Clara Rockmore and the Theremin

May 10, 2008 is the 10th anniversary of Clara Rockmore’s death. She is considered to be the finest thereminist that ever lived.

The instrument has been marginalized as a novelty. Partly because of its use in cheesy 1950’s sci-fi movies, but mostly because it is nearly impossible to play well.

Back in the 1920’s though, the theremin was at the forefront of the electronic music movement. Its diva was Clara Rockmore.

I have been trying to learn this instrument for the past 8 months. My friend Warner Crocker shot an impromptu video of me demonstrating the theremin a few weeks after I got it. I was about to use it in an original show by our music director, Steve Przybylski.

Clara might not be a household name, but she was a true artist whose contributions to contemporary music should be noted.

Theremin World


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