Morton Subotnick

Morton Subotnick is one of the true pioneers of electronic music. Born in 1933 in Los Angeles, he first came to prominence as a co-founder of the pivotally important San Francisco Tape Music Center, where he worked and appeared alongside musicians like Ramon Sender, Terry Riley, Steve Reich and Pauline Oliveros. Throughout his career Subotnik has worked extensively with both interactive electronics and multi-media.

"Silver Apples of the Moon" was his first album, released in 1967 by the then-fledgling Nonesuch imprint and celebrated since as a classic of 20th-century music. Subotnick commissioned instrument designer Don Buchla in the early '60s to build what he and Buchla had conceived as a sort of electronic-music easel. The result of their work together is now considered to be one of the first analog synthesizers. It was with this unique modular voltage-controlled instrument with sequencing ability that Subotnick created "Silver Apples of the Moon." Subotnick laid new ground in electronic music, breaking with academic avant-gardists by including entertaining and entrancing sections with regular rhythms. Subotnick's sequencer use - effectively creating many repeated figures in the recording - is something we now take for granted in electronic music, but Subotnick was one of the first to realize this vision. The recording of "Silver Apples" brought Subotnick worldwide fame and has remained a treasured icon of electronic music for over 40 years. In 2010, the Library of Congress added "Silver Apples of the Moon" to the National Recording Registry - high praise indeed.

Since that first recording in 1967, Subotnick has had a stellar career as a recording and performing musician, multi-media artist, and composer for dance, as well as a teacher - among his many students are such noted musicians as Ingram Marshall and Rhys Chatham. Throughout his career Subotnick has received many awards and released a carefully selected number of recordings. He currently lives in New York with his wife, the avant-garde vocalist Joan La Barbara.

Last year for the inaugural Unsound Festival New York, Subotnick appeared in a special one-on-one interview context. For his special appearance at this year's festival, Subotnick will perform live - in a revival of his classic work "Silver Apples of the Moon." This will be a don't miss chance to see one of the key American innovators of electronic music performing a classic work live.  

Note: Subotnick will also be doing a special demo/lecture Buchla presentation at the Greenwich House Music School during the festival.