Wendy Carlos

Last updated

Wendy Carlos
Birth nameWalter Carlos
Born (1939-11-14) November 14, 1939 (age 79)
Pawtucket, Rhode Island, United States
Genres Electronic, classical, ambient, jazz, synthpop
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
InstrumentsSynthesizer, keyboards, vocoder
Years active1964–present
Labels Columbia Masterworks, CBS, Audion, Telarc, East Side Digital
Website wendycarlos.com

Wendy Carlos (born Walter Carlos; November 14, 1939) is an American musician and composer best known for her electronic music and film scores. 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. Studying and working with various electronic musicians and technicians at the city's Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, she oversaw the development of the Moog synthesizer, then a relatively new and unknown keyboard instrument designed by Robert Moog.

Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments, digital instruments and circuitry-based music technology. In general, a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means, and that produced using electronics only. Electromechanical instruments include mechanical elements, such as strings, hammers, and so on, and electric elements, such as magnetic pickups, power amplifiers and loudspeakers. Examples of electromechanical sound producing devices include the telharmonium, Hammond organ, and the electric guitar, which are typically made loud enough for performers and audiences to hear with an instrument amplifier and speaker cabinet. Pure electronic instruments do not have vibrating strings, hammers, or other sound-producing mechanisms. Devices such as the theremin, synthesizer, and computer can produce electronic sounds.

Rhode Island State of the United States of America

Rhode Island, officially the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest state in area, the seventh least populous, the second most densely populated, and it has the longest official name of any state. Rhode Island is bordered by Connecticut to the west, Massachusetts to the north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south via Rhode Island Sound and Block Island Sound. It also shares a small maritime border with New York. Providence is the state capital and most populous city in Rhode Island.

Brown University University in Providence, Rhode Island

Brown University is a private Ivy League research university in Providence, Rhode Island. Founded in 1764 as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, it is the seventh-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution.


Carlos came to prominence with Switched-On Bach (1968), an album of music by Johann Sebastian Bach performed on a Moog synthesizer which helped popularize its use in the 1970s and won her three Grammy Awards. Its commercial success led to several more keyboard albums from Carlos of varying genres including further synthesized classical music adaptations and experimental and ambient music. She composed the score to two Stanley Kubrick films, A Clockwork Orange (1971) and The Shining (1980), and also Tron (1982) for Walt Disney Productions.

<i>Switched-On Bach</i> 1968 studio album by Wendy Carlos

Switched-On Bach is the first studio album by the American composer Wendy Carlos, released under her birth name Walter Carlos in October 1968 by Columbia Records. Produced by Carlos and Rachel Elkind, the album is a collection of pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach performed by Carlos and Benjamin Folkman on a Moog synthesizer. It played a key role in bringing synthesizers to popular music, which had until then been mostly used in experimental music.

Johann Sebastian Bach German composer

Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Art of Fugue, the Brandenburg Concertos, and the Goldberg Variations as well as for vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor. Since the 19th-century Bach Revival he has been generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.

Experimental music is a general label for any music that pushes existing boundaries and genre definitions. Experimental compositional practice is defined broadly by exploratory sensibilites radically opposed to, and questioning of, institutionalized compositional, performing, and aesthetic conventions in music. Elements of experimental music include indeterminate music, in which the composer introduces the elements of chance or unpredictability with regard to either the composition or its performance. Artists may also approach a hybrid of disparate styles or incorporate unorthodox and unique elements.

In 1979, Carlos was one of the first public figures to disclose having undergone gender reassignment surgery.

Early life

Carlos demonstrating stereo sound for a high school science project, 1958. Wendy Carlos HS Project.jpeg
Carlos demonstrating stereo sound for a high school science project, 1958.

Carlos was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, the first of two children born to working-class parents. [1] Her mother played the piano and sang and had an uncle who played the trombone and another who played the trumpet and drums. [1] She began piano lessons at six years of age, [2] and wrote her first composition, "A Trio for Clarinet, Accordion, and Piano", at ten. [3] Carlos attended St. Raphael Academy, a Catholic high school in Pawtucket. 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. 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. [4]

Pawtucket, Rhode Island City in Rhode Island, United States

Pawtucket is a city in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 71,148 at the 2010 census. It is the fourth largest city in the state.

