Gershon Kingsley

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Gershon Kingsley
Birth name Götz Gustav Ksinski
Born (1922-10-28) October 28, 1922 (age 94)
Bochum, Germany
Genres Electronic, classical, pop, sacred, crossover
Occupation(s) Composer, arranger, keyboardist, conductor
Instruments Synthesizer, piano
Years active 1954–present
Website Official website

Gershon Kingsley (born Götz Gustav Ksinski; October 28, 1922) a contemporary German-American composer,[1] is a pioneer of electronic music and the Moog synthesizer and founder of the First Moog Quartet, as a partner in the electronic music duo Perrey and Kingsley, and writer of rock-inspired compositions for Jewish religious ceremonies.[2]

Kingsley conducted and arranged many Broadway musicals,[3] and composes for film and for television shows[4] and commercials.[5] Kingsley also composes classical chamber works and his most recent opera, Raoul, was premiered in Bremen, Germany in 2008.[6] His compositions are eclectic and vary between avant-garde and pop styles. Kingsley is most famous for his influential electronic instrumental composition "Popcorn".[1] His work garnered recognition with a Tony Award nomination for Best Conductor and Musical Director,[7] two Clio Awards for his work in advertising, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Bob Moog Foundation.[8]

Early life[edit]

Gershon Kingsley was born Götz Gustav Ksinski in Bochum, Germany, in 1922, to a German father who was Jewish and German mother who was Catholic.[9] Kingsley was a member of a Zionist youth movement and at the age of 15 left Germany in 1938, a few days before Kristallnacht and joined kibbutz Ein Harod, Israel, while his parents stayed behind at that time. At the kibbutz he taught himself to play the piano. He joined the Hagana Jewish Settlement Police (Notrim) and also played jazz in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. He studied at the Jerusalem conservatory of music. His parents emigrated to the United States where Kingsley met up with them eight years later.[1]

Musical career[edit]

His career as a pop musician took off with the release of The In Sound from Way Out!, which he recorded with Jean-Jacques Perrey. The Perrey-Kingsley duo went on to record Kaleidoscopic Vibrations: Spotlight on the Moog and subsequently went their separate ways. Kingsley then recorded Music To Moog By, a classic Moog album consisting mainly of cover songs, originally by The Beatles, Beethoven, and Simon and Garfunkel. His next effort, titled First Moog Quartet, is a compilation of live recordings from his nationwide tour featuring four Moog synthesizers. Some of these compositions are more experimental, featuring spoken word and beat poetry backed by synthetic noises and tones. Kingsley moved beyond the Moog, and later pioneered the use of the earliest Fairlight and Synclavier digital synthesizers.[citation needed]


Kingsley was quoted in 2005 as saying that in 1969 he was listening to a popcorn machine and thought he could make a tune out of it. He spent the next day playing his Moog synth looking for a catchy riff. He then constructed the piece in the studio entirely on the synthesizer, resulting in "Popcorn". Kingsley released the track 87 days later on the album Music To Moog By, and it soon became the first international electronic dance hit.[10]

Many artists have covered "Popcorn", including Hot Butter, Jean Michel Jarre, Aphex Twin, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Marsheaux, Muse, Crazy Frog and The Muppets. The composition was used in Soviet animated series Nu, pogodi!

Other notable works[edit]

Kingsley and Perrey are credited with composing "Baroque Hoedown", used by Walt Disney Productions for the Main Street Electrical Parade at its theme parks; and "The Savers", best known as the theme for the game show The Joker's Wild. He also wrote the logo sting (animated logo accompanied with music) for WGBH-TV in Boston that appears throughout the United States on PBS programming produced by the station.[5][clarification needed]

Partial discography[edit]

Film scores[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Graham, Dave (April 19, 2010). "Pop pioneer hails Germany despite Holocaust misery". Reuters. Retrieved March 24, 2017. 
  2. ^ Caramanica, Jon (August 21, 2005). "Funny, It Doesn't Sound Jewish – New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  3. ^ The Broadway League. "The official source for Broadway Information". IBDB. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Gershon Kingsley". IMDb. 
  5. ^ a b "Film Video TV". Archived from the original on August 21, 2014. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Raoul". May 9, 2008. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  7. ^ "1959 Tony Award Winners". Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  8. ^ "WeImprovise!". 
  9. ^ "Gershon Kingsley". 
  10. ^ samuel raphael franco. "Gershon Kingsley- Kernel of the Electronic Music Revolution- Part 1 – j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California". 

External links[edit]