Classical 91.5

Wendy Carlos, composer

Feb 8, 2021

Wendy Carlos is best known for her electronic music and film scores. She studied physics and music at Brown University before moving to New York City in 1962 to study music composition at Columbia University.

Studying and working with various electronic musicians and technicians, she helped in the development of the Moog synthesizer, the first commercially available keyboard instrument created by Robert Moog.

Carlos came to prominence with Switched-On Bach, an album of music by J S Bach performed on a Moog synthesizer, which won three Grammy Awards. Its commercial success led to several more albums, including experimental and ambient music. She composed the score to two Stanley Kubrick films, A Clockwork Orange and The Shining, and Tron for Walt Disney Productions. In 1979, Carlos raised public awareness of transgender issues by disclosing she is a transgender woman. Her critics have disproportionately focused on her gender identity, but she persisted to become a visionary composer who made the synthesizer a mainstream musical instrument.