Cinema Arts Program to Celebrate 100th Anniversary of Theremin

Do you love the theme music for the long-running British TV series Midsomer Murders? Or Good Vibrations, by the Beach Boys? If so, then the Cinema Arts Centre‘s Oct. 16 program may be for you.

The center will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the invention of the theremin, which  provides an eerie sound without physical contact with the instrument. The program will include a film and live performance.

 The theremin was invented in Russia in 1920 by Leon Theremin. The thereminist moves his or her hands in the proximity of two metal antennas, creating its eerie and haunting sound. The theremin is featured in the soundtracks of classic films like The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) and in modern favorites like Ghostbusters (1984) and Hellboy (2004).

The center will present the documentary film, Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey, which will be followed by a live performance by Rob Schwimmer, one of the world’s premiere theremin players. The performance will then be followed by a discussion with Rob and led by musicologist Olivia Mattis.

Synopsis of the film: Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey tells the story of the Russian inventor who, after 11 years in New York, is escorted back to Russia by the KGB and made to work on surveillance technologies. He disappeared behind the Iron Curtain for 51 years, until suddenly re-emerging in 1989.  During his absence, the theremin became a popular instrument, featured in the scores of films like “ Spellbound,” “The Day The Earth Stood Still,” and “The Lost Weekend.”

Rob Schwimmer (theremin) is a composer-pianist/keyboardist, thereminist, and Haken Continuum player. As a world class thereminist, Schwimmer has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, in The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Former co-director and founding member of the New York Theremin Society, his credits as theremin soloist include Simon & Garfunkel’s world tours, the Boston Pops, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Bobby McFerrin at Carnegie Hall and Gotye’s Ondioline Orchestra.

Olivia Mattis is a musicologist with degrees from Stanford and Yale Universities. She was the first to conduct an interview with Leon Theremin when he came out of Soviet seclusion in 1989 after 51 years of state confinement. She organized the First International Theremin Festival (Portland, ME) and the first MoogFest (Buffalo and Rochester, NY).  Her vintage RCA theremin instrument is now in the musical instrument collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Her interview with Theremin was published in Keyboard magazine

Tickets for the program are $12 for Cinema Arts Centre Members, and $17 for nonmembers. The program begins at 7:30 p.m.



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