Bob Moog Foundation Archives Announces Donation Of Herb Deutsch Collection


The Bob Moog Foundation has announced that it has received a significant donation of archival materials from the estate of electronic music pioneer Herb Deutsch.

The collection of materials, which totals nearly 300 items, was donated to the Bob Moog Foundation Archives by Deutsch’s widow, Nancy Deutsch, and helps document the early days of synthesis.

Herb Deutsch (1932-2022) was a composer, author, educator, and performer, and was Professor of Music at Hofstra University for 57 years. He met Bob Moog in 1963. At the time, Deutsch had built a DIY theremin from one of Bob Moog’s kits, and was interested in exploring the possibilities of electronic instruments.

In the following year, Moog and Deutsch collaborated on the design of the original Moog modular. An example of Deutsch’s influence was the creation of the envelope generator.

Deutsch expressed the musical need for a way to articulate notes, rather than have them be gated by key presses. Moog had Deutsch run to the hardware store and get a doorbell switch, which Moog then wired to trigger an envelope generator.

The design decisions they made with the early Moog modular have been hugely influential, with core modules like VCO, VCA, VCF & EG and the emphasis on subtractive synthesis helping to define many synth designs to this day. While these synth design elements may seem inevitable now, they were not at the time, when the idea of a ‘synthesizer’ was still being created.

Highlights of the collection include:

  • A 1961 R.A. Moog Melodia theremin;
  • A vintage R.A. Moog Minimoog, serial number 1093 (one of the first one hundred ever produced);
  • Original correspondence between Moog and Deutsch during the seminal period of their work together from 1963 and 1964;
  • An 84-minute reel-to-reel tape of Moog explaining how the prototype Moog synthesizer works; and
  • A tape of the landmark “Jazz In the Garden” concert held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City on August 28, 1969.

This collection represents an extraordinary addition to the Foundation Archives.

“Herb Deutsch is an integral part of the Moog legacy, and his history deserves to be examined and understood,” notes Bob Moog Foundation’s executive director, Michelle Moog-Koussa. “We are thrilled to accept this generous donation from Nancy Deutsch, and we look forward to many years of protecting and sharing these materials with researchers, historians, journalists, and museums around the world.”

“We are excited to share my beloved husband Herb’s substantial collection of archival materials through the Bob Moog Foundation Archives,” noted Nancy Deutsch. “Through this material Herb’s pioneering work will be brought to life. It is heartening to know that, through the Bob Moog Foundation, the story of Herb and Bob’s groundbreaking work together will be shared with people all over the world.”

Material from the Bob Moog Foundation Archives has been shared at the Moogseum, the Museum of Making Music, the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM), The History Center of Tompkins County, Google Arts and Cultures Music, Makers, and Machines online exhibition, and the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.

The Bob Moog Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of electronic music instrument pioneer Dr Bob Moog.  Key projects of the Foundation include Dr. Bob’s SoundSchool, the Bob Moog Foundation Archives, and the Moogseum.

 

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