Peter Zinovieff, British Synth Pioneer, Dies at 88

Peter Zinovieff, the British composer and synthesizer pioneer who co-founded the electronic instrument company EMS, has died, as The Guardian reports. He was 88 years old.

Born in 1933, Zinovieff attended Oxford had a prior career as a geologist before deciding to become an electronic musiciana  in the 1960s, at a moment when the burgeoning technology had only just begun to hint at the possibilities. He was a member of the collective Unit Delta Plus alongside BBC Radiophonic Workshop legend Delia Derbyshire and Brian Hodgson, famously working with them and Paul McCartney on the rare unreleased Beatles piece Carnival of Light in 1967.

EMS, founded by Zinovieff, the late composer Tristam Cary, and engineer David Cockerell in 1969, produced instruments such as the VCS3, Synthi 100, and Synthi AKS into the ’70s. EMS synths were used on records by artists including Kraftwerk, David Bowie, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Brian Eno, composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, and numerous others. The company would go bankrupt in late 1970s before being revived by former employee Robin Wood.

Zinovieff would spend the following decades largely away from music, working in graphic design and teaching, but made a return to composition in 2011 after being commissioned for a new work by artist Russell Haswell.

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