Although the Moog synthesizer, and its descendants, reached its widest audience through rock music, it also made its mark on classical music. In 1968, Walter Carlos's Switched-On Bach, a collection of Bach transcriptions recorded on the instrument, was an unexpected hit, spending a year on the pop charts, and spawned many imitators.
The Moog synthesizer was also used by avant-garde composers and by jazz musicians including Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and Sun Ra.
Born in New York City, Moog studied engineering and physics at Queens College, Columbia, and Cornell. His first musical experiments were with the theremin, an early electronic instrument controlled by moving the hands between two antennas. He created his first synthesizer, a series of electronic modules attached to a keyboard, in collaboration with composer Herbert Deutsch in the mid 1960s. His first self-contained synthesizer, the Minimoog, was released in 1970.