A Woman to Know: Wendy Carlos

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."

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