St. Raphael Academy

Saint Raphael Academy is a Roman Catholic, coeducational, college preparatory school in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, USA. It was founded in the tradition of Saint John Baptist de Lasalle and rooted in the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence.

In 1965, Carlos graduated from Columbia University with a master's degree in music composition, during which she scored several films for students and a film maker for UNICEF, [5] and assisted Leonard Bernstein to present an evening of electronic music at the Philharmonic Hall. [4] Carlos studied with Vladimir Ussachevsky and Otto Luening, two pioneers of electronic music in the 1960s; the four were based in the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center in New York City, the first of its kind in the United States. After Ussachevsky suggested to Carlos that she work in a recording studio to support herself, Carlos began working as a recording and mastering engineer at Gotham Recording Studios in New York City; she worked in this position until 1968. [1] [4] [6] She called it "a really lovely occupation" and found it a useful learning experience. [6]

Columbia University Private Ivy League research university in New York City

Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university in Upper Manhattan, New York City. Established in 1754, Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It is one of nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence, seven of which belong to the Ivy League. It has been ranked by numerous major education publications as among the top ten universities in the world.

UNICEF development policy organization of the UN

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), originally known as the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, was created by the United Nations General Assembly on 11 December 1946, to provide emergency food and healthcare to children and mothers in countries that had been devastated by World War II. The Polish physician Ludwik Rajchman is widely regarded as the founder of UNICEF and served as its first chairman from 1946 to 1950, when he had to flee the United States in the wake of McCarthyism. Rajchman is to this day the only person that served as UNICEF's Chairman for longer than 2 years. On Rajchman's suggestion, the American Maurice Pate was appointed its first executive director, serving from 1947 until his death in 1965. In 1950, UNICEF's mandate was extended to address the long-term needs of children and women in developing countries everywhere. In 1953 it became a permanent part of the United Nations System, and the words "international" and "emergency" were dropped from the organization's name, though it retained the original acronym, "UNICEF".

Leonard Bernstein American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist

Leonard Bernstein was an American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the US to receive worldwide acclaim. According to music critic Donal Henahan, he was "one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history."

During her time at Columbia, Carlos met Robert Moog at the annual Audio Engineering Society show, [7] which began a partnership; Carlos gave advice and technical assistance in the development of the Moog synthesizer, Moog's new electronic keyboard instrument, convincing Moog to add a touch-sensitive device for greater musical dynamics, among other improvements. [8] 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". [1] In 1967, Carlos befriended Rachel Elkind, a former singer [1] who had a musical theatre background and worked as a secretary for Goddard Lieberson, then-president of Columbia Records. The two shared a home, studio, and business premises in a brownstone building in the West Side of Manhattan in New York City. [9]

Robert Moog electronic music pioneer and inventor from the United States

Robert Arthur Moog was an American engineer and pioneer of electronic music. He was the founder of Moog Music and the inventor of the first commercial synthesizer, the Moog synthesizer. This was followed by a more portable model, the Minimoog, described as the most famous and influential synthesizer in history.

Established in 1948, the Audio Engineering Society (AES) draws its membership from engineers, scientists, other individuals with an interest or involvement in the professional audio industry. The membership largely comprises engineers developing devices or products for audio, and persons working in audio content production. It also includes acousticians, audiologists, academics, and those in other disciplines related to audio. The AES is the only worldwide professional society devoted exclusively to audio technology.

Moog synthesizer analog synthesizer created by Robert Moog

Moog synthesizer may refer to any number of analog synthesizers designed by Robert Moog or manufactured by Moog Music, and is commonly used as a generic term for older-generation analog music synthesizers. The Moog company pioneered the commercial manufacture of modular voltage-controlled analog synthesizer systems in the mid 1960s. The technological development that led to the creation of the Moog synthesizer was the invention of the transistor, which enabled researchers like Moog to build electronic music systems that were considerably smaller, cheaper and far more reliable than earlier vacuum tube-based systems.

