Published Jan 31, 2011Composer Milton Babbitt died at the age of 94 in Princeton, NJ on Saturday (January 29). The Philadelphia, PA-born innovator leaves behind an impressive body of work, including his many electronic compositions. He's also credited with helping to develop RCA's Mark II synthesizer in the '50s.
As the New York Times reports, Babbitt worked at Princeton University as the founder and head of the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, where the Mark II was installed upon its completion. In 1992, Babbitt was awarded an honorary doctorate from Princeton University. Decades before that, the same university rejected Babbitt's dissertation on the 12-tone system of modern composers.
"His dissertation was so far ahead of its time it couldn't be properly evaluated at the time," said Theodore Ziolkowski, dean of Princeton's graduate school and a friend of Babbitt's.
Babbitt's last recorded composition was 2006's An Encore for violin and piano.