Articles / Miscellaneous

Touch! Don't Touch!


New Music

Live projection

Lydia Kavina and Barbara Buchholz

Lydia Kavina Theremin
Barbara Buchholz Theremin

Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin:
Tobias Rempe Violin
Cosima Gerhardt Violoncello
Heather O’Donnell Piano
Dirk Rothbrust Percussion

Pedda Borowski Overhead projection

Compositions by Olga Bochihina, Moritz Eggert, Johannes Hildebrand, Michael Hirsch, Juliane Klein, Vladimir Nikolaev, Iraida Usupova, Nicolaus Richter de Vroe, Caspar Johannes Walter

Sponsored by: Kunststiftung NRW, Deutscher Musikrat, Deutschlandfunk

The theremin is the only instrument that is made to sound without being touched. The hands of the performer dance in the air, whereas traditional musical instruments are made to sound by blowing, bowing, plucking or striking. Invented by the Russian Lev Theremin in the 1920s, the theremin fell into oblivion for decades, one of the reasons being that only few compositions were written for this instrument.

In TOUCH! DON’T TOUCH! Barbara Buchholz and Lydia Kavina resume the thread of the history of the theremin with the help of new compositions and interactive projection.

Five German and four Russian composers were commissioned to write pieces for two theremins and instrumental ensemble. The cooperation project of these composers places special emphasis on exploration and experiment, based on the possibilities of the instrument the playing techniques of which cannot revert to prior tradition yet. 'Forget everything that you may have heard about the theremin up to now, what it can do and what it cannot do. There is no limit, everything is possible.'

The multimedia project TOUCH! DON’T TOUCH! means communication and integration of dualisms. Electronics correspond with acoustics, cooperation projects of Western and Eastern artists create new perspectives for a rediscovered instrument. In correspondence with the ensemble, the painter pedda Borowski creates unique works of art, using overhead projectors: Musicians turn into projection areas, movements transform into sight and sound. TOUCH! DON’T TOUCH! is a special form of artistic communication, an experience for the ears and the eyes.

CD release TOUCH! DON’T TOUCH! 2006: WERGO in association with the Deutschlandfunk

World premiere: 30.3.05, 7.30 pm
Opening concert of the Weimar Spring Days of Contemporary Music, youth and arts centre 'mon ami'

Other performances: 29.6.05 Bielefeld, Alarmtheater, organized by Cooperativa Neue Musik
1.10.05 Brussels, Europalia Russia Project

Lydia Kavina learnt to play the theremin from her great-uncle Lev Theremin. Since 1981 she has made many concert appearances worldwide, such as with the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, in the opera 'Baehllams Fest' by Olga Neuwirth and in the musicals 'Alice' and 'Black Rider' by Tom Waits. Kavina finished her composition studies at the Tchaikovsky Conservatoire in Moscow where she gives theremin lessons at the Theremin Centre today.

Solo CDs: Music from the Ether, Lydia Kavina: concerto per theremin, live in Italy.
Videos: Mastering the Theremin

Barbara Buchholz studied flute, guitar, bass and singing. Since the early 1980s Barbara Buchholz has participated in many interdisciplinary projects and has worked in the field of theatre music as instrumentalist, performer and composer. Her productions TAP IT DEEP-'MIDI-fied' tap