Carlos wrote several compositions as a student. Two were recorded and released on By Request (1975), titled "Dialogues for Piano and Two Loudspeakers" (1963) and "Episodes for Piano and Electronic Sound" (1964). Others include "Variations for Flute and Electronic Sounds" (1964), "Episodes for Piano and Tape" (1964), "Pomposities for Narrator and Tape" (1965), and "Noah" (1965), an opera blending electronics with an orchestra. Her first commercial release was Moog 900 Series – Electronic Music Systems, an introduction to the technical aspects of the Moog synthesizer released in 1967. [10] Part of her compensation for making the recording was in Moog equipment. [7]



A modular Moog synthesizer, designed by Robert Moog, which Carlos helped popularize Moog Synthesizer 3P (1972), CRuNCh Lab.jpg
A modular Moog synthesizer, designed by Robert Moog, which Carlos helped popularize

Carlos began her music career with Switched-On Bach , an album formed of several pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach performed on a Moog modular synthesizer. The idea came about around 1967, when Carlos asked Elkind to listen to some compositions written by Carlos and musicologist Benjamin Folkman ten years prior at the Electronic Music Center, one of them being Bach's Two-Part Invention in F major, which Elkind took a liking to. Plans for an album of several Bach compositions developed from there, leading to a recording contract with Columbia Masterworks through Elkind's contacts, a deal that lasted until 1986. The label had launched an album sales campaign named "Bach to Rock", though it had no album of Bach's works in a contemporary context in its catalogue. [1] With a $2,500 advance, [11] Columbia granted Carlos and Elkind artistic freedom to produce and release the album. Carlos performs with additional synthesizers played by Folkman and Elkind as producer. Recording was a dragged out and time-consuming process as the instrument could only be played one note at a time. [12]

Released in October 1968, Switched-On Bach became an unexpected commercial and critical success and helped to draw attention to the synthesizer as a genuine musical instrument. [12] [13] Newsweek dedicated a full page to Carlos with the caption "Plugging into the Steinway of the future". [1] It peaked at No. 10 on the US Billboard 200 chart and was No. 1 on its Classical Albums chart from January 1969 to January 1972. It is the second classical album to sell over one million copies and was certified Gold in 1969 and Platinum in 1986 by the Recording Industry Association of America. [14] [15] Carlos performed selections from the album on stage with a synthesizer with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the first of only two live performances since her days as a student (the other being with the Kurzweil Baroque Ensemble for 'Bach at the Beacon' in 1997). [16] [11] 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. The success of both albums allowed Carlos to move into Elkind's more spacious New York City home in 1971. [1]


After the release of Switched-On Bach, Carlos was invited to compose the soundtrack of two science fiction films, Marooned (1969), directed by John Sturges, and A Clockwork Orange (1971) by Stanley Kubrick. When the directors of Marooned changed their minds about including a soundtrack, Carlos chose to work with Kubrick, as she and Elkind were fans of his previous films, adding: "We finally wound up talking with someone who had a close connection to Stanley Kubrick's lawyer. We suddenly got an invitation to fly to London." [5] Before Carlos knew about the offer, she read the book and began writing a piece based on it named "Timesteps". A soundtrack containing only the film cuts of the score was released as Stanley Kubrick's Clockwork Orange in 1972, combining synthesized and classical music by Henry Purcell, Beethoven and Gioacchino Rossini with an early use of a vocoder. The album peaked the Billboard 200 chart at No. 146. [17] Later that year, Carlos released an album of music not included in the final score titled Walter Carlos' Clockwork Orange . Carlos later described the project as "a lot of fun ... a pleasurable venture". [5]

Carlos experimented with ambient music on her third studio album Sonic Seasonings , released as a double album in 1972, with one side-long track dedicated to each of the four seasons. Recorded as early as 1970 and finished in mid-1971, before the A Clockwork Orange project was complete, Carlos wished to produce music that did not require "lengthy concentrated listening", but more than a collection of ambient noises to portray an environment. [18] It combined field recordings of animals and nature with synthesized sounds, occasionally employing melodies, to create soundscapes. It reached No. 168 in the Billboard 200 and influenced other artists who went on to pursue the ambient and new-age genres in later years. [19]

