Wendy Carlos and Robert Moog collaboration, Cornell University Library

Ithaca LGBTQ History Walking Tour

Wendy Carlos and Robert Moog collaboration, Cornell University Library

Ithaca, New York 14850, United States

Created By: Center for LGBT Education, Outreach & Services, Ithaca College


Robert Moog, who studied at Cornell, was an engineer and pioneer of electronic music. He invented the first commercial synthesizer, the Moog synthesizer, that continues to be a major influence in popular music. His personal archive of notes, plans, drawings, recordings are housed in the Cornell University Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections.

Moog met Wendy Carlos in the 1960s. She is a recording engineer, musician and composer who also happens to be a transgender woman. Carlos was also building electronic music devices, and Moog credits her with making numerous improvements to his work. Moog’s factory was in nearby Trumansburg, and the first commercially available model was promoted with a free demonstration record produced and composed by Carlos. Shortly after, Wendy Carlos produced “Switched-On Bach, ”an unexpected hit record that stayed on the Billboard Top 40 list for 4 months. The album featured the songs of Johann Sebastian Bach, played on a Moog synthesizer. It won three Grammies and sold over a million copies. Carlos later used a Moog synthensizer to write the score for the Stanley Kubrick film “A Clockwork Orange.”

Later, she named a new puppy that joined her family B-r-r-itannia – saying the “Brr…” was for the cold wind in Ithaca.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Ithaca LGBTQ History Walking Tour


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