Articles / Miscellaneous

Happy Birthday Clara Rockmore!

Clara Rockmore Recording
Photo S.J.Sherman
Today would have been Clara Rockmore's 98th birthday. She was born Clara Reisenberg, in Vilnius, Lithuania, and left us in 1998, we miss her dearly and thereminists around the world still benefit from her legacy.

Clara Rockmore in Tradition Costume
Clara in a Traditional Costume

Many of us were introduced to Clara Rockmore by the 1991 documentary, Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey. The film depicts the history changing meeting (and later reunion) of Clara and Lev Termen (Leon Theremin), we see brief clips of Clara's 18th birthday party where she enjoys a magical rotating birthday cake made for her by The Inventor.

Clara and Leon 1929
Clara and Lev on her birthday (from a home movie)

Clara was a strong proponent of the use of the theremin for classical music. Her recordings continue astound and inspire listeners today.

Fortunately for theremin players everywhere, Clara also left behind a video interview, recorded in 1976 (available from Moog Music) featuring her sister Nadia Reisenberg performing with her, and a theremin method book. In 2004 the Nadia Reisenberg/Clara Rockmore Foundation was established to promote and continue the work of these remarkable sister virtuosas.

As you're practicing today, take a moment to remember Clara and her mastery and dedication to the instrument we all love.