Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Clara Rockmore

She was without peer as a performer in the early decades of the theremin's use. While many listeners have heard the theremin played poorly or used mostly as a spooky special-effects device, Clara used it to perform classical works.  Under her control, the theremin sounded like the blend of the cello, violin and human voice.

Clara Rockmore & Léon Theremin c. 1991

letter from Clara to Léon, c. 1975 

"The young generation today is very interested in electronics, and even though "our" instrument is one of the very first ones, it is still the most beautiful in terms of sound, and the most magical, because it is the only one that is space- controlled. Now that we are sending people to the moon, I have no doubt that there will be a renewed interest in the instrument from which one extracts the sound with hand motions in the air. Last week, I was invited to do a radio interview, where I answered various questions about the theremin. Of course I spoke about you, your work, and about how the new generation may become acquainted with "space" music. I think that in the near future, it would be very desirable to attract the interest of a fresh young public to your instrument, and I will do everything possible to make it happen."

Clara Rockmore 
March 9, 1911 - May 10 1998 

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