Lainhart (award-winning, internationally performed composer who has worked with the likes of Steve Reich and John Cage) writes CDM with memories of Bob Moog:
I first met Bob Moog around 1973, when I was attending the State University of New York at Albany and studying electronic music and composition with Joel Chadabe. Joel was good friends with Bob, and with his help, had assembled one of the largest Moog modular systems in the world at the time – a system on which I spent thousands of hours. Bob designed many custom modules and components for the CEMS system, including the digital master clock system you see in the foreground of the picture above – and of course all the other modules as well
Through Joel, I got to know Bob fairly well, and we found that we had an earlier unknown connection – Peter Reuter, a pianist friend of my father who was also an artist and graphic designer, had designed Moog Music’s new logo in the mid-Sixties, receiving a Moog Melodia Theremin in exchange. Peter gave that Theremin to me later when I told him of my interest in electronic music, and I kept it until just recently, when Moog Music was kind enough to give me a new Etherwave Theremin in exchange for the now non-functional Melodia.
Bob was a brilliant engineer and instrument designer, but he was a genuinely nice man too, always friendly and willing to share ideas and information with aspiring electronic musicians and composers, and always interested in and supportive of the work people did with his instruments, no matter how esoteric.(read more)
The last time I saw Bob was at the first MoogFest in New York City, right around the time of his 70th birthday. I attended the MoogFest with Jordan Rudess, and we decided to do a live online performance using Moog and Moog-inspired instruments in honor of Bob’s birthday. I hadn’t seen Bob in many years at that point, but he remembered me and was, as always, gracious and happy to record a little introduction for us for the performance, which we gave a few days later. He was obviously having a great time at the MoogFest, and it was gratifying to see the respect and admiration that the performers and audience had for him.
I am a composer today in part because of the inspiration his instruments provided me. He was, in many ways, the father of all contemporary electronic musicians. Rest in peace, Bob.
Thanks for sharing this with us, Richard. For the uninitiated wanting more information on some of the folks mentioned in this article, links below. -PK
Lainhart – Jordan Rudess collaboration [ @ moogmusic.com ]
Keep the memories coming, whenever you feel ready to share. Thanks.
UPDATED: Richard sends along another anecdote:
One additional note that perhaps I should have added to the info I sent you – Peter Reuter was friends with the cartoonist Johnny Hart, and was the inspiration for the character “Peter” in the B.C. comic strip. I took piano lessons from Peter for a while, and it was he who turned me onto Switched-On Bach before it became well-known; I was strictly a Morton Subotnick partisan at the time. Peter died too young, in his forties, and he was a great guy – a concert pianist and internationally-known watercolorist; one of those guys who was so talented, he didn’t really know which way to go.
He also lets us know that he’ll keep us posted on the organization with a lofty mission but an awkward name, The Bob Moog Memorial Fund dedicated to the Advancement of Electronic Music. (BMMFDAEM?) Thanks again, Richard.