Ethermusic 2005 - Day 2

Posted: 8/6/2005 2:29:40 AM

From: Hillsborough, NC (USA)

Joined: 2/13/2005

Wow... what a day! After staying up WAY too late hanging out with Pamelia, Paul, Albert, Lydia, and George last night, getting up early was HARD! Anyway, we had a great day at the Orange Peel. I started off the morning by moderating a panel with Herbert Deutch, Albert Glinsky, Lydia Kavina, and Pamelia Kurstin. We had a great conversation, and although I went into the segment wondering how I was going to keep the discussion going for an entire hour, I found myself so wrapped up in it that we could have easily talked for 3 or 4 more!

Our chat centered around a few key topics: how the accessibility of the theremin in recent years has enabled new people to discover it, the need for instructors so people learn what can be done with a theremin, the need for general information about the theremin to be available on sites like ours, and finally, the need for new music to be composed for the theremin.

I think Pamelia summed it up best when asked what advice she'd give to beginning thereminists: "you can be an innovator". Albert also touched on the fact that the theremin is such a personal instrument that composing for it really means composing for the performer as well.

After the panel, we listened to recordings of the 5 finalist pieces in the theremin composition contest. I was blown away by the professionalism, creativity, and orchestration in each one! It's funny, because while I'm fairly tapped into the theremin community, occassionally something like this will happen that makes you realize the theremin is SO much bigger than you knew and that SO many creative people are working very hard with it.

Yesterday, Lydia Kavina asked me if I would perform Jorge Campos' "Glissandi" with her on stage today. I had performed it with her in Portland, Maine at the 1997 festival, and again in Seattle a few years ago for a Russian music festival... so why not? Then today, Lesley from the Orange Peel asked if I would MC the event tonight! Talk about being in theremin hog heaven! A captive audience bent on my every word and a chance to play on stage with 3 of the best thereminists in the world (Wilco Botermans and Barbara Buchholz also joined us) - sign me up!

So we rehearsed, and then I rehearsed a bunch more, and finally it was time for the Moog documentary film to be shown. By now, I needed to get some fresh air and relax, so I ended up walking all over downtown Asheville with Pamelia talking about all sorts of things. We went in search of Bob Moog's daughter's shop, but we never quite found it.

So, we got back to the Orange Peel just as the documentary was ending and just in time for the open mic event. Only Jon Bernhart of The Lothars stepped up to perform, but after his set, I'm sure everyone else was too intimidated to even try! He wowed us first with a great rendition of Kermit the Frog's, "Rainbow Connection". Then, he followed up by playing "Video Killed the Radio Star" and holy cow... he brought down the house!! He clicked back and forth with various effects seamlessly throughout the piece and was spot-on pitch perfect the entire time! I caught his second song on video and will share it out as soon as I get it transfered to my computer at home.

I also had an opportunity to spend about 30 minutes with Lydia's husband, George Pavlov as he gave me an "underground" tour of the tVox Tour theremin. I filmed the whole thing, so you'll see it linked from our theremin gallery soon enough :) It's a marvelous instrument, designed frmo the ground up with the traveling professional thereminist in mind. He put a lot of design work and practicality into this model, which is unfortunately not in production today.

Between the open mic and the concerts tonight, I spent a lot of time in the "Moog Gallery", where they had set up an Etherwave Pro and a Moog Voyager (along with several Moogerfooger pedals and I believe a rack-mount version of the Voyager). What a fun
Posted: 8/8/2005 5:05:30 PM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Man how I wish I could have been there.
"" the need for instructors so people learn what can be done with a theremin, the need for general information about the theremin ""
Sounds like that first panel touched on something I've been thinking about a lot!

Here's some of my recent thougths on books:
"" I have to profess there's a need for theremin technique books in English.

On my "heavy days" I use my own fingering along with the Masami Takeuchi exercises.
We may differ in fingering but his pedagogy, exercises and illustrations are very solid and useful, even though I cannot read the Japanese text, oh how I wish I could. I'm sure there's a million great tidbits in that book.

It would be so wonderful if the disciples of Rockmore could write such books to flesh out the video experience. There's the Sexton book and he has fantastic advice, but his core wing technique and starting with scalar exercises didn't work for me. We need English language methods in print as well as video. I hope the masters out there have the Masami Takeuchi book with it's CD and find it in themselves someday to publish their own primers... someday. ""

Hope no one is offended, but printed methods have helped me learn every instrument I've ever played. I'm so happy this came up at the larger forum in Ashville.

Thanks so much Jason for keeping and posting your notes!

- John
Posted: 8/8/2005 8:55:28 PM

From: Hillsborough, NC (USA)

Joined: 2/13/2005

Carolina Eyck is planning a theremin technique book release this fall. According to her website, it'll be available in both German and English. I'm not too familiar with her technique, so I'll be very curious to read it.
Posted: 8/9/2005 4:21:39 AM
Charlie D

From: England

Joined: 2/28/2005

That's fantastic considering I stole her technique, and I don't read German. I'll definetely buy it if it becomes available. Carolina Eyck and her SERVI people seem quite odd; most people are unable to contact them or get any information about her.

She also plans to begin giving masterclasses across Europe, if I am correct.
Posted: 8/9/2005 8:51:04 AM

From: Hillsborough, NC (USA)

Joined: 2/13/2005

I've learned that SERVI is apparently owned (or something to that degree) by Carolina's father. I don't know why they're so hard to contact. I inquired about the availability of the English text a few months ago and got a very quick reply. I'll try following up to see if we can get an updated date for the book release.
Posted: 8/9/2005 10:24:31 AM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

I signed up for a notification and info. on Carolina Eyck's book too and never heard a peep. Recent attempts to get info from them failed as well. The site hasn't changed and as I recall even has a runtime error in it that's never been fixed, that makes me think it's a dead site and maybe the book is on hold?

If anyone ever hears of an Engligh edition of Masami Takeuchi's book I'd jump at that too.

Posted: 8/9/2005 10:44:58 AM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

I've heard and met Armen Ra here in NY and became a fan, he even visited our house during a Mexican holiday party year before last and we had a nice chat about his playing the theremin.

He's a charming performer and I'm so happy he was featured at the Ethermusic Festival. Are there any pictures of his performance?

Unfortunately I missed his performance of Middle Eastern music on the theremin, I saw the news too late, but heard it was awesome. He's one of the unique voices out there expanding theremin rep. Let's keep an eye out for more from him!
Posted: 8/9/2005 4:23:25 PM

From: Winston-Salem, NC

Joined: 6/30/2005

I'll have one or two shots of Armen's performance plus some video on my website when I get it set up.

I'll let Jason know when it's ready.
Posted: 8/9/2005 4:41:29 PM

From: Greenville, NC

Joined: 6/21/2005

i got to ethermusic just in time to see the concerts this night.
armen ra was amazing, and a incredibly nice person. the smoke machine and lights definatley added to the atmosphere, it was great.
lydia's set was absolutely fantastic. i think the highlight for me was bach's air with three theremins...although every piece she performed was great.
it was good to see jason up there too! that ethervox definatley stands out from the rest!

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