By 1973, Columbia/CBS Records had received a considerable number of requests for Carlos to produce another album of synthesized classical music. She agreed to the request, opting to produce a sequel to Switched-On Bach, which began with her and Elkind seeking compositions that were most suitable for the synthesizer; the two picked selections from Suite No. 2 in B minor, Two-Part Inventions in A minor and major, Suite from Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach, and Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major. The latter features a Yamaha E-5 Electone organ for certain passages, as a reliable polyphonic keyboard had not been developed. The result, Switched-On Bach II , was released in 1973 and sold over 70,000 copies in the US during the first five weeks of its release. [20]

Following Switched-On Bach II, Carlos changed musical directions once more. In 1971, she and Elkind had asked Columbia Records to attach a pre-paid business reply card in each new pressing of her albums, which resulted in a considerable amount of suggestions from the public regarding the subject of her future releases. [21] The ideas received were divided; some asked for more classical adaptations, while others wanted more of Carlos' original compositions. Carlos decided, "If I was going to spend months for mere minutes of music, I certainly wasn't going to be pigeonholed into only retreading existing music", and so began a process of "re-directing new ideas, reworking old ones". 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. [22] 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?", originally sung by Tom Jones. [21] The final track, a "witty and serious" set of variations based on themes by Edward Elgar, was replaced with tracks from The Well-Tempered Synthesizer on UK pressings after members of Elgar's estate refused to have his music presented in this style, which "devastated" Carlos. [22] By Request was followed by Switched-On Brandenburgs , a double album containing all six of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos played on a synthesizer, in 1979.


Carlos reunited with Kubrick to compose the score for his psychological horror film The Shining (1980). Before filming began, Carlos and Elkind read the book, as per Kubrick's suggestion, for musical inspiration. Carlos recorded a considerable amount of music, but Kubrick ended up using existing music by several avant-garde composers he had used as guide tracks in the final version. The Shining (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), released in 1980 on Warner Bros. Records, features two tracks credited to Carlos and Elkind: the main title theme and "Rocky Mountains", the former a reinterpretation of the "Dies Irae" section of Symphonie fantastique by Hector Berlioz. 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.

With work on The Shining complete, Elkind ended her long-time collaboration with Carlos when she moved to France with her husband in 1980. Carlos remained in New York City, sharing a converted loft in Greenwich Village with her new business partner Annemarie Franklin, which housed her new, remodelled studio, which was enclosed in a Faraday cage to shield the equipment from white noise and outside interference from radio and television signals. [23]

Carlos' first project with Franklin began around 1980, when The Walt Disney Company asked her to record the soundtrack to its science fiction feature Tron (1982). Carlos agreed, but was not interested in composing solely with electronic music, as she wished to incorporate an orchestra with her musical ideas. She recalled their demands were "tightly specified ... there wasn't a lot of elbow room, and that made it fun". [5] The score incorporated Carlos' analog and digital synthesizers with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the UCLA Chorus, and the Royal Albert Hall Organ. Tron: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was released in 1982 and reached No. 135 on the Billboard 200. Carlos intended to release her scores on her own album, but Columbia/CBS showed a lack of interest in the prospect. [5]

Three studio albums from Carlos were released in the 1980s. The first was Digital Moonscapes in 1984, Carlos' first to only feature digital synthesizers. She wrote the album's tracks for orchestra "or orchestra replica", inspired by various astronomical subjects, which used some leftover material from her score to Tron. Soon after, Carlos secured a deal with Audion Records, a smaller label, as she wished to "get away from that kind of big, monolithic government-like aspect that [she] had dealt with for so many years". [6] In 1986, Audion released Beauty in the Beast , which saw Carlos experiment with just intonation, Balinese scales, and four new scales she devised for the album: Harmonic, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. [24] The album features the first instance of a 35-note octave. [6] Carlos considers the album as the most important of her career. She followed the album with Secrets of Synthesis in 1987, her final album for CBS/Columbia, featuring several introductions and demonstrations of synthesized music from Carlos with audio examples from her previous albums.

