Laurie Spiegel was born in Chicago (September 20, 1945) where in her teens she played guitar, banjo, and mandolin, and through them cultivated a devout philosophy of amateur music making. After receiving a degree in the social sciences, she returned to music. Having taught herself notation, she studied classic guitar and composition privately in London with John W. Duarte
, then baroque and renaissance lute at Julliard, and composition with Jacob Druckman
(who later took her as an assistant) and Vincent Persichetti
. She also names Michael Czajkowski
, Hall Overton
, Max Mathews
, and Emmanuel Ghent
as important teachers. Having worked with analog synthesizers since 1969, she sought out the greater compositional control which digital computers could provide and wrote interactive compositional software at Bell Labs from 1973-79. She later founded New York University's Computer Music Studio, and became famous in rock music circles for her music software for personal computers, especially MusicMouse.