MATRIXSYNTH: EMS Founder Peter Zinovieff Has Passed Away

Saturday, June 26, 2021

EMS Founder Peter Zinovieff Has Passed Away



Update: Image of Peter Zinovieff (previously in via Brian Kehew).

"Circa 1975: A photo from the Frankfurt Music Fair

Peter Zinovieff in the EMS synthesizer booth.

They are featuring the rare SYNTHI P model, just announced on the left side and stand. Underneath the board listing EMS musical artists is a SYNTHI HI-FLI effects unit is barely seen. Another unusual/prototype model is next to the Hi-Fli."


Peter Zinovieff and Electronic Music Studios video upload by JeffreyPlaide


Peter Zinovieff: Synth Pioneer video upload by Sound On Sound magazine Jul 21, 2016


Peter Zinovieff talks about modern musical interfaces video upload by Expressive E Jan 6, 2016


Peter Zinovieff feature uploaded by Erica Synths on Nov 23, 2020. This was the latest video to feature Peter Zinovieff that I am aware of.


Peter Zinovieff interview 2015 video upload by 香港電子音樂社 Hong Kong Electronic Music Society Jun 30, 2015


Dr Peter Zinovieff intro & performance excerpt - Deliaphonic 2017 video upload by Deliaphonic Aug 29, 2018

And a few perspectives from others:

Bright Sparks Behind The Scenes - The Brits video by GForce Software published Feb 16, 2021

Cosmic Tape Music Club Podcast hosted by The Galaxy Electric - E1 Peter Zinovieff

video by The Galaxy Electric published Jan 27, 2021

Peter Zinovieff Electronic Calendar

video by Mark Jenkins published Dec 9, 2019 - Electronic Calendar available through this post.

You can find a history of posts mentioning Peter Zinovieff here.



via The Guardian

"Peter Zinovieff, a hugely influential figure in British music whose early synthesisers helped to change the sound of pop, has died aged 88. He had suffered a fall at home earlier this month.

With its marketing slogan 'think of a sound – now make it', his company Electronic Music Studios (EMS) was one of the first to bring synthesisers out of studios and to the public. With products such as the portable VCS3 and Synthi A, EMS customers – including David Bowie, Kraftwerk, the Who, Tangerine Dream and Pink Floyd – were often taught to use the instruments by Zinovieff.

In 1967 he collaborated with Paul McCartney on Carnival of Light, a performance of a 14-minute avant garde composition created between Beatles sessions for Penny Lane that has never been released.

He was also a respected composer of his own work, including early experiments with AI composition and sampling – he claimed to have invented the latter technique." You can read the full post here.



via Wikipedia:

"Peter Zinovieff (26 January 1933 – 23 June 2021) was a British engineer and composer, whose EMS company made the VCS3 synthesizer in the late 1960s. The synthesizer was used by many early progressive rock bands such as Pink Floyd[3] and White Noise, and Krautrock groups[4] as well as more pop-oriented artists, including Todd Rundgren and David Bowie. In later life he worked primarily as a composer of electronic music.

Zinovieff was born on 26 January 1933;[5] his parents, Leo Zinovieff and Sofka, née Princess Sophia Dolgorouky, were both Russian aristocrats, who met in London after their families had emigrated to escape the Russian Revolution and soon divorced.[6] During World War II he and his brother Ian lived with their grandparents in Guildford and then with their father in Sussex. He attended Guildford Royal Grammar School, Gordonstoun School and Oxford University, where he earned a doctorate in geology.[7][8]

Zinovieff's work followed research at Bell Labs by Max Mathews and Jean-Claude Risset, and an MIT thesis (1963) by David Alan Luce.[9] In 1966–67, Zinovieff, Delia Derbyshire and Brian Hodgson ran Unit Delta Plus, an organisation to create and promote electronic music. It was based in the studio Zinovieff had built, in a shed at his house in Putney. (The house is near the Thames, and the studio was later partially destroyed by a flood).[10][11] EMS grew out of MUSYS, which was a performance controller operating as an analogue-digital hybrid.[12] It was a synthesiser system which Zinovieff developed with the help of David Cockerell and Peter Grogono, and used two DEC PDP-8 minicomputers and a piano keyboard.[13] Unit Delta Plus ran a concert of electronic music at the Watermill Theatre in 1966, with a light show. In early 1967 they performed in concerts at The Roundhouse, at which the Carnival of Light was also played; they split up later in 1967.[11] Paul McCartney had visited the studio, but Zinovieff had little interest in popular music.[14]

In 1968, part of the studio was recreated at Connaught Hall, for a performance of pieces by Justin Connolly and David Lumsdaine.[15] At the IFIP congress that year, the composition ZASP by Zinovieff with Alan Sutcliffe took second prize in a contest, behind a piece by Iannis Xenakis.[16]

In 1969, Zinovieff sought financing through an ad in The Times but received only one response, £50 on the mistaken premise it was the price of a synthesiser. Instead he formed EMS with Cockerell and Tristram Cary.[17] At the end of the 1960s, EMS Ltd. was one of four companies offering commercial synthesizers, the others being ARP, Buchla, and Moog.[18] In the 1970s Zinovieff became interested in the video synthesizer developed by Robert Monkhouse, and EMS produced it as the Spectron.[19]

Jon Lord of Deep Purple described Zinovieff as "a mad professor type": "I was ushered into his workshop and he was in there talking to a computer, trying to get it to answer back".[20] Trevor Pinch and Frank Trocco, in their history of the synthesizer revolution, see him rather as aristocratically averse to "trade".[21]

Zinovieff wrote the libretto for Harrison Birtwistle's opera The Mask of Orpheus,[22] and also the words for Nenia: The Death of Orpheus (1970).[23] The section Tristan's Folly in Tristan (1975) by Hans Werner Henze included a tape by Zinovieff."

Update:

Peter Zinovieff: A Tribute by CatSynth TV

video upload by CatSynth TV

"We look back at the life and work of Peter Zinovieff, who passed away last week at the age of 88. His work at Electronic Music Studios (EMS) was a major influence on musicians of the 1970s and beyond. At EMS, he co-created the well-known and coveted VCS3 and Synthi series. But he was also a composer in his own right, working on pioneering electronic music in the 1960s and returning to active composition in the 2010s with several collaborations with artists in other media and exploring massive sound spatialization.

Additional background music provided via the Arturia Synthi V as a tribute."

You can find additional posts featuring Peter Zinovieff here.

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