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The Theremin Journey of Eric Ross

Photo of thereminist Eric Ross at Casada Musica, Oporto Portugal.

Eric Ross is a composer, performer, multi-instrumentalist, and theremin player. He has written countless scores in his long career, including many pages of original music for the theremin. He has presented rich multimedia performances worldwide, mixing music, video, and computer art and dance. And he has released several recordings. In this interview, Eric tells us about his long musical journey.

The “Switched-On Bach” Story

Wendy (Walter) Carlos at her Moog synthesizer.

A 1969 article telling the story of Wendy Carlos’ “Switched-On Bach” seminal album. A collection of pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach performed on the Moog modular synthesizer, “Switched-On Bach” legitimized the electronic synthesizer as a real musical instrument and changed forever the public perception of electronic music, showing that it could be something very different from ” the academy approved ‘ugly’ music, “as Carlos put it.

Lydia Kavina: The Theremin Yesterday And Today

Theremin Virtuosa Lydia Kavina in Chile

Lydia Kavina is one of the greatest thereminists of all time. The last protégé of Léon Theremin, she started studying the theremin at the age of nine. She played a fundamental role in the so-called “renaissance of the theremin,” performing all over the world, making recordings, participating in film soundtracks, writing original music for theremin, and teaching the instrument to new generations of thereminists. I had the pleasure of exchanging a few words with her.

Zenaide Hanenfeldt: The Scion of Imperial Russia That Became a Theremin Diva

Thereminist Zenaide Hanenfeldt and Leon Theremin.

Zenaide Hanenfeldt was one of Leon Theremin’s first associates in the United States. She played a leading role, from 1929 to 1934, in the American adventure of Leon Theremin, appearing in some of the most important theremin events of the period and experiencing a brief period of intense and ephemeral celebrity as a theremin diva. Later, she almost disappeared into oblivion, confined to stingy annotations in the history of the theremin. Let’s find out a little more about her.

Bohuslav Martinů and Lucie Rosen: the Path to Fantasia for Theremin

Bohuslav Martinů and Lucie Rosen in New York.

Although Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů does not enjoy the same fame as other composers of the same period, he certainly has a prominent place in twentieth-century music. He is also well known by theremin enthusiasts thanks to Fantasia for theremin, oboe, piano, and string quartet, the composition commissioned to him in 1944 by Lucie Bigelow Rosen. Let’s try to understand a little more about him and follow the path that led him from a Moravian village to Manhattan, where the fortuitous meeting took place.