Synthesizers: Sound of the

Detail of the EMS VCS3 at MESS
[Untitled] EMS VCS3 synthesizer Les Craythorn realising Percy Grainger’s Free Music on the Synthi 100

This online exhibition accompanies the Grainger Museum exhibition 'Synthesizers: Sound of the Future'

The Grainger Museum was at the heart of electronic music experimentation in Melbourne in the 1960s and early ’70s, when composer Keith Humble, recently returned from a decade of cutting-edge musical experimentation in Paris, transformed the Museum into the ‘Grainger Centre’: an electronic experimentation studio for students and composers.

Humble equipped the Grainger Centre with the latest analogue synthesizers made by the experimental music company, Electronic Music Studios, Ltd, (EMS), London. The powerful, but compact and modestly priced EMS VCS1 and VCS3, and the extraordinary Synthi 100, were developed by the small EMS team as a way of bringing electronic synthesis of sounds into the reach of musicians outside of large commercial studios and radio stations. The EMS synthesizers allowed composers to create entirely new sounds to incorporate into their experimental music and processes. For a brief period of less than a decade, the Grainger Museum resonated with this ‘sound of the future’...

Evoking the ethos of vibrant period of musical creativity in Melbourne, the exhibition features  video art created by electronic artist David Chesworth on the EMS Spectre video synthesizer circa 1980.

Presented by Grainger Museum and Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio, Ltd (MESS)


Exhibition curated by Heather Gaunt, Curator, Grainger Museum

Thanks to the following key contributors: John Cary, David Chesworth, David Collins, Les Craythorn, Agnes Dodds, Robin Fox, Keith Whitman, James Gardner, Alan Gaunt, Graeme Kerrs, Charles McInnes, Kristoffer Paulsen, Byron J. Scullin, John Whiteoak, Liquid Architecture

Synthesizers: Sound of the