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ITHACA, NY– On Saturday, May 16, 2015, a week before what would be Bob Moog’s 81st birthday, The History Center in Tompkins County (THC) and the Bob Moog Foundation (BMF) will honor the life and legacy of Dr. Robert Moog, inventor of the Moog synthesizer, through several performances, discussions and presentations by notable musicians and Moog experts.

Beginning at 11:00 a..m., Roger Luther, Moog historian and founder of will present Remembering Bob Moog, a retrospective of Dr. Robert Moog and his career.

An unprecedented listening session and discussion will take place with composer and co-inventor of the Moog synthesizer Herb Deutsch and Michelle Moog-Koussa, Executive Director of BMF, after playing Dr. Moog’s 1964 audio letter to Deutsch, including the first ever recorded sounds played on a Moog synthesizer.

Sean Michaels will discuss his award-winning book Us Conductors (“Tin House”), a fictionalized account of the relationship between Leon Theremin, the inventor of the theremin, and Clara Rockmore, the musician regarded as the instrument’s first virtuoso player. Michaels will discuss the book’s origin, reading excerpts, and give an introduction to Bob Moog’s favorite instrument, the theremin. Immediately following this event local thereminist, Harry Wilhelm will give a performance. Us Conductors will be available for purchase through Buffalo Street Books at The History Center after the event.
Composer David Borden, founder of Mother Mallard’s Portable Masterpiece Co., and Prof. Trevor Pinch, co-author of Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer (Harvard University Press) will have a discussion with Malcom Cecil, Emmy winning producer and musician in TONTO’s Expanding Head Band, about his life’s experiences connected to the Moog Synthesizer.
Cake, light refreshments, and a Bandwagon specialty brew that will only be found at this event will be served at 5:00pm, accompanied by closing remarks from staff and the Mayor of Trumansburg.
Performances by Herb Deutsch, Shueh-Li Ong, Malcolm Cecil, and The Elecric Golem will take place from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. A performance by Mother Mallard’s Portable Masterpiece Co. will end the night at 8:00pm.

Moog experts, musicians and former R. A. Moog, Co. employees will be in attendance and participate in the day’s events, celebrating Bob Moog. Visitors will also have a chance to explore the interactive Switched-On exhibition one last time before it officially closes the day of this event, and self-serve themselves at a record listening station that will be set-up in the gallery provided by Angry Mom Records.

A unique Switched-On poster, and Bob Moog Foundation t-shirts, and other items will be raffled throughout the day. Proceeds from ticket sales will go to The History Center to support the creation of future exhibitions.

At midnight on May 6th, 2015, the c. 1961 Troubadour Theremin – graciously loaned for display in the Switched-On exhibition at The History Center and donated to sell by Eugene Endres – will go live for auction on eBay. All proceeds from its sale will be used by The History Center in Tompkins County to help create innovative, exciting, and unique exhibitions in the future. The eBay page will close at 5:30pm on Saturday, May 16th, 2015 during the Bob Moog Birthday Bash celebration.

This celebration of Bob Moog’s legacy will kick off with a special screening of Hans Fjellestad’s award-winning documentary, Moog (2004), which will be shown at Cinemapolis (Ithaca, NY), with a special introduction by Trevor Pinch and a Q&A session with Michelle Moog-Koussa to follow, on Friday, May 15, 2015 at 5:00p.m.

A complete listing of happenings as part of Bob Moog’s Birthday Bash, can be found at and on The History Center in Tompkins County’s Facebook page.

About Switched-On: The Birth of the Moog Synthesizer

Telling the story of Bob Moog and the development of the groundbreaking electronic instruments bearing his name, Switched-On provides museum-goers an interactive, engaging opportunity to learn about this important chapter of our region’s history.

Based on a series of wide-ranging oral history interviews done with family members, colleagues, and contemporaries, and done in partnership with the Asheville, N.C.-based Bob Moog Foundation, the exhibition provides unparalleled insight into the unique genius of Bob Moog and the ways in which he ushered in a revolution in music. From the words of Herbert Deutsch and Bernie Worrell to Shirleigh Moog, David Borden, and many others, and featuring rare Moog instruments such as a vacuum tube theremin, a pre-production Minimoog, and an early Moog amplifier of which only three were ever sold, Switched-On is the first major exhibition on Bob Moog and Moog Synthesizers to occur in the region, and will run through May 16th, 2015.

Robert Moog came to Ithaca, NY in 1957 to begin his PhD work at Cornell University. His company, R.A. Moog, Co. manufactured and sold theremins and theremin kits in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. In 1963, Moog opened a storefront for his small factory in nearby Trumansburg, NY. It was there that the Moog modular synthesizer and the iconic Minimoog were born. The factory grew and was a mainstay in the region until 1971, when it was moved to Williamsville, NY by a new venture capitalist owner. Switched-On tells the story of Moog in Trumansburg, using the oral histories of those who knew him, worked with him, and shared his path in shaping a revolution in sound and music.

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.