Asheville, NC's Bob Moog

Michelle Moog-Koussa
Michelle Moog-Koussa

Sound pioneer Bob Moog revolutionized popular music in 1964 when he invented the Moog synthesizer. A slate of rock's most influential bands — including the The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, The Beach Boys Stevie Wonder, Pink Floyd and Parliament & Funkadelic — used Moog's invention to create new sounds and push rock music in new directions.

Moog Synthesizers Today

Today, the Moog (rhymes with "vogue") influence lives on as a new wave of innovative artists like Daft Punk, MGMT, Gorillaz, Radiohead, and U2 use synthesizers to create the sounds that are defining a new millennium."¨

Moog died in 2005 after spending much of his later life in Asheville, so it's fitting that the annual Moogfest music festival is now held each October in Asheville, where his daughter Michelle Moog-Koussa runs the Bob Moog Foundation and is working on raising money for a future Asheville Moogseum in her father’s honor.

“The synthesizer has impacted people’s lives around the world through electronic music,” says Moog-Koussa. “The synthesizer allows you to generate and manipulate sound through electronic means, and you can get thousands of sounds emanating from the instrument. And it has become so advanced that music stores today offer hundreds of synthesizer options to choose from.”"¨

Honoring Moog

Still active in Asheville is Moog Music, the company Moog originally formed in 1954 that continues to be the leading producer of synthesizers, analog musical instruments and effects pedals. In 2011, the company relocated to a new location in downtown Asheville after rehabilitating a building there - a move praised for its effort to revive that part of the city.

Moogfest is a 3-day festival hosting artists and audiences from throughout the world in different venues throughout Asheville. In addition to concerts, Moogfest offers panel discussions, question and answer sessions, workshops, art exhibitions, film screenings and interactive experiences for the audience to explore their own musical creativity with a variety of Moog instruments.

As for the museum, it's still a work in progress. "¨Moog-Koussa wants to locate the Moogseum either in downtown Asheville or in the city’s River Arts District. Planned attractions include Bob Moog’s massive archives as well as an extensive historical collection of instruments, including original synthesizers that the public will be welcome to play. There will also be a performance auditorium on site."¨

The Bob Moog Foundation received a lead grant of $600,000 from the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority but still needs more money to reach its $3-$5 million goal. “My dad was a brilliant inventor, but his brilliance didn’t spill over to the business world,” Moog-Koussa says. “He never patented his synthesizer, so he never made big money from it. That’s why The Bob Moog Foundation has been set up to raise money for the Moogseum project.”

Learn more about music in Asheville, NC.

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