145th AES CONVENTION Presenters: Thomas Dolby

AES New York 2018 Presenter or Author

Thomas Dolby

Thomas Dolby

Primary Affiliation: Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD, USA

The list of breakthrough innovations in Thomas Dolby's 35-year career is continuous. As an early MTV icon he blazed a trail for electronic music with his imaginative videos. The same year as his own record reached the top of the pop/dance charts, he co-wrote and produced the first ever platinum-selling rap 12” single – “Magic’s Wand” by Whodini. His synth playing and production have graced the recordings of Foreigner, Def Leppard, George Clinton and Joni Mitchell, earning five GRAMMY® nominations. He appeared live with Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock, with David Bowie at Live Aid, and with Roger Waters at The Wall in Berlin. His self-penned “She Blinded Me With Science” became a Top 5 Billboard hit, going on to become an evergreen geek anthem of the 1980s that still pops up in Grand Theft Auto, The Big Bang Theory and Breaking Bad.

Thomas Dolby has created original music for features films produced by George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Ken Russell; he has appeared with The Muppets, and on numerous TV shows from Soul Train to The Late Show.

Sought after as a consultant for tech startups and research companies, Thomas Dolby had a hand in emerging entertainment platforms including laser disks, computer games, interactive TV, virtual reality installations and location-based entertainment. His name is on multiple US patents, and he has worked as an investment advisor for top venture capital firms. During the early Silicon Valley internet explosion, Dolby founded high tech startup Beatnik, Inc. and co-created the code that drove interactive audio in Java. When mobile phones began to play polyphonic ringtones, it was via his BAE technology, licensed by Beatnik and then embedded in over two billion cellular phones and devices.

Between adding music to the mix as in-house Music Director of every TED Conference from 2001-12, Thomas taught himself to be a digital filmmaker; and in 2013 he won multiple awards for his groundbreaking film "The Invisible Light-house," which chronicles the closure of a 250 year old lighthouse visible from his coastal home in Suffolk, UK.

Since Fall 2014 Dolby has held the post of Homewood Professor of the Arts at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. At the Johns Hopkins’ new Music for New Media Lab, which opens this Fall, Professor Dolby is launching the first four-year Bachelor of Music degree at a major American university that will focus on the requirements of music composition and sound spatialization for next-generation entertainment applications; he will coach the next generation of composers and sound designers, and share the uncharted journey to graduation with them during this time of rapid AI and XR evolution.

Thomas Dolby has recently released his first book, the memoir The Speed Of Sound, to laudatory reviews.

Session List

Oct 17: SE02: Opening Ceremonies / Awards / Keynote Speech (Presenter)

Return to Full List of Presenters and Authors