The theremin is the most renowned creature of the Russian engineer Leo Theremin. This musical instrument immortalized the name of its deginer. Leo Theremin had both musical and technical education. He invented the theory of operation for this electronic musical instrument in the first decades of the 20th century, soon after the October Revolution.
Immediately after its birth the theremin started to draw attention of all kinds of people, from politicians and musicians to music fans and radio amateurs. The theremin is popular these days, too, and you can hear its distinctive sound on many albums and see thereminists perform in concerts. The theremin is used in various musical genres. On this page I have gathered some video clips to showcase the most famous musicians who play theremin.
Clara Rockmore: Camille Saint-Saens “The Swan”
Clara Rockmore was a theremin pioneer and virtuoso (someone even called her “Jimi Hendrix of theremin”). She was the first Western musician who mastered the theremin. Her playing style is amazing and full of expression. It took about 7 years for her to master her style. She played with New York Symphonic Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski. Clara Rockmore also worked with Leo Theremin as a musician helping him to improve his earlier models. Clara’s playing style is often referred to by many modern thereminists.
Pamelia Kurstin said she had no plans to become a theremin player. She has a serious music background as a violin, cello, and double bass player. Pamelia played in jazz bands, but in 1997 she came across the documentary featuring Clara Rockmore and became interested in the theremin. She tried to play it and liked its sound because of its similarity to violin. Pamelia was lucky enough to meet Clara Rockmore and Bob Moog in person, and this meeting was to become a milestone in her musical career.
Lydia Kavina: Debussy “Claire de Lune”
Claude Debussy wrote his Claire de Lune for violin and piano. This composition is played on the theremin by Lydia Kavina, a renowned Russian thereminist.
Jean Michel Jarre: “Oxygene 3” played live in Barcelona, April 21, 2008
Jean Michel Jarre plays the theremin live when performing Oxygene, his electronic music suite which made him a world-renowned composer.
Without Touch 2.0! – Theremin Festival 2008:
The European festival of thereminists, Without Touch 2.0!, took place in September 12 — 14, 2008 in Lippstadt in the north of Germany. Lydia Kavina (Russia), Barbara Buchholz (Germany), Carolina Eyck (Germany), and Wilco Botermans (The Netherlands) performed and taught theremin at Conrad-Hansen-Musikschule.
Carolina Eyck: Sting “Fragile”
Barbara Buchholz: music performance in Sokolniki (Moscow, 2006)
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