I’m here in no small part due to PASS.
Back in the 70s, when I was in high school, a friend had built a PAIA synth from kit. Being into math and electronics, I was fascinated and borrowed it for a week. While it was janky and never stayed in tune, and was very limited, but it made me want to know more.
Shortly after, I found out about PASS. I went there after school, and was wide eyed: A big loft space in an old industrial building (filled with printing shops - the lobby and elevator reeked of ink). Wooden floors and about half a dozen large modular setups: Buchlas, Moog, and a few assorted tape decks, delay lines and reverbs, etc.
I rented a few hours on my own and explored a bit. Then they offered a composition course. I convinced my parents that if I were asking for Piano lessons they’d pay, and it would cost more… so they funded my taking the class.
I’ll never forget the first assignment: “Think about what makes something a piece of music, not just a sound.” In the second class, the five or so students sat around in a circle discussing our answers. The instructor never took a position on the question, and that openness - to music, to interpretation, to sound - has stuck with me ever since.
For the next assignment, I remember making source material with two very cheap cassette decks in my bedroom - recording the tape & room noise back and forth for multiple generations - then running that tape through a simple filter and reverb back at PASS, played by hand.
That course, and the time I rented at PASS afterward, gave me the background and confidence a year later when I walked into Ivan Tcherepnin’s electronic music studio and asked if I could sign up for time to use it after class hours. And without that, I wouldn’t here.
P.S.: I wish I knew who taught that class. I think it was Fall of 1979, but could have been a year earlier or later.