Skip to main content
Marissa Cetin
13 December 2022, 18:31

Herb Deutsch, co-inventor of Moog synthesiser, dies, aged 90

After meeting Bob Moog in 1963, the Long Island musician and educator developed what would become the original Moog synthesiser in 1964 and composed the first-ever piece for Moog

Herb Deutsch, co-inventor of Moog synthesiser, dies, aged 90

Herb Deutsch, composer, professor and co-inventor of the Moog synthesiser, has died at the age of 90.

The Bob Moog Foundation shared the news of Deutsch's passing on 9th December via Instagram. "There is nobody more important to the Moog legacy than Herb," the statement reads. "His deep creativity, curiosity, intelligence, and pursuit of musical frontiers prompted Bob Moog to design the first Moog synthesizer with Herb's invaluable guidance and collaboration."

Herb Deutsch was born on Long Island, New York in 1932 and started learning how to play music as young as four, developing that passion all through his childhood and eventually earning a master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music. In 1963, Deutsch introduced himself to Bob Moog after building a theremin based on Moog's designs. They spent the summer of 1964 developing what would become the original Moog synthesiser. That autumn, Deustch wrote 'Jazz Images – A Worksong and Blues', the first-ever composition for the Moog, he said in a 2003-'04 interview

Deutsch recounted meeting and working with Bob Moog to develop their first synthesiser in a 2019 feature for Yes & No magazine: "Right from the very beginning, when Bob and I talked about my being a performing artist and a musician, and he being the technological guy, the idea of combining both technology and thought and ideas into one world was the whole design of the original Moog. And in my mind, the idea of relating the new ideas to what the artists need, what they want, what they love, is very important." Read the full feature via Moog Music.

Deutsch's later career was dedicated to music education on Long Island, New York. He became a teacher at a Rockville Centre high school, and then served as a professor at Hofstra University in his hometown of Hempstead. He taught there for more than 50 years and chaired its music department. 

Listen to 'Jazz Images – A Worksong and Blues'.

Photo credit: Moog Music