Moogfest Panels & Discussions Captivate Audiences, Illuminate Moog Legacy

On Halloween weekend, Moogfest 2010 took  Asheville, NC by storm. This multi-venue festival,  a summit for electronic music lovers from all over the globe,  featured over 50 bands throughout the three music-infused days. Artists include such varied bands as Devo, Massive Attack, Pretty Lights, Thievery Corporation, Jonsi, Big Boi, Disco Biscuits, Sleigh Bells, Saturn Never Sleeps, Headronics, Matmos, RJD2, Ce-Lo, DJ Spooky, Girl Talk, Panda Bear and more. You can check out the entire pheonmenal line-up here.

The Bob Moog Foundation proudly partnered with Moogfest, Moog Music, Inc. and Red Bull to present the Moogfest workshops, panels and discussions. Drawing from the Moog brian trust, the workshops featured a fusion of historical, educational and technical material presented by some of the most knowledgeable minds in the music and tech industry. The workshops, which were held in the Moogaplex (in the Haywood Park Hotel Ballroom just across from the Asheville Civic Center), brought together generation-spanning experts ranging from those who worked with Moog during the seminal days of synthesis to modern day sound sculptors.

In addition the the panels, the Bob Moog Foundation ran a continuously packed MoogLab interactive experience, allowing attendees to try their hand (and ears) at a variety of Moog synthesizer, theremins and effect processors. In the background, a slideshow featuring artifacts from Bob’s archives served as a visual reminder of the rich history that was celebrated by the festival itself.

Here’s a complete rundown of the workshops, panels and discussions:

Synth History Panel: The Birth of the Minimoog:

Herb Deutsch – Herb, currently professor emeritus at Hofstra University, is the experimental jazz musician who first approached Bob in 1963 about the need for a new instrument that could generate new sounds. The two worked together in the summer of 1964 to develop the initial circuits for what would become the prototype modular. Herb went on to become the VP of Marketing at the later Moog Music in Buffalo, NY, and was responsible for the development of the Liberation and the OPUS 3.

Bill Hemsath – As an engineer at R.A. Moog, Co. in 1969, Bill put together the first prototype models, models A and B, of the Minimoog. He subsequently worked with the team of Chad Hunt, Jim Scott, and Bob Moog to develop Models C and D.

David Van Koevering – David was the first salesman for Minimoog. He is credited with setting up distributors for the Minimoog across the country at a time when nobody knew what a synthesizer was. Dave is widely credited with marketing the instrument to such great effect that he  made it a commercially viable. Dave served as VP of Marketing at Moog Music in the early 1970s

Tom Rhea – Tom is an electronic music historian who first met Bob Moog in Trumansburg, NY when writing his thesis. He went on to become an employee of Moog Music, Inc. (Buffalo) as a clinician, design consultant, and Director of Marketing at Moog Music. He is well known in the synth community for writing the manual for the Minimoog. Tom was part of the design team, along with Bob Moog and Jim Scott, who developed the Crumar Spirit.

Brain Kehew, Moderator – Brian is a producer, writer and keyboardist, best known for his work with the Moog Cookbook. He has toured with the Who, co- produced Fiona Apple, and co-authored the much acclaimed Recording the Beatles. He currently serves as the Bob Moog Foundation Archive (BMFA) Historian.

Artist Performance and Discussion: Tara Busch Remixing with Moogerfoogers

Tara is a sound sculpting goddess who is well known for her blog She is a self-described “futurist”, mixing vintage technology with cutting edge technology. Her performance at Moogfest was a combination of crystalline vocals meshed with ethereal and thundering explorations of analog synthesis.

Technical Panel Discussion: An Insiders Glimpse into the Work of  Moog Engineers

Cyril Lance, Rick Shaich, Steve Dunnington and Eric Church

Cyril has been working with Moog Music, Inc. since the time of Bob’s passing in 2005. He is responsible for the design implementation of the Little Phatty, for the development of the Taurus III pedals and for guiding the engineering team at Moog Music to create many award winning products. He was  joined by longtime Moog engineer Steve Dunnington, who studied and worked under Bob and most recently worked on the Slim Phatty; Eric Church who has been working on the Moog Guitar and the new Moog lap steel; and Rick Shaich, who specializes in product engineering and production.

