I think it was in 1969, a weekly workshop with Morton Subotnick, where — well, he taught a course in electronic music. It was a very, very exciting period of time for electronic music.1 Prior to the late 60s, composers like David Tudor, Gordon Mumma, David Behrman etcetera were working with individual modules to make their electronic sounds.2 But then the Moog had came out, then popularized with music like Switched on Bach by a composer who was then known as Walter Carlos.

 

And Morton had collaborated in San Francisco with an engineer named Donald Buchla to make a modular synthesizer.3 And the difference between the Buch and the Moog was that with the Buchla, the emphasis was on differentiated pitch. And so, the course we took with Morton was with the Buchla synthesizer, and I was just so excited. His album Silver Apples of the Moon had just come out on Nonesuch Records. I had bought it, and the way — I was a teenager at the time. I listened to it the way a teenager only can. Which is to say, constantly and — knowing every single pitch that was played on it. And I was so excited to take the courses with him.

 

And then at the end of the course he let each of us do a one minute piece, compose a one minute piece in his studio on 144 Bleecker Street, which is part of NYU. And it was just real — to be able to do this, it was so inspiring. Morton of course is such a wonderful communicator and a wonderful teacher, and he really inspired us kids to play. And so, then after the course I ask, “Mr. Subotnick, can I study with you personally?” And he let me study with him, and we did counterpoint. His whole trip back then was “Ah, harmony, you know harmony; counterpoint, counterpoint and, more counter point”, which I was happy to do, but the big selling point was that he let me use his studio on weekends.

  1. My Toolbox []
  2. Go Out And Perform []
  3. San Francisco Tape Music Center, Veracious Listeners []
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