Herb Deutsch Death, Obituary – Herb Deutsch was a professor emeritus of music at Hofstra University. He was a co-inventor of the Moog synthesizer, which caused a revolution in the music industry in the 1960s and 1970s. The Hofstra community is grieved to learn of Professor Deutsch’s loss. Professor Deutsch, who was also a graduate of Hofstra Institution, spent more than half of his professional life teaching at the university. During that time, he was a source of motivation and guidance for hundreds of students majoring in a wide range of disciplines. During his time as a professor at Hofstra University, Deutsch established several musical groups and programs, including the Jazz Ensemble, the Electronic Music Studios, and The New Music Ensemble.
He also designed Bachelor of Science degree programs in composition and theory, jazz and commercial music, and music business. Herb combined his talents as a performer, composer, teacher, and entrepreneur to inspire his peers and colleagues and change the lives of countless Hofstra music students. His longtime colleague and friend, Professor of Music Chandler Carter, said, “A creative mind, passionate educator, inspired leader and innovative thinker, Herb combined his talents as a performer, composer, teacher, and entrepreneur to inspire the lives of countless Hofstra music students.” Without him, the Hofstra University Music Department would not be the successful institution that it is today.
In 1956, Professor Deutsch graduated from Hofstra University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education. In the early 1960s, he accepted a position at the university as a faculty member, and he remained there in that capacity until 2018. Professor Deutsch first met Dr. Robert Moog at a conference held by the New York State School Music Association in 1963. Dr. Moog extended an invitation to Professor Deutsch to work with him on the design and development of a music synthesizer. The Hofstra University Research Foundation awarded Professor Deutsch a research grant in the amount of $200 to be utilized toward the project’s expenses.
In July of 1964, Dr. Moog and Professor Deutsch conceived up the idea for the first prototype of a synthesizer, and by the fall of that same year, they had completed its construction. There is a display of Hofstra’s first synthesizer in the lobby of Joseph G. Shapiro Family Hall, which is the building that houses the Department of Music. Also on exhibit is correspondence from Dr. Moog and a letter of congratulations from Hofstra confirming Professor Deutsch’s research funding. “Herb is a legend,” said Jared Berry ’10, a former student who now works as the choir director at Manhasset High School. “Herb was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had.”
“Herb’s contributions have benefited students for decades, from the establishment of an electronic music department to the creation of a network of Hofstra graduates through his work as the founder of Allegro Con Brio to the countless recitals he has given over the years. The happiness and ardor that he instilled in an incalculable number of musicians will endure for many years to come.