The First Commercial MOOG
You are looking at the Moog Synthesizer, Stearns 2035. It currently resides as part of the Stearns Collection at the University of Michigan. According to the university it was the first commercially produced MOOG Synthesizer.
“This particular instrument has the distinction of being the first commercially produced Moog synthesizer. It was commissioned by the Alwin Nikolai Dance Theater of New York in 1964 after being demonstrated at the Audio Engineering Society convention in New York in October of that year. Nikolai used the synthesizer to compose recorded musical accompaniments for his dancers. Later, the instrument was acquired by the Collection. In 1989, Robert Moog gave a demonstration lecture using this synthesizer—a lecture jointly sponsored by the Stearns Collection and the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. Synthesizer technology has advanced significantly and become much more widespread since the original Moog synthesizer—Robert Moog himself has designed a number of successors—which underscores the importance of this artifact of early electronic music.” You can find more info and images at the Stearns Collection Online Exhibit. To see the collection from the beginning click here.
Mike Oldfield’s OB-Xa?
Next we have an Oberheim OB-Xa claimed to have been owned by Mike Oldfield of Tubular Bells fame. Remember the theme song to The Exorcist? That was Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells. Before you conclude this OB-Xa was used in that release, realize the album was released in 1973 while the Oberheim OB-Xa was released in 1980. However, you can see the Tubular Bells image on the case. This shot comes from an auction that was recently pulled. If anyone knows more about this piece feel free to comment. I did manage to grab the details and more images from the auction here before it was removed.
$32k of Synth History
The MOOG Synthesizer IIIp. This one is actually up for sale. The asking price? $32,000 US. It was purchased by Phil Davis in 1969 and used in film (George Harrison – Ravi Shankar – film score) and a number of live performances including “Tommy,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” a Sgt. Pepper Stage production and Disney’s “Electric Light Parade,” and Paul McCartney’s “Ram.” You can find more images and info here.
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