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Moog Innovator Dies at 71

Inventor created synthesizers that fueled electronica movement

August 22, 2005 12:00 AM ET

Robert A. Moog, whose self-named synthesizers opened the door for the musical evolution of electronica, died yesterday at his home in Asheville, North Carolina, at the age of seventy-one. He was diagnosed with brain cancer in April and had undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

Moog developed a childhood interest in the theremin, one of the first electronic musical instruments, after building them with his father. In 1963, he developed the Moog Modular Synthesizer as a Ph.D student in engineering physics at Cornell University. By the end of 1964, R.A. Moog Co. introduced the first commercial modular synthesizer.

Moog received a Grammy Trustees Award for lifetime achievement in 1970, and was the subject of last year's documentary, Moog, directed by Hans Fjellestad. His synthesizer has influenced bands ranging from the Beatles, Yes, Parliament/Funkadelic, the Monkees, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and Stereolab.

His family has established the Bob Moog Foundation dedicated to the Advancement of Electronic Music in his memory, and a public memorial is planned for later this week at Asheville's Orange Peel. Moog is survived by his wife, Ileana, and five children.

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