Tara Rodgers holds a unique place among electronic music makers and scholars, generating a wide-ranging body of work that has touched multiple scholarly fields and creative communities around the world. As a multi-instrumentalist composer, producer, and mix engineer, she works across genres, including jazz piano-based experimentalism, electroacoustic and computer music, sound installation art, and electronic dance music.
Her music (as Analog Tara) is described as “regal and atmospheric” (Resident Advisor) and “assertive work, bold in the precision and subtlety it takes to mix such signals with thrill and grace and restraint” (NPR Music). Her book, Pink Noises: Women on Electronic Music and Sound (Duke University Press, 2010), is recognized as “an absolutely singular undertaking which has staked a claim to changing the ways we think about electronic music” (Cycling ’74).
The book grew out of the Pinknoises.com website Tara founded in 2000, which predated social media platforms and was one of the first online communities to connect women making electronic music. The book and website have been reviewed in at least eight scholarly journals, and two dozen magazines and blogs ranging from Bookforum, Billboard, and Women’s Wear Daily to The Onion AV Club. Pink Noises is routinely taught in university music courses and has sparked countless creative offshoots. It has been distributed in toolkits that teach young people about music technology through a program at Lancaster University in the UK, cited as a shared resource among electronic music producers in eastern Cuba and at a community-based recording studio in Pittsburgh, and honored by kindred events that borrow its name from Seattle to Sicily to Warsaw.
As a historian and multidisciplinary scholar, Rodgers has also published essays in volumes that are central to contemporary studies of music, sound, technology, and culture: The Sound Studies Reader; Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music; Keywords in Sound; The Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities; Electronica, Dance and Club Music in The Library of Essays on Popular Music; and special issues on sound for the journals American Quarterly and differences: a Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies. From 2012-20, she served on the editorial board of Leonardo Music Journal (MIT Press) and contributed writing and curating there. Her essays and interviews have been translated into multiple languages. In keynotes and public lectures at festivals such as MUTEK and Ableton Loop, she is known to be a thoughtful critic of the politics of electronic music history and a passionate advocate for the arts and social justice. She has taught at Dartmouth College, the University of Maryland, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Rodgers’s work has been presented at the Tate Modern (London), the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (Toronto), Eyebeam (NYC), in remixes for the bands Beauty Pill and Le Tigre, in projects by the dance and performance artists Thomas F. DeFrantz, Sharon Mansur, and Praba Pilar, and in many other forums. The Tara Rodgers/Pink Noises Archive is part of the Riot Grrrl Collection at NYU Fales Library. Awards and honors include a Webby Award Nomination for Best Music Website (2003), New Genre Composition Prize from the International Alliance for Women in Music (2006), Frog Peak Experimental Music Prize (2006), Canada-U.S. Fulbright Scholarship (2006-07), IAWM Pauline Alderman Book Award (2011), and Washington Area Music Award Nomination for Best Electronic/Techno Artist (2019).
A lifelong self-taught musician and recordist who grew up listening to jazz and influenced by the music of family friend and pianist Dave McKenna, Rodgers also earned an AB with Honors in American Studies at Brown, an MFA in Electronic Music & Recording Media in the storied experimental music department at Mills College, and a PhD in Communication Studies at McGill University. She is originally from upstate New York and now based in the Washington, DC area.
Dr. Tara Rodgers (Analog Tara) is a multi-instrumentalist composer and historian of electronic music. She is the author of Pink Noises: Women on Electronic Music and Sound (2010) and numerous essays on the history of sound and synthesizers. Her music, from analog techno to generative sound installations made with SuperCollider, has been presented around the U.S. and internationally.