Articles / Miscellaneous

Dr. Robert Moog, 1934-2005

Bob Moog, 1934-2005 Dr. Robert Moog passed away Sunday, August 21st, 2005. He was 71.

ThereminWorld extends our deepest sympathies to Dr. Moog's family, friends, and co-workers for their great loss. In honor of this great man and his accomplishments, I would like to share a few reflections about my experiences with him.

I had the great honor of meeting Bob Moog for the first time when he gave a lecture at Vanderbilt University in 1996. I was an electrical engineering student at the time and had recently learned about the theremin myself. Bob gave a lecture on the physics and history of the theremin and then spoke before a showing of the film, "Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey" in which he was featured. I had grown up listening to my parents "Moog Records" and considered him as a role model and my own inspiration for becoming an engineer. Meeting him in person was a dream come true.

Bob invited me to visit his factory in Asheville, and I eagerly accepted. After giving me a tour of the facility, he took me out to his storage unit where he dug out an old Vanguard theremin cabinet, which he presented to me as a gift. Today, it sits proudly in my collection, "stuffed" with original Etherwave #47, also a gift from Big Briar. On that trip, he also gave me a copy of a schematic of Clara Rockmore's theremin he had drawn out by hand while servicing it. I felt like I had just been handed the Holy Grail.

Later, Bob invited me to hang out with Big Briar at the Summer NAMM show in Nashville, TN. I stood in complete awe as industry big-wigs literally bowed down in front of him right there on the crowded trade show floor! Despite Bob's status as the "father of the synthesizer", he was never too busy to pick up the phone or personally troubleshoot a damaged instrument.

I saw Bob several other times over the years, including the time he came to Microsoft with his long-time friend David Van Koevering to demonstrate a new digital piano that used Windows to generate sounds & display piano lessons. Another time at the Portland music festival, and most recently at his factory in April of 2005. During this last trip, I was shocked to see how Bob had aged so quickly. I only had a short 15 minutes to spend with him, and had I realized at the time it would be my last conversation with this wonderful man, I would have thanked him one more time in person for everything he has given this world.

I take heart that his inspiration will live on forever in the hearts, minds, and souls of millions of music lovers worldwide. I will imagine that he is somewhere drinking tea with Clara Rockmore and Leon Theremin and looking back on a wonderful life that touched so many.

Bob, thank you.

Jason Barile