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Electronic Music Pioneer, Jon Appleton, Passes Away At 83

Jon Appleton, composer, professor and pioneer in electronic and electro-acoustic music, who helped develop the Synclavier, an early digital synthesizer, has died.

He passed away on the 30th of January in White River Junction, Vt., at the age of 83, his son JJ Appleton revealed on Wednesday. Appleton, born in L.A, became a part of the faculty at Dartmouth College in 1967 and developed one of the first programs and studios for electronic music in the country.

His colleague and friend, Theodore Levin, the Arthur R. Virgin Professor of Music at Dartmouth had a few words to say about his late dear friend.

“That really was a pioneering vision of his to create a center for electronic music at Dartmouth and it propelled Dartmouth very quickly to the forefront of the work in electronic, electro-acoustic music,” Levin said.

Being a musical visionary and one of the pioneers of electronic and electro-acoustic music, Levin said he “wasn’t a geek or a gearhead … whirling knobs and moving slider bars to make weird sounds.” Which was quite contrary to the typical stereotypes back in the early years.

He was beloved by many of his students, said JJ Appleton, his son.

“He was a composer, a very accomplished one, but he was also a very accomplished professor and mentor to a lot of people,” he said.

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