Suzanne Cianni at the Los Angeles Public Library

I’m sometimes asked what, or who, got my interested in musical synthesizers, and I usually answer with Wendy Carlos or Dick Hyman or Andrew Kazdin and Thomas Z. Shepard. These folks were primarily known for using synths, mostly Moog modulars, to record reasonably well know classics or popular music. But, there’s also a fascinating (and sometimes disturbing) world of sounds that can be made with these machines.

Another artist I’ve followed who has been experimenting with electronic music and sonic design for many years is Suzanne Ciani. Her work varies, from very traditional melodic song to much more abstract sonic construction, and following her recordings and appearances can be fascinating. Very recently, she was featured in a series at the Los Angeles Public Library, using a Buchla 200e modular synthesizer, which was streamed live, and also made available on their YouTube channel. I hope you enjoy it!

Modular synth pioneer Suzanne Ciani presents a live quadraphonic performance with a Buchla 200e modular electronic music instrument.

It’s good to see that she’s still quite active, and quite excited, by creating synthetic soundscapes and music. Here, she describes her relationship with the instrument she’s made her own, and become best known for working with.

What got me started down this path today was stumbling across this wonderfully giddy appearance on David Letterman’s old late night show, back in 1980.

Here's my nine minutes of late-night (I meant early-morning) fame on the David Letterman Show when originally broadcasted on NBC. It was produced on August 14, 1980.

More YouTube videos can be found here:

Her official web site is here:

And, of course, she has her own YouTube channel here: