|Birth name||Götz Gustav Ksinski|
28 October 1922 |
|Genres||Electronic, classical, pop, sacred, crossover|
|Occupation(s)||Composer, arranger, keyboardist, conductor|
Gershon Kingsley (born Götz Gustav Ksinski; 28 October 1922) a contemporary German American composer, 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.
Kingsley conducted and arranged many Broadway musicals, and composes for film and for television shows and commercials. Kingsley also composes classical chamber works and his most recent opera, Raoul, was premiered in Bremen in 2008. His compositions are eclectic and vary between avant-garde and pop styles. Kingsley is most famous for his influential electronic instrumental composition "Popcorn". His work garnered recognition with a Tony Award nomination for Best Conductor and Musical Director, two Clio Awards for his work in advertising, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Bob Moog Foundation.
Gershon was born Götz Gustav Ksinski in 1922 in Bochum, Germany to a Roman Catholic mother that converted to Judaism and a Jewish father. Kingsley was a member of a Zionist youth moment and at the age of 15 left Germany in 1938 few days before the crystal night and joined kibbutz Ein Harod 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 Ghaffirs and also played Jazz in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. He studied at the Jerusalem conservatorium of music. His parents emigrated to the United States where Kingsley met up with them eight years later.
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.
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 song 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.
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
Kingsley and Perrey are credited with composing "Baroque Hoedown", used by The Walt Disney Company 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 for WGBH-TV in Boston that appears throughout the United States on PBS programming produced by the station.
- 1966 The In Sound from Way Out!
- 1967 Kaleidoscopic Vibrations: Spotlight on the Moog
- 1969 Music to Moog By
- 1970 First Moog Quartet
- 1970 Switched-On Gershwin
- 1991 The Essential Perrey and Kingsley
- 2005 Voices from the Shadow
- 2006 God Is a Moog
- 2007 Vanguard Visionaries: Perrey and Kingsley
- 2009 Silent Night, Bloody Night (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
- Graham, Dave (April 19, 2010). "Pop pioneer hails Germany despite Holocaust misery". Reuters. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
- Caramanica, Jon (August 21, 2005). "Funny, It Doesn't Sound Jewish – New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
- The Broadway League. "The official source for Broadway Information". IBDB. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
- "Gershon Kingsley". IMDb.
- "Film Video TV". Gershonkingsley.com. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
- "Raoul". Operacompetition.hu. May 9, 2008. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
- "1959 Tony Award Winners". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
- "WeImprovise!". weimprovise.com.
- "Pop pioneer hails Germany despite Holocaust misery". Reuters. April 19, 2010.
- samuel raphael franco. "Gershon Kingsley- Kernel of the Electronic Music Revolution- Part 1 - j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California". jweekly.com.
- "Gershon Kingsley". IMDb.
- Gershon Kingsley's homepage
- Gershon Kingsley at the Internet Movie Database
- Gershon Kingsley at the Internet Broadway Database
- Kingsley performs "Popcorn" on an acoustic piano on YouTube
- Seventy-nine different versions of Popcorn at WFMU's Beware of the Blog