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date: 04 August 2020

Rockmore, Clara locked

  • Alyson Payne


(b Vilnius, Lithuania, March 9, 1911; d New York, NY, May 10, 1998). Theremin player of Lithuanian birth. She began playing piano at the age of two and attended the Conservatory in Petrograd (1915–17), where she studied with Auer, Leopold (in the United States). After immigrating to the United States in 1921, she settled in New York, where she resumed her studies with Auer (1925–8). An arm injury forced her to give up the violin. She was subsequently introduced to Léon Theremin and quickly mastered his new invention, the theremin. Theremin built Rockmore a theremin with a five-octave range and other modifications. She performed exclusively on the instrument after 1932, often performing selections by Sergei Rachmaninoff, Maurice Ravel, and Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky. She gave one of the first demonstrations of the instrument at a Town Hall recital on 30 October 1934. She appeared as theremin soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York PO, the Rochester SO, the Toronto SO, and the New York City Center Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski. She also toured with singer Paul Robeson. In ...

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