The synthesizer industry has lost a figure whose influence extends back several generations. Peter Zinovieff, founder of Electronic Music Studios (EMS) and one of the earliest synth composers, passed away on Wednesday evening at age 88.
At the time of writing, Zinovieff’s official cause of death has been disclosed to the general public. According to fellow composer James Gardner, he had been hospitalized for ten days after falling at his home. The Guardian later confirmed his death.
With a heavy heart, I am sorry to confirm the death on Wednesday evening of Peter Zinovieff, composer, founder of EMS, and pioneer of computer music in the UK. He was 88, and had been in hospital for 10 days following a fall at his home. pic.twitter.com/pS10HkyM2x
— James Gardner (@JEGcomposer) June 26, 2021
Remembering Peter Zinovieff
Born in London in 1933 to Russian expatriates, Peter Zinovieff studied geology at Oxford University – only to later give up his career in the field to pursue experimental music in what he called a “middle-of-the-night decision.” He collaborated with the likes of Delia Derbyshire at the storied BBC Radiophonic Workshop before launching EMS alongside Tristram Cary and David Cockerell in 1969.
EMS is perhaps best known for devices like the Synthi 100, VCS 3, and Synthi AKS. Zinovieff, whose slogan was “Think of a sound – now make it,” also worked directly with a wide range of artists including Brian Eno, Pink Floyd, and Ringo Starr, among many others.
Peter Zinovieff is survived by his wife, Jenny Jardine, and six of his seven children.