Engineer, Multi-Instrumentalist, and Vocalist Don Lewis shares his amazing perspective on the history of the early and modern synthesizer and development of MIDI.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Don Lewis gained status throughout the San Francisco live music scene while performing with a revolutionary instrument of his own design – LEO (Live Electronic Orchestra) an innovative cohesion of synthesizers and sound modules developed 10 years before the MIDI standard.
In addition to performing, Don worked as a sound designer/musician for the likes of Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones and the Beach Boys.
In the 1980s, Lewis' career as a full time musician was put on hold. His use and advancement of music technology was misinterpreted as a threat to unionized musicians and some of its members began protesting his performances as a result.
Don concentrated on an alternative career path, utilizing his skills as a concert artist and voicing programmer for Yamaha and Roland: eventually contributing to the success of such groundbreaking music products as the Yamaha DX-7 synthesizer and the Roland TR-808 drum machine.