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BachWorks and Me

My name is Jim Michmerhuizen.

I have two goals.  The first is to construct musically convincing performances, and to distribute them on audio cassettes and CDs.  My methods and techniques are those of the MIDI studio, not the recital hall.  These performances must succeed or fail by the same musical criteria as any performance on traditional instruments.  Listeners have been enthusiastic.

The second goal is to distribute the midi files via this website, so that anyone who has a sequencer and soundcard or synthesizer can discover, and immerse himself in, the incomparable musical soul and mind of J.S.Bach.

Back in the seventies I did a lot in electronic music.  I founded and directed something called the Boston School of Electronic Music. I had written the Owner’s Manual for the ARP 2600, which achieved a certain amount of notoriety.

Earlier, in and around New Haven in the late sixties, a fugitive from the Graduate School, I had operated a small recording business and studio.  I did a lot of concert tapes and folk-music.  Got a dandy tape of John Mauceri conducting the Yale Symphony.  He said it was the best he'd ever heard.

During 1969 Karlheinz Stockhausen was living in Madison, CT, and I helped him with some stuff: tape analysis of one of his compositions whose name I've forgotten.  Then I helped his wife, Mary Bauermeister, with one of her action/sound sculptures at the Guggenheim Museum.  I gave a Yale faculty composer, James Drew, a hand with speakers and microphones and tape manipulation in a concert at Alice Tully Hall.  I've still got the concert program around somewhere.

By 1970 I'd succeeded in getting my hands on a synthesizer.  It was an EMS "Putney" VCS3, imported from England.  The company made a keyboard accessory for it, and during the summer of 1970, two years after I'd got blown out of my socks by Carlos' first SwitchedOnBach album, I did my own first couple of pieces of Bach.  An invention or two, and then the B major prelude and fugue from WTCII.

I made contact with Arp Instruments, just starting up at that time, and in the fall they invited me up to write the Owner's Manual for the Arp 2600.  It became a classic text in audio synthesis.  I continued on to write the Odyssey Manual, and then did some work for Oberheim.

In 1972, I started giving one-month courses from Intermedia Studios on Newbury Street.  These grew to become, by that fall, the Boston School of Electronic Music.  BSEM existed from then until May of 1979.  It was one of the great things in my life.  The story of those seven years is big and not easy to summarize.  There are a lot of people in it, whom I remember vividly and with affection.  Someday maybe I'll try to tell it.  Much of the flavor of those days is in this excerpt from the 1977 BSEM Catalog.

In October of 1990 I bought a used Roland D50, a MIDI interface, and a software sequencer.  Six weeks later I sold the D50 and bought a Korg Wavestation.  I began making music again.

There's more information, if you want, at my personal website.


Copyright © Jim Michmerhuizen 2005    Contact