Theremin Performance and Lesson:  Kevin Kissinger — Theremin

Kevin is a classically-trained composer/performer/multi-instrumentalist who discovered the theremin in 2005. He has received recognition for “Best performance of the Year” in 2006 and 2007 as part of the Spellbound artist list, an internet music program devoted entirely to theremin music. He mesmerized the Moogfest audience with original compositions that featured his Etherwave Pro Theremin with loops and backing tracks. During his performance, 15 theremins were set up for the  audience to partake in a brief theremin lesson conducted by Kevin.

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Synth History Panel: Exploration of Bob’s Archives

Brian Kehew – Brian is a producer, writer and keyboardist who is best known for his work with the Moog Cookbook. He has toured with the Who, co- produced Fiona Apple, and co-authored the much acclaimed Recording the Beatles. He currently serves as the Bob Moog Foundation Archive (BMFA) Historian.

Michelle Moog-Koussa – Michelle has been involved in the preservation of Bob’s archives since initially finding the collection in Bob’s country workshop. She has helped steward the collection to a stable storage environment, been in charge of all preservation efforts including coordination of volunteer cataloging teams, and has worked closely with the Grammy Foundation on the restoration of reel-to-reel tapes in the archive.

Seva David Ball – Seva is a recording engineer and a mastering engineer. He owns Soundcurrent Mastering in Knoxville, TN and has three Grammy nominations. Seva is the Bob Moog Foundation’s archive preservationist, currently restoring Bob Moog’s reel-to-reel tapes with a grant from the Grammy Foundation

Brian, Michelle and Seva are three of the few people who have been exploring, organizing and preserving Bob’s archives over the past few years. They will lend their insights about the depth and breath of material in this fascinating collection and illuminate the importance of this collection for the history of electronic music.

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Technical Discussion —Moog Guitar Sound Sculpting with Saul Zonana

Saul is a killer guitarist who has worked with Adrian Belew, Ace Frehley, Crash Test Dummies. During his discussion, he integrated the Moog Guitar, Moogerfoogers, Multi-Pedal, and Little Phatty into an exploration of the guitar’s amazing capabilities.

Technical Panel: Modern Day Sound Sculpting with Tara Busch and Richard Divine

Richard Devine – Richard is an electronic musician and one of the world’s most acclaimed, young sound designers. He is known for his integration of vintage and contemporary technology. His clients include Nike and Touchstone Pictures, among others.

Tara Busch – Tara is a former rock musician turned synthesizer devotee. She is often referred to as a synth goddess who is also well-known as a prominent analog synth-blogger for She is a self-described “futurist”, mixing vintage and cutting edge technology. Her performances are ethereal explorations that mix electronic, acoustic and vocal elements.

Abominatron 2 Performance: Richard Devine

Richard is one of the world’s most acclaimed, young sound designers; his clients include top names in film and advertising. Richard performed on Moog Music’s exclusive Abominatron 2 synthesizer.

Synth History Panel: Examining the Legacy of the Mini-Synth

Steven Fortner (editor of Keyboard Magazine), Geary Yelton – (longtime contributor and current senior editor of the magazine Electronic Musician) and  Mark Vail  (author, Vintage Synthesizers), along with moderator Brian Kehew, explored the definition of a “mini-synth”, as well as the genre’s mark on popular music.

Theremin Performance and Workshop: Dorit Chrysler

Dorit is an Austrian born thereminist now living in New York City. She is the founder of the New York Theremin Symposium, and she composes and performs on the theremin throughout the world.

Technical/Eductional Panel: The Power of Modular Synthesis

Erik Norlander – Erik is a virtuoso synthesist, composer and producer. He has also led several synthesizer design teams. In 1995 he began lovingly restoring a modular Moog synthesizer and never looked back. Nearly five years later, the result was a 22 oscillator custom synthesizer that his roadies affectionately referred to as the Wall of Doom.

Amos Gaynes – Amos is the Tech guru at Moog Music. His deep knowledge and understanding of synthesis and his clarity in expressing problems and solutions has given him the reputation as the go-to man when people have questions.

August Worley – August is a former engineer at Moog Music (Buffalo), Big Briar, Inc. and Moog Music (Asheville). He worked with Bob to develop the Voyager in 2002. August also toured with Emerson, Lake and Palmer in 1997 during their reunion tour as keyboard tech for Keith’s massive Monster Moog modular synth.