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. Carlos agreed to the project, as she felt it presented a chance "to let your sense of humor out of the cage". [6] Yankovic adapted and narrated its story, while Carlos rearranged the music with a "MIDI orchestra", her first venture using the digital interface. [6] The album's second side also contains a humorous adaptation of The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns titled "The Carnival of the Animals–Part II", with Yankovic providing funny poems for each of the featured animals in the style of poet Ogden Nash, who did similar for the original. [25] Released in October 1988, Peter and the Wolf/Carnival of the Animals–Part II was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Album for Children in 1989. [26]


To mark the 25th anniversary of Switched-On Bach, Carlos re-recorded the album with her set of digital instruments and recording techniques. 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 were invested in the project, which involved using several digital audio workstation software packages, including ProTools. A Moog synthesizer is only used once on the record; the rest is performed on 13 modern synthesizers. The album also marked her first venture into mixing in Dolby Surround sound. [27]

Carlos wrote the soundtrack to the British film Brand New World (1998), also known as Woundings, directed by Roberta Hanley and based on a play by Jeff Noon. Carlos explained the style of her music: "I was given fairly large carte blanche to do some horrific things and also some inside-psyche mood paintings, and that's what the film became". [5]

In 1998, Carlos released her most recent studio album, Tales from Heaven and Hell, for the East Side Digital label.

Beginning in 1998, Carlos digitally remastered her studio albums, culminating in the Switched-On Box Set released in 1999 featuring her four synthesized classical albums.

In 2005, the two-volume set Rediscovering Lost Scores was released, featuring previously out-of-print material, including the unreleased soundtrack to Woundings and music recorded for A Clockwork Orange, The Shining and Tron that was not used in the films.

Personal life

Gender transition

Carlos became aware of her gender dysphoria at an early age, recalling: "I was about five or six... I remember being convinced I was a little girl, much preferring long hair and girls' clothes, and not knowing why my parents didn't see it clearly". [1] While in college, she went on a date with a girl and felt "so jealous of her I was beside myself". [11] When she moved to New York City in the 1960s, she learned about transgender issues for the first time and received counselling from sexologist Harry Benjamin. [11] In early 1968, Carlos began hormone replacement treatments, which altered her appearance. [1] [28] [29] Prior to a live performance of excerpts from Switched-On Bach with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Carlos felt unhappy to appear in public. She cried in her hotel room and left wearing fake sideburns, a man's wig, and drew facial hair on her face with an eyebrow pencil to disguise herself as a man. Carlos did the same thing when she met Kubrick and for an appearance on The Dick Cavett Show in 1970. [11] The commercial success of Switched-On Bach allowed Carlos to undergo sex reassignment surgery in May 1972, [30] but she continued to release albums as "Walter Carlos" throughout the 1970s. [11]

Carlos disclosed her transgender status in a series of interviews with Arthur Bell held between December 1978 and January 1979 and published in the May 1979 issue of Playboy magazine. She explained that Playboy had "always been concerned with liberation, and [I was] anxious to liberate myself". [1] In 1985, Carlos spoke about the reaction to her transition: "The public turned out to be amazingly tolerant or, if you wish, indifferent ... There had never been any need of this charade to have taken place. It had proven a monstrous waste of years of my life." [11]


In 1998, Carlos sued the songwriter/artist Momus for $22 million [31] for his song "Walter Carlos" (from the album The Little Red Songbook , released that year), which postulated that the post–sexual reassignment surgery Wendy could travel back in time to marry her pre-surgery self, Walter. The case was settled out of court, with Momus agreeing to remove the song from subsequent editions of the CD and owing $30,000 in legal fees. [32]

Awards and honors

Switched-On Bach was the winner of three 1969 Grammy Awards: [33] [34]

In 2005, Carlos was the recipient of the SEAMUS Lifetime Achievement Award "in recognition of lifetime achievement and contribution to the art and craft of electro-acoustic music" by the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States. [35]


Carlos contributed a review of the then-available synthesizers to the June 1971 edition of the Whole Earth Catalog , contrasting the Moog, Buchla and Tonus (aka ARP) systems. She was dismissive of smaller systems like the EMS Putney and the Minimoog as "toys" and "cash-ins". [7]

Carlos is also an accomplished solar eclipse photographer. Her work has been published online by NASA [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] and has appeared on the cover of Sky & Telescope . She has developed various techniques for the extension of dynamic range in eclipse photography by the use of digital composites.


