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Peter Zinovieff is a British inventor of Russian ethnicity, most notable for his EMS company, which made the famous VCS3 synthesizer in the late 1960s. The synthesizer was used by many early progressive rock bands such as Pink Floyd[1] and White Noise, Krautrock groups like Kraftwerk[2] as well as more pop-oriented artists, including David Bowie. Zinovieff was born on 26 January 1933;[3] his parents, Leo Zinovieff and Sofka, née Princess Sofka Dolgorouky, were both Russian aristocrats, who met in London after their families had emigrated to escape the Russian Revolution and soon divorced.[4] After World War II he and his brother Ian lived with his father and grandfather in Sussex, and he attended Guildford Royal Grammar School, Gordonstoun School, and Oxford University, where he earned a doctorate in geology.[5][6] In 1966-67, Zinovieff, Delia Derbyshire and Brian Hodgson ran Unit Delta Plus, an organisation to create and promote electronic music which was based in the studio Zinovieff had built in a shed at his house in Putney.[7][8] EMS grew out of MUSYS, a synthesiser system which Zinovieff developed with the help of David Cockerell and Peter Grogno which used two DEC PDP-8 minicomputers and a piano keyboard. In 1969, Zinovieff sought financing through an ad in The Times but received only one response, £50 on the mistaken premise it was the price of a synthesiser. Instead he formed EMS with Cockerell and Tristram Cary.[9] Jon Lord of Deep Purple described Zinovieff as "a mad professor type": "I was ushered into his workshop and he was in there talking to a computer, trying to get it to answer back".[10] Trevor Pinch and Frank Trocco, in their history of the synthesizer revolution, see him rather as aristocratically averse to "trade".[11] Zinovieff also wrote the libretto for Harrison Birtwistle's opera The Mask of Orpheus.[12] In 1960, Zinovieff married Victoria Heber-Percy; in 1978, he married Rose Verney. He has seven children and is now retired.[13] Notes ^ Notably on Dark Side of the Moon: Trevor Pinch and Frank Trocco, Analog Days, Harvard University Press, 2004, ISBN 0674016173, p. 293. ^ Pinch and Trocco, p. 297. ^ Sofka Zinovieff, Red Princess: A Revolutionary Life, London: Granta, 2007, ISBN 9781862079199, p. 185. ^ Pinch and Trocco, pp. 276, p. 278. ^ Zinovieff, p. 295. ^ Pinch and Trocco, p. 279. ^ Zinovieff, pp. 327-28: "by the end of the 1960s, Peter had three children and ran an electronic music studio from a garden shed by the river in Putney". ^ Unit Delta Plus at, retrieved 19 April 2010. ^ "All About EMS: Part 1", Musical Matrices, Sound on Sound November 2000, retrieved 19 April 2010. ^ Pinch and Trocco, p. 293. ^ Pinch and Trocco, p. 300. ^ OCLC 477068522 ^ Peter Zinovieff on, November 20, 2008, accessed April 18, 2010. Further reading Trevor Pinch, Frank Trocco. Analog Days. Harvard University Press, 2004. ISBN 0674016173. Chapter 14. Sofka Skipwith. Sofka, the Autobiography of a Princess. London: Hart-Davis, 1968. OCLC 504549593. Autobiography by his mother. Sofka Zinovieff. Red Princess: A Revolutionary Life. London: Granta, 2007. ISBN 9781862079199. Biography of his mother by his daughter. External links Dr. Peter Zinovieff, 7 Deadly Synths - Lecture for the Red Bull Music Academy, London 2010 Matthew Bate, What the Future Sounded Like - Three-part Australian video about EMS & personnel Graham Hinton, The EMS Story, 2002 Peter Zinovieff at IMDb