Last week saw the announcement of the OMG-1/Bob Moog Foundation contest from Spectrasonics. Entrants are invited to purchase and download a special Tribute library designed to work with Omnisphere and create a track to submit to the contest. The prize is the OMG-1 – a custom built one-of-a kind instrument featuring a Moog Little Phatty, Omnisphere, Mac Mini, dual iPads, dual iPods and Omni TR all built into a beautiful, hand-crafted curly maple cabinet.
Last week we posted an interview with Daniel James, one of the sound designers who contributed to the library. This week, we’re finding out about the Bob Moog Foundation, how they became involved with Spectrasonics, and how the Tribute Library will be benefitting the Foundation. We spoke to Bob Moog’s daughter and Executive Director of the Foundation, Michelle Moog-Koussa to get the lowdown…
Hi Michelle, first up, please could you give us an overview of why the Bob Moog Foundation was set up and what it strives to achieve?
The Bob Moog Foundation was established by Bob’s family, friends and colleagues to carry on his legacy of touching, and in some cases transforming, people’s lives. When Bob passed away, we received an outpouring of testimonials from all over the world speaking to the various ways people’s lives had been effected by his synthesizers, the music they inspired, and by Bob’s warm, humble nature. This was the genesis of the Foundation.
The mission of the Foundation is to educate and inspire people at the intersection of music, science, history and innovation. We are working to achieve this mission through our three projects:
MoogLab Student Outreach Program – We bring electronic musical instruments into the schools to teach kids the science behind electronic music. Kids are so turned on by theremins and synthesizers – they really provide the ideal interface to engage children in the physics of sound.
Archive Preservation Initiative – Bob left behind an incredible archive of 50 years of his work. Within the archives are treasures of electronic music history: breadboard prototypes, reel-to-reel tapes from the late ’60s and early ’70s, thousands of schematics of iconic and one-off instruments, articles, lecture notes, photos, correspondence, and so much more. We are working to preserve and digitize this collection so that we can share it with people around the world for generations to come.
Moogseum – Our hallmark project is an innovative, interactive facility at the intersection of music and science where the spirit, legacy and work of Bob Moog will come alive for visitors of all ages. Both our educational and preservation initiatives will converge in the Moogseum, along with a performance area, making it a tribute not only to the Moog legacy, but to pioneering musicians and engineers around the world.
What’s been your proudest moment since launching the foundation?
There are so many thing that I am pround of, but if I had to boil it down to once experience, it would have to be watching a child’s face when they light up after learning the magic of sound sculpting. To be able to use Bob’s legacy to illuminate knowledge for kids makes me immensely proud… and honored.
Has the way you viewed your father changed at all since you launched the foundation in 2006?
Yes. For 37 years, I saw my dad was a geeky, cool guy with a rare, wise presence. He hardly ever talked about his work, and any knowledge I had of it could best be described as peripheral. When he died, the walls of humility came tumbling down and the rays of inspiration and transformation that he instilled in all kinds of people came beaming in to my consciousness. I actually struggle to merge my father with the iconic Bob Moog that I have come to know and respect, and who has inspired me in the most profound way. Because I understand the trials and challenges he endured on a personal and professional level throughout his life, I have a unique understanding into the depth of his passion, commitment and perseverance that lead to his pioneering work. I am awed by Bob Moog, and humbled to be carrying his extraordinary legacy forward.
What other projects are the Bob Moog Foundation currently involved with?
We are currently working to develop a national level curriculum for MoogLab, as well as develop innovative tools to teach people about the building blocks of analog synthesis. Additionally, we are making steady progress cataloging the archives as well as beginning to plan for a traveling museum exhibit for 2013. Finally, we are working on a biography of Bob Moog that will be released in the Fall of 2011. There are many other projects in the works, but those are the principal efforts at the moment.
How did you first become involved with Eric Persing/Spectrasonics and the Bob Moog Foundation library project?
I met Eric at NAMM a few years ago, and he told me what an inspiration Bob Moog has been to his work. I was so intrigued by his sincerity that I spent a fair bit of time in his booth the next year listening carefully to his product demonstrations. I was struck not only at the sonic authenticity that his instruments achieve, but also at his passion and enthusiasm for his craft. Eric is dedicated to providing high quality, unique instruments that give musicians a new tools to expand their creativity. He also has a very clear and focused drive to constantly innovate. All of those things combine led me to ask him last year if he would be willing to create a project that would benefit the Bob Moog Foundation. I never, ever anticipated that it would be of the magnitude of the Bob Moog Tribute Library. I’m so grateful that Eric agreed to create such a project, and that he and his team executed the project with such integrity and grace.
What was your immediate reaction when you first saw the finished OMG-1?
Eric told me about the OMG-1 last fall, but I first saw it at NAMM this year. I was awed and overwhelmed at the engineering and artistic craftsmanship, at the time and effort that Eric put into the instrument, and at the tribute that the OMG-1 itself is to Bob’s pioneering legacy.
Will the money raised from the Library be distributed across all your current projects, or is there one in particular that will benefit?
I know that Eric supports all of our goals, but that he has a particular interest in seeing the Moogseum come to fruition. Although the Moogseum will take millions of dollars to create and be years in the making, we are constantly moving toward making it a reality by working steadily on the educational and historical part of our mission. The funding provided by the Tribute Library will go toward strengthening those programs and moving us closer to our ultimate vision.
Finally, what would you like to say to those Omnisphere users who haven’t quite been persuaded into purchasing the Bob Moog Tribute Library yet?
The Bob Moog Tribute Library stands on its own as a celebration of synthesis, an exploration of sound and a tool for creativity. There is no doubt that any user will get more out of the Library than the modest investment put in to purchasing it. Above the sheer value of the Tribute Library, 100% of the proceeds goes to helping the Bob Moog Foundation carry Bob’s legacy forward to future generations. With the support of Omnisphere users, the Tribute library will endure the test of time, just as Bob’s legacy itself, and the Bob Moog Foundation will remain a force in music and science education and historic preservation.
For more information about the Spectrasonics Bob Moog Foundation Contest click here