Peter Zinovieff: First home computer in the UK (?) PDP-8, synthesiser

This just popped up on my twitter feed - a BBC interview with Peter Zinovieff who died recently. Peter was an early electronics and computer music creator and went on to create synthesisers used by many musicians/groups…

It’s a fascinating interview.

Also his wikipedia page:



Interesting! I had a moment of scepticism that his computers (a PDP-8/L and /S) were named after his children Leo and Sofka, rather than the other way around, but it turns out his parents were also called Leo and Sofka, anticipating DEC’s naming conventions…

There’s an earlier mention of Zinovieff and a video within an earlier comment:
Cartridge Music (C64, Sega Megadrive)


There’s a nice diagram of Zinovieff’s dual-PDP-8 MUSYS system on the linked page:

and a photo of the studio too:

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Here’s a British Pathé short film of Zinovieff and his studio and his music:

Thanks to @Maurici_Carbo for the tip!

Edit and here’s another, more recent video, interviewing Zinovieff:

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Another video is embedded in this article:

He then bought a computer to control all the equipment. This was the PDP-8, which had four kilobytes of memory, no hard drive and worked by feeding in commands on ticker tape. It cost £4,000, the equivalent of £100,000 today. “It was a massive family decision,” Zinovieff remembers. “I’m afraid I went cap in hand. My father-in-law had given my wife this ridiculous tiara, made of turquoise and pearls. We managed to sell that for the same price as the computer. She didn’t miss it. It’s often told rather against me, this story, but it was a worthwhile thing to do.

via last year’s obituaries, unfortunately.