Natasha Theremin

Natalia  Theremin

Daughter and heir of Leon Theremin.
Thereminist – performer of classical and contemporary classical music.
Since the late 1970s, together with her father, Leon Theremin worked on the development of the theremin as a musical instrument – (playing technique and the necessary technical improvements) 1980 Leon and Natalia Theremin – joint visits and performance on theremin in Moscow, Leningrad, Kazan, Villnyuse, Tallinn, participated in the filming of documentaries. 1990 Leon and Natalia Theremin – joint visits, performance on theremin – France – (1989), Sweden (1990), USA (1991), The Netherlands (1993).

Natalia Theremin demonstrated the instrument of her father at Bourges International Festival of Electronic Music (France, 1989), Stockholm Electronic Music Festival (Sweden, 1990), in a concert dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Stanford University (in collaboration with electronic music pioneer Max Mathews), performed on theremin in New York University, the University of Berkeley (USA, 1991), Academy of Light (The Netherlands, The Hague, 1993), Japan ( 2015)

Author of unique performing technique of theremin, co-organizer of the international festival of theremin-culture “Thereminology” , curator of the Russian Theremin School

Chairperson in St.Petersburg Theremin Society

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What prompted you to take theremin?

My father – Leon Theremin. Theremin is integral, organic part of my family. Dad used to play the instrument at home, gave the performances on theremin in public, my sister and I often accompanied him on piano ,  father’s theremin students visited our flat ,  dad was making  theremins at home, since childhood I remember the smell of rosin and sounds of theremin.
Dad was very serious about our music education and has done a lot to be ensure that  my sister and I had the opportunity to study on very good level the piano technique and the art of performing .
Our musical culture and our success was very important thing for my father. Dad always very happy for my musical achievements, we often visited with my dad  the concerts at the Moscow Conservatory, the whole atmosphere of my childhood and adolescence was as the proem for our cooperation with my father. I started to work with theremin after i finished my education  at the Musical Colledge of the Moscow Conservatory and the Academy. Gnesin.
Our views with my father for this time has coincided, as we both understood that the simple playing the different music on theremin does not mean  the masterful possession  of  the theremin art.   The masterful possession  of  the theremin art  is the opportunity for theremin to become the part of musical culture , the possibilities to the theremin to take an equal place among the classical acoustic instruments. It is a difficult task, which required and requires from me first of all, the constant work on the sound and finding the right technical solutions. I came to the theremin consciously, and I am very grateful to my father  – he very subtly let me down to serious work with the theremin.
What were your first impressions when you heard the sound of the theremin, and where did it happen?

I do not remember, but it’s all the same to ask me when I first saw the sun.

What is your musical philosophy and what place it occupies theremin?

For me it is obvious the influence of music on the global harmony as a whole and on the human society in particular. Music is inextricably linked to the human psyche, thinking, ethics, morals. Music – it’s not only a good knowledge of the basics of music, but also a continuous inner spiritual work. If we talk specifically about the theremin, the emotional range of the instrument is very wide and it all depends on the person to whom he falls into the hands.

Prospects for theremin and its place in contemporary music space – what do you see them? For what qualities you value this tool?
Unfortunately, the theremin is now in the most difficult situation for the last 80 years. In my opinion, primitivism has become the hallmark of modern theremin, especially clearly this is manifested in the West. Over the past 20 years, the theremin is increasingly moving away from the views and ideas of Leon Theremin, and assimilated in a very specific subculture. Perhaps it is now the key and critical period in the history of the theremin – that outweigh ? – our with dad  views and dreams on  the theremin or Western popular subculture . Theremin is Russian instrument. It is very   important to make theremin formation happened in Russia.

 What products do you prefer? What have you tried to play a theremin?

I prefer the instruments of Leon Theremin, because they always focus nobility of sound, ease of control and stability.
I have always played and performed at various tube instruments of my  father, also I played the theremin, which was created by Leon Theremin and me with the technical assistance of electronic engineers in 1987.
I tried to play the theremin by Eduardov, theremin prototype by Lev Korolev (with two antennas), Edward Hank theremin, an instrument of Andrei Smirnov, on Moog etherwave, Moog with module of Thierry Frenkel.

In recent years I have been working on the theremins ” Wavefront ” by American manufacturer Eugene Segal. These theremins are most appropriate model among modern theremin.

What do you advise thereminists beginners or those who are just about to start their way thereminist?

Do not look for the easy ways and do not think in cliches. Always look for your personal unique way, do not be tempted to take or to copy mechanistically someone else’s performance technique, trust yourself, do not despair if things do not immediately work.
Always remember that the theremin – Musical Instrument