Wendy Carlos

Born Nov 14, 1939

Wendy Carlos is an American composer and electronic musician. Carlos first came to prominence in 1968 with Switched-On Bach, a recording of music by J.S. Bach painstakingly assembled, phrase-by-phrase, on the Moog synthesizer, at the time a relatively new and unknown instrument. Other classical albums followed.… Read More

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Browse recent news and stories about Wendy Carlos.

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    Huffington Post - Aug 04, 2016
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    MTV News - May 09, 2012


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Wendy Carlos.


1939 Birth Born on November 14, 1939.


1953 13 Years Old In 1953, at fourteen, Carlos won a scholarship for a home-built computer at the Westinghouse Science Fair, a research-based science competition for high school students.
1958 18 Years Old From 1958 to 1962, Carlos studied at Brown University and graduated with a degree in music and physics, during which she taught lessons in electronic music at informal sessions.


1962 22 Years Old …  Born and raised in Rhode Island, Carlos studied physics and music at Brown University before moving to New York City in 1962 to study music composition at Columbia University. … Read More
1965 25 Years Old In 1965, Carlos graduated Columbia University with a master's degree in music composition, during which she scored several films for students and a film maker for UNICEF, and assisted Leonard Bernstein to present an evening of electronic music at the Philharmonic Hall. … Read More
1966 26 Years Old By 1966, Carlos owned a small Moog synthesizer which she used to record sound effects and jingles for television commercials, which earned her "anywhere from $100 to $1000".
In 1967, Carlos befriended Rachel Elkind, a former singer who had a musical theatre background and worked as a secretary for Goddard Lieberson, then-president of Columbia Records. … Read More


1970 30 Years Old In 1970, the album won a Grammy Award for Best Classical Album, Best Classical Performance – Instrumental Soloist or Soloists (With or Without Orchestra), and Best Engineered Classical Recording. Carlos released a follow-up, The Well-Tempered Synthesizer, with synthesized pieces from multiple composers. Released in November 1969, the album reached No. 199 on the Billboard 200 and received two Grammy nominations.
1971 31 Years Old The success of both albums allowed Carlos to move into Elkind's more spacious New York City home in 1971. … Read More
1972 32 Years Old Carlos experimented with ambient music on her third studio album Sonic Seasonings, released as a double album in 1972, with one long track dedicated to each of the four seasons. … Read More
1973 33 Years Old By 1973, Columbia/CBS Records had received a considerable number of requests for Carlos to produce another album of synthesized classical music. … Read More
1974 34 Years Old By mid-1974, Carlos and Elkind had selected tracks of varying styles to record on the Moog synthesizer which Carlos found liberating as it demonstrated the flexibility of the instrument.
1975 35 Years Old Released as By Request in 1975, the album includes pieces from Bach, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, two of Carlos' compositions from the 1960s, and renditions of "Eleanor Rigby" by The Beatles and "What's New Pussycat? … Read More


1980 40 Years Old 1 More Event
With work on The Shining complete, Elkind ended her long time collaboration with Carlos when she moved to France with her husband in 1980. … Read More
1984 - 1986 2 More Events
1987 47 Years Old She followed the album with Secrets of Synthesis in 1987, her final album for CBS/Colbumbia, featuring several introductions and demonstrations of synthesized music from Carlos with audio examples from her previous albums.
1988 48 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1988, CBS Records asked Carlos to collaborate with comical musician "Weird Al" Yankovic to release a parody of Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev. … Read More


1992 52 Years Old Released in 1992 on Telarc Records, Switched-On Bach 2000 took roughly one and a half years to produce; Carlos estimated around 3,000 hours was spent on the project which involved using several digital audio workstation software packages, including SoundTools and ProTools. … Read More
In 1998, Carlos released her most recent studio album, Tales from Heaven and Hell, for the East Side Digital label.


2005 65 Years Old 1 More Event
Some of Carlos' music had some legal issues regarding its release, but much of it was made available in 2005 as part of her two-volume compilation album, Rediscovering Lost Scores.
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