Studio albums



Appears on

See also

Related Research Articles

The 12th Annual Grammy Awards were held on March 11, 1970. They recognized accomplishments of musicians for the year 1969.

Isao Tomita Japanese electronic musician

Isao Tomita, also known mononymically as Tomita, was a Japanese music-composer, regarded as one of the pioneers of electronic music and space music, and as one of the most famous producers of analog synthesizer arrangements. In addition to creating note-by-note realizations, Tomita made extensive use of the sound-design capabilities of his instrument, using synthesizers to create new sounds to accompany and enhance his electronic realizations of acoustic instruments. He also made effective use of analog music sequencers and the Mellotron, and featured futuristic science-fiction themes, while laying the foundations for synth-pop music and trance-like rhythms. Many of his albums are electronic versions and adaptations of famous classical music pieces, and he received four Grammy Award nominations for his 1974 album Snowflakes Are Dancing.

Popcorn (instrumental) song

"Popcorn" is an early synth-pop instrumental, composed by Gershon Kingsley in 1969 and first appearing on his album Music to Moog By. It was recorded at the Audio Fidelity Records label in New York City.

Columbia Masterworks Records was a record label started in 1924 by Columbia Records. In 1980, it was separated from the Columbia label and renamed CBS Masterworks Records. In 1990, it was renamed Sony Classical Records after its sale to the Sony Corporation.

<i>The Well-Tempered Synthesizer</i> 1969 studio album by Walter Carlos

The Well-Tempered Synthesizer is the second studio album from the American musician and composer Wendy Carlos, originally released under her birth name, Walter Carlos, in November 1969 on Columbia Masterworks Records. Following the success of her previous album, Switched-On Bach (1968), Carlos proceeded to record a second album of classical music performed on a modular Moog synthesizer from multiple composers, including Johann Sebastian Bach, Claudio Monteverdi, Domenico Scarlatti, and George Frideric Handel. Its title is a play on words from Bach's set of preludes and fugues named The Well-Tempered Clavier.

<i>Switched-On Brandenburgs</i> album by Wendy Carlos

Switched-On Brandenburgs is a 1979 double album by Wendy Carlos. It was the seventh album released by Carlos, and the fourth album in her project of classical music which also included Switched-On Bach (1968), The Well-Tempered Synthesizer (1969), Switched-On Bach II (1974), and Switched-On Bach 2000 (1992). It was the first album to be released under her transgender name of Wendy Carlos instead of her original birth name Walter Carlos.

A Clockwork Orange may refer to:

<i>Sonic Seasonings</i> 1972 studio album by Wendy Carlos

Sonic Seasonings is a studio album from the American keyboardist and composer Wendy Carlos, originally released under her birth name, Walter Carlos, in 1972 as a double album on Columbia Records. The album features four ambient tracks, each loosely based on each of the four seasons, combining various field recordings with sounds from a Moog synthesizer. It marks a departure from her previous two albums which featured synthesized renditions of various pieces of classical music. The album reached No. 168 on the US Billboard 200. In 1998, it was remastered for CD with two previously unreleased tracks.

Rachel Elkind is an American classical musician, producer and composer. She produced the work of Wendy Carlos, most notably the bestselling 1968 album Switched-On Bach.

Robotic voice effects became a recurring element in popular music starting in the second half of the twentieth century. Several methods of producing variations on this effect have arisen.

<i>A Clockwork Orange: Wendy Carloss Complete Original Score</i> 1972 studio album by Wendy Carlos

A Clockwork Orange: Wendy Carlos's Complete Original Score, first released in 1972 as Walter Carlos' Clockwork Orange, is an electronic music album by Wendy Carlos featuring songs composed for the 1971 film A Clockwork Orange. Although Carlos worked closely with director Stanley Kubrick during production of the movie, much of her work was not used, or used only in abridged form. The official soundtrack album also omitted much of Carlos' work.

Patrick Gleeson is an American musician, synthesizer pioneer, composer, and producer.

