Tristram Cary

Tristram Ogilvie Cary, OAM (14 May 1925 – 24 April 2008) was a pioneering English-Australian composer. He was also active as a teacher and music critic. Cary was born in Oxford, England, and educated at the Dragon School in Oxford and Westminster School in London. He was the third son and child of a pianist and the novelist Joyce Cary, author of Mister Johnson. While working as a radar engineer for the Royal Navy during World War II, he independently developed his own conception of electronic and tape music, and is regarded as among the earliest pioneers of these musical forms.

Following World War II, he created one of the first electronic music studios, later travelling around Europe to meet the small numbers of other early pioneers of electronic music and composition. He studied arts at the University of Oxford and went on to study composition, conducting, piano, viola and horn at Trinity College London.

With Peter Zinovieff and David Cockerell, he founded Electronic Music Studios (London) Ltd, which created the first commercially available portable synthesiser, the EMS VCS 3, and was then involved in production of such distinctive EMS products as the EMS Synthi 100.

In 1967 he created an electronic music studio at the Royal College of Music. This led to an invitation from the University of Melbourne in 1973 for a lecture tour, which in turn led to an invitation to become the Visiting Composer at the University of Adelaide in 1974. He remained there as a lecturer until 1986. He also wrote music criticism for The Australian.


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