Thomas Dolby’s enthusiasm is contagious. The head of the Peabody Conservatory’s cutting-edge Music for New Media program sees endless potential in a burgeoning industry for talented young composers interested in writing for film, TV, gaming and VR/AR. “This area is absolutely exploding with possibilities,” says Dolby, “and during this Covid-19 pandemic, there’s never been a more urgent time to invent new ways to share digital music. At Peabody, students can develop the skills they’ll need to capitalize on the tremendous opportunities in this field.”
Dolby’s career has long been at the leading edge of tech and music. As an early MTV icon he blazed a trail for electronic music. When Silicon Valley was young, Dolby founded Beatnik Inc. and co-created the code that drove interactive audio in Java. It was his BAE technology that allowed mobile phones to play polyphonic ringtones.
He has created original music for feature films produced by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, and computer games including Siberia, Grand Theft Auto and Double Switch. His self-penned “She Blinded Me With Science” was a Top 5 Billboard hit in the 1980s and still pops up in shows including The Big Bang Theory and Breaking Bad. Before launching the Music for New Media program at Peabody in 2018, Dolby was named Johns Hopkins University Homewood Professor of the Arts.