<i>A Clockwork Orange</i> (soundtrack) 1972 soundtrack album by Wendy Carlos

The soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange was released to accompany the 1971 film of the same name. The music is a thematic extension of Alex's psychological conditioning. The soundtrack of A Clockwork Orange comprises classical music and electronic synthetic music composed by Wendy Carlos. Some of the music is heard only as excerpts, e.g. Edward Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 heralding a politician's appearance at the prison. The main theme is an electronic transcription of Henry Purcell's Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary, composed in 1695, for the procession of Queen Mary's cortège through London en route to Westminster Abbey. "March from 'A Clockwork Orange'" was the first recorded song featuring a vocoder for the singing; synthpop bands often cite it as their inspiration. Neither the end credits nor the soundtrack album identify the orchestra playing the Ninth Symphony excerpts, however, in Alex's bedroom, there is a close-up of a microcassette tape labeled: Deutsche Grammophon – Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphonie Nr. 9 d-moll, op. 125 – Berliner Philharmoniker – Chor der St. Hedwigskathedrale – Ferenc Fricsay – Irmgard Seefried, Maureen Forrester, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Ernst Haefliger.

<i>Tron</i> (soundtrack) 1982 soundtrack album by Wendy Carlos

Tron: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the soundtrack album for the 1982 film of the same name, composed by Wendy Carlos with two additional musical tracks which were provided by the band Journey after British band Supertramp pulled out of the project. The album was released on July 9, 1982, the day of release of the film.

<i>Switched-On Bach II</i> album by Wendy Carlos

Switched-On Bach II is a musical album by Wendy Carlos, originally released under her birth name, Walter Carlos, in 1973 on Columbia Records and produced by Carlos and Rachel Elkind and is a sequel to the 1968 album Switched-On Bach.

Digital Moonscapes (1984) is an album by Wendy Carlos. "Written for orchestra, it is inspired by several astronomical subjects." A symphony orchestra is simulated using Digital Synth's GDS and Synergy Digital Synthesizers. These used additive and complex FM/PM modulation. She named her ensemble the LSI Philharmonic: "('Large Scale Integration' circuits, i.e., computer chips)". "This was the first digitally synthesized orchestra of any significance that a single composer could command."

But why do all this?...The goal ought to be providing the base on which to build new sounds with orchestral qualities that have not been heard before but are equally satisfying to the ear...look for the next steps using the experimental hybrid and imaginary sounds which have grown out of this work.

