Wednesday, March 24, 2010

beverly grigsby -- my honoree for ada lovelace day

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

My honoree this year (my 2nd year of participation, and the 2nd year of the event), is Beverly Grigsby. Read Beverly's bio by Jeannie Pool, her fellow member of  IAWM, the International Alliance of Women in Music.

When Ada Lovelace suggested that Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine “might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent,” she prefigured the works of Beverly Grigsby, who is known not only for her original compositions but also for her uncanny ability to replicate and stretch or shrink tiny segments of orchestral music and patch them seamlessly into film scores.

Sometime during the 80s, I asked Beverly to speak at a meeting of the L.A. Chapter of Association for Women in Computing (AWC). Naturally, she knocked everyone's socks off with her music and her technical savvy, but the "just for fun" anecdote that has stayed with me ever since was her telling about her pride in her flawless manicure. As a traditional pianist, she had had to keep her nails short, but the midi keyboard's gentle touch allowed her to maintain a fashionable set of long, bright red nails. "Look at these nails, girls!" Beverly said. "And remember, I'm 60, not 30!"

If Ada Lovelace had not died at age 36, I like to think that in her 60's and beyond she'd have been very much like Beverly Grigsby: glamorous, gregarious, productive -- a 'technoid' beyond stereotypes.

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POSToccupations by Frances Talbott-White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License