Bob Moog’s Legacy
Bob Moog (1934-2005) was an innovator in the world of electronic music for more than 50 years, expanding the boundaries of sonic expression and affecting the lives of musicians and music lovers around the globe. His invention of the Moog synthesizer in 1964 (in collaboration with Herb Deutsch) revolutionized almost every genre of music, offering performers new sonic possibilities in which to express their creativity. For many musicians, the synthesizer transformed their lives and work. Bob’s impact and the legacy are ongoing.
The TEC Award for Excellence in Audio
Lifetime Achievement GRAMMY Award (1970)
Technical Achievement GRAMMY Award (2004–Along with Steve Jobs of Apple Computer)
A plaque on the Rock Walk Hall of Fame (1985)
The Polar Music Prize (Sweden’s music Nobel Prize) (2001)
An award-winning film, Moog, about his life and creative spirit (2004)
A book, Analog Days: The Impact and Invention of the Moog Synthesizer (2004)
Before the legacy…
Bob Moog was born in Queens, New York on May 23, 1934 to George and Shirley Moog. Growing up, he considered himself a geeky and socially awkward identified his passion for electronics by the time he was ten years old. From an early age Bob built small radios, amps, three note organs and other such projects in the basement workshop with his father George Moog, who was an electrical engineer for Con Edison.
At age 14, Bob built his first theremin and a life-long fascination was born. Even as a teenager, Bob was taken by the elegant design and expressive nature of this early electronic musical instrument and dedicated much of his spare time, when he wasn’t attending the Bronx High School of Science or practicing the piano, to perfecting his own design and studying the design of his idol, Leon Theremin. At age 19, Bob published his first article entitled The Theremin in Radio and Television News, in January 1954. That article spawned requests from readers for theremin parts and kits. R.A. Moog, Co., Bob’s first company, was born.
Bob studied at Queens College and Columbia University in New York City where he obtained his bachelors in physics and his masters in electrical engineering. He moved upstate to Ithaca, New York in 1957 to obtain his Ph.D. in engineering physics, and married Shirley Leigh in 1958. Bob spent the following years working on his Ph.D. and running a successful theremin kit business. In 1963, Bob met experimental jazz musician and Hofstra professor Herb Deutsch at a New York State Educator’s Music Conference and they began talking about new possibilities for composing music with new electronically generated sounds. The rest, as they say, is history.