<i>Switched-On Rock</i> 1969 studio album by the Moog Machine

Switched-On Rock is an album of instrumental cover songs, popular songs from the mid-to-late-1960s, performed on the Moog modular synthesizer in an exaggerated electronic style. It was one of a spate of albums which capitalized on the success of 1968's Switched-On Bach by Wendy Carlos. Switched-On Rock was produced by Norman Dolph who also wrote the liner notes. Dolph worked in the studio with colleagues Kenny Ascher and Alan Foust; they billed themselves as the Moog Machine for this and one more project. The album reached number 170 on the Billboard Top 200.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Bell, Arthur (May 1979). "Playboy Interview: Wendy/Walter Carlos". Playboy. Playboy Enterprises. 26 (5).
  2. "Wendy Carlos: Biographical Notes". WendyCarlos.com. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  3. Tucker, Mark S. (May 2007). "The Burden of Faltering Genius". Perfect Sound Forever. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  4. 1 2 3 Sonic Seasonings (Media notes). Columbia Records. 1972. KG 31234.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Bond, Jeff (March 1999). "A Clockwork Composer" (PDF). Winter Score Monthly: 18–23. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Miller, Chuck (January 23, 2004). "Wendy Carlos: In the Moog" (PDF). Goldmine (613 ed.): 47–48. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  7. 1 2 3 Stewart Brand, ed. (June 1971). The Last Whole Earth Catalog. pp. 330–331. ISBN   0-394-70459-2. Most of the "mini" versions are simply cash-in-on ignorance rip-offs, including the Mini-Moog (choke) and the Muse, and the Putney, (I've tried these toys, too) although maybe these do serve a purpose, to groups as "local color" items of the right fashionable kind.
  8. Holmes, Thom (2008). Electronic and Experimental Music: Technology, Music, and Culture. New York: Routledge. p. 218.
  9. Moog, Robert (November 1982). "Wendy Carlos: New Directions for a Synthesizer Pioneer" (PDF). Keyboard: 51–52, 58–63. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  10. "Walter Carlos – Moog 900 Series – Electronic Music Systems". discogs.com. Retrieved January 19, 2010.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Reed, Susan (July 1, 1985). "After a Sex Change and Several Eclipses, Wendy Carlos Treads a New Digital Moonscape". People (1 ed.). 24. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
  12. 1 2 Barbrick, Greg. "Book Review: Keyboard Presents Synth Gods". Seattle Post-Intellegencer. Retrieved July 25, 2012. Switched On Bach almost single-handedly revolutionized the public's perception of synthesizers...
  13. Henahan, Donal (November 3, 1968). "Switching On to Mock Bach". The New York Times. p. Page D26. Retrieved July 25, 2012. ...possibly one of the year's more significant records
  14. "Searchable Database". RIAA .
  15. "Music: Switched-Off Bach". TIME.com. February 14, 1972. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
  16. Oestreich, James R. (April 2, 1997). "Play It Jazzy, Switched On Or Straight, It's Bach" . Retrieved February 26, 2018 via NYTimes.com.
  17. Wendy Carlos' Clockwork Orange Awards. AllMusic.
  18. Oteri, Frank J. (April 1, 2007). "Wendy's World". NewMusicBox.Missing or empty |url= (help)
  19. Bush, John. "Sonic Seasonings". All Music. Retrieved January 20, 2012.
  20. 16 February 1974 edition of Billboard magazine, page 27.
  21. 1 2 By Request (Media notes). Columbia Masterworks Records. 1975. M 32088.
  22. 1 2 By Request (Reissue) (Media notes). East Side Digital. 2003. ESD 81692.
  23. Carlos, Wendy. "Studio Collection". wendycarlos.com. Retrieved June 27, 2008.
  24. Carlos, Wendy (1986). "Tuning:At the Crossroads". Computer Music Journal. 11 (1): 29–43. doi:10.2307/3680176. JSTOR   3680176.
  25. "Weirdly Normal: Pop-tune Buster Al Yankovic Saves Worst Wackiness For The Screen", Chicago Tribune , July 25, 1989.
  26. "Grammy Awards 1989". Awards & Shows. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  27. 15 August 1992 edition of Billboard magazine, pages 67–68.
  28. Pinch, Trevor & Trocco, Frank (March 2013). Analog Days. The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer.
  29. "Wendy Carlos aka Walter Carlos". Studio Innocenti. September 2010.
  30. "Composer Changes More Than Tune". New York Magazine. 12 (14): 65. April 2, 1979. ISSN   0028-7369.
  31. Shepherd, Fiona (September 10, 1999). "The World Can Change in a Matter of Momus". The Scotsman. UK. p. 23. Archived from the original on March 28, 2015. Retrieved April 15, 2013 via HighBeam. (Subscription required (help)).Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)
  32. Selvin, Joel; Vaziri, Aidin; Heller, Greg (November 7, 1999). "$1,000 Bought a Custom Song on Momus' Latest Album". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
  33. "Grammy Award Winners". grammy.com.
  34. "Blood, Sweat and Tears beat out Beatles, Cash". Beaver Country Times . UPI. March 13, 1970. Retrieved August 28, 2010.
  35. "Wendy Carlos receives the 2005 SEAMUS Lifetime Achievement Award". seamusonline.org. April 15, 2005. Archived from the original on January 26, 2006. Retrieved August 27, 2010. (Summary at the Wayback Machine (archived January 30, 2006)).
  36. "Solar Eclipse Images". Solar Data Analysis Center at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Retrieved October 9, 2008.
  37. Carlos, Wendy. "The Wendy Carlos Total Solar Eclipse Page". wendycarlos.com. Retrieved April 29, 2007.
  38. "APOD: 2002 December 13 – The Crown of the Sun". apod.nasa.gov. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  39. "NASA – Eclipse Photography". eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  40. "A New Sun Born in Computer Wears the Right Look for Eclipse". nasa.gov. June 7, 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2018.