Peter Zinovieff

Dr Peter Zinovieff

Areas of Interest

Music

Honorary Award

Honorary Doctor of Music, 2015

Biography

Dr Peter Zinovieff is a composer, librettist and pioneer of electronic music.

He was educated at the Royal Grammar School Guildford, Gordonstoun and Oxford where he obtained a D.Phil. in Geology.  After short periods as an exploration Geologist in Cyprus and Pakistan he started experimenting in Electronic Music.

During the 1960s he rapidly developed a world class studio in London and installed the first computer in a private house in the world which he used to control the sound generating equipment. He was also the first to use sampling as a musical technique.

Later he asked David Cockerel and Tristram Cary to form EMS - a company to manufacture synthesisers and support the studio. The first product was the VCS3, a self-contained modular synthesiser which has now achieved legendary fame and was used by many famous pop groups including Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Who and so on. I am pleased to say that the University bought one in 1971 which is now in our Department of Music and Performing Arts.

EMS also produced numerous other pieces of electronic music equipment ranging from the huge Synthi 100, the Vocoder, and the Synthi AKS to modules for studio and live performance.

Dr Zinovieff collaborated with many composers and especially with Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Hans Werner Henze. He wrote the libretto and scenario for the huge opera “The Mask of Orpheus” by Birtwistle which was produced by the English National Opera in London in 1986.

As a result of a commission he started composing again in 2010 and has written a number of large scale electronic works in the last 5 years. Two multi-spatial works commissioned by TBA21 Vienna –“Bridges from Somewhere and Another to Somewhere Else” first produced in Istanbul, and “Good Morning Ludwig” at ZKM, Karlsruhe. Also two violin concertos played by Aisha Orazbayeva and three soundscapes with poet Katrina Porteous. He is now working on a piano concerto and a cello and electronics piece.

A lavishly produced booklet and dual CD titled “Electronic Calendar” of his early works and other pieces from the EMS era has just been produced by Space Age Recordings.


Dr. Tom Hall, Course Leader of our Creative Music Technology degree, has published research on Peter’s collaborations, and in 2013 he organised a symposium and concert celebrating Peter’s work and 80th birthday.

Peter Zinovieff has had an enormous influence on the evolution of electronic music, and he will be an inspirational role model for our Creative Music Technology and Audio Music Technology students.  As a remarkable innovator and pioneer, we are delighted to welcome Dr Peter Zinovieff to our Anglia Ruskin community.