This video, from this year’s Red Bull Music Academy, features pioneering synthesist Suzanne Ciani giving a master class on the Buchla modular synthesizer and her live performance rig.
Created in the early 1960s by Don Buchla, the Buchla synthesizer revolutionized electronic music through its innovative design and endlessly variable modular system, encouraging new methods of creation and performance. Few artists pursued the emotional and sonic possibilities as comprehensively as Suzanne Ciani, an early disciple of Buchla and an undeniable master of the machine who first got her start composing music for advertisements before redefining herself as a Grammy-nominated new age artist. In Ciani’s hands, what can often look like an impenetrable tangle of wires becomes an instrument of beauty, capable of producing truly far-out sounds.
In this impressive display of expert knowledge, filmed at the 2016 Red Bull Music Academy in Montréal, the synthesizer pioneer takes us inside the Buchla in all its complex glory.
Ciani is also featured in an earlier RBMA video, in which she talks synthesis and playing tennis with Don Buchla.