THERAMIN: AN ELECTRONIC ODYSSEY — with talk and Q&A by composer and MIT Professor of Music and Media Tod Machover and performance by orchestral thereminist Dalit Hadass Warshaw :: January 19, 2009; 7:00 pm :: Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA.
Leon Theremin made music as strange as the life he lived. In 1918, using newly discovered vacuum-tube technology, the Russian-born scientist invented a musical instrument unlike any the world had seen before: one that utilizes electronic oscillation to produce its sound and is played entirely without human contact. Theremin toured the United States and Europe giving public recitals, and became the toast of New York City’s artists and intellectuals during the roaring ’20s, rubbing elbows with such luminaries as Albert Einstein and Dwight D. Eisenhower. But in 1938, at the height of his promising career in the U.S., Theremin mysteriously disappeared. Decades later, it was discovered he had been abducted by KGB agents and interred in a Russian prison camp to be “rehabilitated.” Later, Theremin even developed pioneering spy technology for Stalin’s regime during the Cold War.
Over the years, the ethereal, otherworldly sounds of the theremin became the backdrop to scores of science fiction and horror films (particularly in the ’50s), and have inspired numerous musicians, from the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson to synthesizer pioneer Robert Moog. Director Steven Martin’s documentary, THEREMIN: AN ELECTRONIC ODYSSEY, deftly explores the remarkable story of Theremin the man, and traces the lasting influence of his work. (1994, 1h23m). For more details, visit the Coolidge website or call 617/734-2500.