Thursday Forum revisits 20th century music

Extra: Lonnie Zingula, Associate Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8613 or

2011-09-15 14:32:58 - General

Twentieth century music history is the topic of October at Coe College’s Thursday Forum.

Beginning Sept. 29, Professor Emeritus of Physics Jim Cottingham and music historian Lou Pine explore the history of music in the 20th century through the fascinating lives and work of Leon Theremin and Robert Moog, important pioneers who developed electronic instruments before the digital era.

Theremin’s long, remarkable and somewhat mysterious life (1896-1993) spanned the century. The Russian-born Theremin invented the instrument named after him around 1920, and created a sensation with it when he introduced it in New York in 1927.  His life had many other facets, including working for Soviet intelligence, serving time in a Soviet prison camp, and later receiving the Stalin Prize for his work on electronic eavesdropping devices.

Robert Moog (1934-2005), who considered Theremin to be his inspiration, began building theremins as a teenager, using plans from an electronics magazine, and eventually went on to create an instrument that bears his name, the Moog synthesizer.  The appearance of the Moog in the 1960s revolutionized all types of music making.

The forum presentations will include live musical examples and demonstrations, as well as numerous recorded audio and video examples. The lectures will be held Sept. 29 and Oct. 6, 13 and 20 in Kesler Lecture Hall in Hickok Hall on the Coe campus. Each session begins with coffee and pastries from 8:45-9:15 a.m., followed by the class until 11:30 a.m. The series will conclude with a luncheon on Oct. 20.

The courses are open to all adults and registration is on-site. The cost is $30 for a four-week course or $10 per week. The closing luncheons cost an additional $8. Thursday Forum gift certificates are available. For more information about the Coe College Thursday Forum lecture series, call (319) 399-8619.

Thursday Forum schedule:

  • “Ether Music, Switched on Bach and Beyond: Theremin, Moog and Music in the 20th Century” – Sept. 29 and Oct. 6, 13, 20.
  • “History of Healing in America: Midwives, Madness and Maladies” – Oct. 27 and Nov. 3, 10, 17.
  • “Asia 52402” – Feb. 2, 9, 16, 23.
  • “The Order in Chaos” – March 8, 15, 22, 29.
  • “Environmental Issues: Past, Present and Future” – April 5, 12, 19, 26.