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Anniversaries: Morton Subotnick Born 80 Years Ago

The Man Who Anticipated Our Present in 1967

In 2000, when I was the Classical Editor at, I interviewed Morton Subotnick at length -- so much length, in fact, that my boss complained that I ran a two-part feature on a guy he'd never heard of whose name, he said, sounded like that of a dentist. Well, as much as I loved that job and that boss, I was right about the importance of Morton Subotnick. He was one of the first computer-music composers to find a broad audience. Among the earliest electronic composers to use electronic instrument designer Donald Buchla's modular voltage-controlled synthesizer rather than wave generators and tape-manipulated sounds, Subotnick broke away from the highly abstract formulas and structures of academically respected electronic music by including sections with regular rhythms, which pointed to the future of electronic music.

His work for tape Silver Apples of the Moon, released in 1967 on the Nonesuch label,

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