Clara Rockmore and the Theremin

A couple of weeks ago, I put a recording on the radio of Dvorak's Humoresque – as played on the theremin by the great Clara Rockmore

A few WXXI listeners wrote in to comment about the recording, including Dave, who wrote: “I'd like to see it in action to better appreciate the technique & coordination - all the details.” I'm posting my response here too for anyone else who might be interested.

Here is Clara Rockmore (with her sister, pianist Nadia Reisenberg) playing “The Swan” by Camille Saint-Saens on the Theremin:


For more theremin-in-action viewing, check out this video of the instrument's inventor, Leon Theremin:



Several sites are dedicated to this voice-like electronic instrument, including Theremin World and Thereminvox ("Art, Technology, Gesture").


To read more about theremin virtuoso Clara Rockmore, for whom Leon Theremin built her own custom instrument, take some time to wander around this website from the Nadia Reisenberg & Clara Rockmore Foundation. There is also a research collection dedicated to Rockmore, including correspondance, musical scores, and photos at the performing arts library at the University of Maryland.


Finally, here's the album that was on the radio and prompted this post: Clara Rockmore's Lost Theremin Album.