Moog Theremini Theremin

Moog Music Responds to Theremini Feedback

Moog Music

If you've been following the discussion in our forums, some of our members have voiced critical opinions of the Moog Music's Theremini Theremin.  Moog Music, Inc. asked us to post this response from their President, Mike Adams:

Dear Theremin Community,

I understand that there are some of you that are disappointed with the most recent Theremin from Moog Music, the Theremini. Some of you feel that it does not advance the Theremin technology and that it may be a step in the wrong direction. I want to assure you that we are listening and we respect all of your opinions. 

In ten years time, the Theremini will have invited tens of thousands of people into the world of the Theremin. Equally as important in my eyes, the Theremini will introduce these customers to the engaging and diverse work of professional thereminists.

Just like with any mainstream instrument (guitar, drums, violin, etc.), there are starter instruments as well as professional instruments. Many never advance past their starter instrument, but some do and that is a direct result of the interaction and fulfillment they have with their introductory instrument. As with all introductory instruments, the Theremini is an opportunity to inspire a new generation of theremin enthusiasts.

Many of these young musicians will never advance their skill level to the point where they can play an Etherwave proficiently, which is okay. However, they will garner a greater appreciation for the theremin, its history, and the individuals that have developed their skills over the course of a lifetime. Some customers may enjoy playing their Theremini with a very high level of pitch correction for years. Others will master the Theremini and then seek the next challenge, which may be an Etherwave, a Burns, or even a custom built Theremin. Regardless, these new enthusiasts will benefit all the manufacturers and musicians that have worked for decades to bring the Theremin and its players to prominence.

Our hope is that more entry level thereminists will ultimately grow a market for new professional level Theremins. At which point, Moog and other manufacturers will look to fill that market with new products that are more appealing to professional Thereminists, such as yourselves. In order to achieve this goal the world needs more thereminists. The Theremini is one way to encourage this outcome.

I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read this. As with all Moog instruments, we will continue to improve the Theremini's playability and feature set over time based on user feedback. We have a 60 year legacy of designing and building theremins, and it is our responsibility to continue to develop the market for these instruments. We take this very seriously and greatly appreciate the passion of the Theremin community. As always, we will diligently and passionately continue our work on behalf of current and future thereminists.

Sincerely,

Mike Adams

President, Moog Music Inc.

Regardless of what you think about the Theremini, we hope you'll join the conversation in our forums or by posting comments below.

Most importantly, we very much appreciate Moog Music for listening to your collective feedback and responding to your concerns.

CIA Declassifies Article on Leon Theremin

CIA logo

Mother Jones magazine recently published a story about 250 declassified articles from an internal CIA magazine.  Among their 10 favorite articles was a real gem for theremin enthusiasts: an 11 page article on Leon Theremin.  The article reveals nothing we didn't already know, and it actually quotes Dr. Albert Glinsky's book as a source.

Unfortunately, even one of the most sophisticated intelligence agencies in the world mistakenly reported that the Beach Boys used a theremin in Good Vibrations. 

You can download the full article here.

A big thanks to Rob Schwimmer for posting about this on Levnet!

Support Carolina and Christopher's new album - only 9 days left!

In October 2014, Carolina Eyck and Christopher Tarnow will record a CD with chamber music for theremin and piano in Leipzig, Germany. On the album, there will be two Sonatas by Christopher amongst other premiere recordings for their duo. To make this album, Carolina and Christopher need help. To support the musicians, you can visit their crowd funding page! You can order the album in advance, buy sheet music and cool t-shirts or book a theremin lesson with Carolina and Christopher.

https://www.startnext.de/en/carolinaeyckchristophertarnow

From now on Carolina and Christopher will post a series of funny videos directly from their rehearsal room to encourage more people to put in their support into this unique project. With only 9 days left they still need some additional contributions to make this CD become reality.

Guest Post: Savannah Theremin Summit

TW: Philip Neidlinger (a.k.a hypergolic) recently performed in a multi-Thereminist event in Savannah, GA. He shares a summary and his thoughts on the event with us below.  The amazing theremin you see him using in the video is his home-built vacuum tube model based on designs from Mark Keppinger.


The Savannah Theremin Summit was a rousing success despite technical difficulties. I was very honored that Dan Burns (Burns Theremins) and Joe Machos took time and traveled for hours from their respective homes to attend the performance.

The show started off in Round Robin format with me leading off. Ricardo Ochoa and Richard Leo Johnson were next, followed by Melissa Hagerty. We did three round robins followed by two combination pieces with all of us (always a difficult thing).

Audience attendance was way down from expectations due to weather, but I estimate about 100 in attendance.

I started off with "Shot in the Dark" by Mancini. This piece is wonderful to show off the theremin. I hammered it. The audience erupted in applause afterward.

Next was "American the Beautiful" and "Les Berceaux" by Faure. Again, wonderful response and did well.

Last in the Round Robin was "Old Feather Blues" by M. Tempia. This is usually my best piece. However, my keyboard guy and I had a disjoint. I thought I was supposed to follow him, and vice versa. This one fell apart about 2/3's way through, but we picked up and finished. Being self-critical the way I am, I was disappointed, but everyone else was complimentary. I think Peter's observation about audiences and theremins is true.

The other musicians did very well. Richard Leo Johnson has a custom Martin guitar with an integral Etherwave circuit board. This is truly an interesting artifact. Richard has the guitar on loan from Martin's museum and must eventually return it since it is a "one of a kind" item.

Melissa has a wonderful singing voice, almost angelic. She used her Etherwave and Moog Theremini.

Ricardo Ochoa is an accomplished violinist. His band, Velvet Caravan, was voted the best jazz band in Savannah recently. His keyboard guru, Jared, volunteered to accompany me. Ricardo and Richard performed some wonderful guitar/theremin/violin pieces during their parts of the Round Robin.

I had cordial and enjoyable conversations with Dan Burns and Joe Machos both prior and afterwards. Each got to try out Gabriella. Again, I am truly honored they took time out of their busy schedules to come down.

After the show was over, I spent at least an hour and a half demo'ing Gabs and letting folks try her out. I really enjoy doing this.

I wore a purple Alzheimer's Awareness ribbon in honor of my longtime friend Andy Blackburn, who was diagnosed with this illness in his late 50's.

Any complicated performance like this is bound to have issues, and this one had plenty. However, all in all it was very enjoyable for us and the audience. The museum director, Tony Pizzo, was gushing with appreciation and very complimentary. There will likely not be another summit for many years, per the museums policy of not repeating acts. Due to my packing the house almost 5 years ago is the only reason Tony contacted all of us for a double dose of theremin brain stimulation.

One final thought…."Shot in the Dark" is a brilliant piece for the theremin. Try it!

Video of the entire event will be available in the near future.

Dorit Chrysler Teases New Theremin Kiosk Project

Dorit Chrysler

In her email newsletter, Dorit Chrysler announced that the NY Theremin Society has received a grant from Thomas Campbell Jackson to develop a prototype "Theremin Kiosk" that could be networked with others around the world to create a virtual theremin orchestra.  Chrysler will coordinate development of the project during a residency at Pioneer Works, an arts and innovation center in Brooklyn, NY.

We'll post more details as they become available.