A Woman to Know: Wendy Carlos
|Julia Carpenter||Nov 22, 2016|
Composition has almost always been solitary. — Wendy Carlos
(image via The Music Museum of New England)
"A Clockwork Orange," "The Shining," "Tron" -- Wendy is the fingers on the keyboard (electronic keyboard, to be exact) behind each of these iconic soundtracks. She first made waves (~electronica waves~) in the music world with "Switched-on Bach," a Moog synthesizer rendition of classical music.
At the time, she was writing and composing as "Walter Carlos," hiding her gender dysphoria from all but her closest friends. When she first moved to New York in the 1960s and began working on "Switched-on Bach," she sought hormone treatment and, eventually, gender reassignment surgery. She came out publicly in Playboy in 1979 (Playboy "has always been concerned with liberation," she explained, "and I was anxious to liberate myself").
In 1980, when Disney approached her to compose the music for "Tron," she branched out beyond her self-designed synthesizers, equipping an entire orchestra to score what she called "a futuristic, digital moonscape."
Add to your library list:
The Music Highlights from Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" (Walter Carlos, now Wendy Carlos)
Play it jazzy, switched on or straight, it's Bach (The New York Times)
An interview with Wendy Carlos (American Public Media)
Wired for sound (The Guardian)
Wendy Carlos (Synth Museum)
Making musical history (The New York Times)
Switched on Bach (Wendy Carlos)
** Thank you to Marissa Lorusso for recommending Wendy as a woman to know! Follow Marissa on Twitter here, hear more from her band aquí and ALSO she and her bff make this great newsletter, so you should subscribe.**
** Send your own recommendations for women to know! Reply to this newsletter with your lady and she could be featured in an upcoming edition. You can browse the archive here. **