Out of the Air is an opera based on the life of Leon (Lev) Theremin. Three pieces have been written and performed, the remaining opera is in progress and will be tracked in a blog. The premier of the Overature and two arias took place at the U3 Festival 2005, performed by the Duquesne University Contemporary Ensemble under the direction of David Stock, with solos performed by Guenko Guechev and Xiu-Ru Lin. Theremin played by Andrew Vernon, a former student who now works at Pixar as an assistant sound engineer.
Overature – Out of the Air
Terrible Things – the moment when Theremin discovers that his electronic instruments have been smashed and destroyed on orders of the Director of the Moscow Conservatory of Music.
But A Dream – the moment when Lev Theremin and Clara Rockmore are reunited as friends, in New York, towards the end of their lives.
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Was that a voice with the undulating vibrato sound? It sounded like my grandpa playing his saw many many years ago……………..brought me back! And, to have a student end up in such a wonderful place, how fulfilling that would be.
That’s the theremin (named after its inventor Leon Theremin). It was used in a lot of movie soundtracks (the original “Day the Earth Stood Still”) as well as pop songs (“The Lion Sleeps Tonight”) In a way, it is similar to the musical saw because of the sliding pitch, but it is electronic in construction.