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Modular Profile: Lisa Bella Donna

Electronic Sound Sorceress By William Stokes
Published April 2023

Modular Profile: Lisa Bella DonnaPhoto: Tristan Whitney Weary

Musician, sound designer, educator and all‑round electronic sound sorceress Lisa Bella Donna has built a reputation for herself as one of the most eminent synthesists anywhere. With upwards of 40 explorative releases to her name, she has run workshops at venues ranging from Superbooth in Berlin to the vaunted Berklee School Of Music in Boston, USA. She has also in recent years been welcomed into the inner fold of Moog Music Inc, with whom she has produced myriad demonstrations, recordings and detailed patchbooks, also crafting a range of rich presets for the company’s flagship Moog One.

On her entry into modular

I started in modular synthesis in the mid‑to‑late 1980s. I was a teenager and working at a commercial jingle studio. It was at that studio I had my first opportunity playing & patching an ARP and Moog synthesizer, which was truly an epiphany for me. I scraped and saved every penny and eventually bought a pair of ARP 2600s from a vintage synth dealer named SYNTHLOCATER in the back of Keyboard magazine. During this time, I purchased quite a few synths and modulars from him. I soon added an ARP 1601, an Oberheim DS‑2 sequencer, a Roland CR‑78, an ARP Odyssey, ARP Omni and Moog Prodigy.

A few years later I added a Prophet‑5, Roland System 100M, Roland CSQ‑600 sequencer, ARP String Ensemble and a borrowed, beat‑up...

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