Theremin
Photo
Gallery

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This gallery is divided into six main sections:
(I) Vintage instruments
(II) New instruments
(III) Manufacturers
(IV) My instruments
(V) Miscellaneous Photos
(VI) Theremin “X-Files”
You can visit the entire gallery by scrolling down through this page, or you can select a particular exhibit from the anchor-index list above. (Note: I’ll be adding to this gallery on a regular basis, so stop by again!)





I. Vintage Instruments
Of course, I must start with the theremin of the greatest thereminist of them all, CLARA ROCKMORE.





DAVID WEINER, westdave@aol.com, of Culver City, California, is the proud owner of this early-vintage RCA, bought from a woman out in the San Fernando Valley whose daughter had posted the theremin for sale on the Internet.

In the first two photos you’ll see Dave standing with three theremins: His RCA, his Etherwave — which he finished in a marvellous Fred-Flinstonesque grey “fleckstone” — and his mother’s Etherwave that he built for her.





MARK SEGAL of Wavefront Technologies, also a local L.A. thereminist and builder (see section III, below) has been another lucky recipient of an original theremin. This one, however, appears to be quite older than the “standard model” RCA. The chassis is laid out completely differently and looks more “primitive” than the RCA — looks hand-built rather than mass-produced. Might this be yet another genuine Termen instrument that has surfaced?

Its cabinet has been modified somewhat; the original legs were removed and a Dr. Hoffman-type console added along with the most bizarre-looking speaker you ever did see!

Update 9/97: Reid Welch wrote of this theremin: “I just consulted a photograph of Henry Solomonoff’s custom left handed chassis made by Lev around 1930. Your chassis is the right-handed twin to Henry’s Theremin, right down to the green silk wire of the coils and the black box in the middle. No doubt in my mind. [Mr. Segal], you own a THEREMIN-made Theremin.”





FLOYD ENGLES of New York owns not one, but two RCA theremins. (He is also the gentleman who provided me with the photo of Clara Rockmore’s theremin.) Mr. Engles is able to replicate the original Theremin “speaker on a stand,” the famous diamond-shaped baffle, as he has copies of Prof. Theremin’s original plans and schematics. Pictured here is the speaker he recreated for one of his instruments. If you are interested in having him make one for you, you can contact him at 8064 Davis Road, Colden, New York 14033.




(As you can see, RCA theremins have been sprouting up like wild mushrooms in Southern California! Well, not quite but almost —- in addition to Mark’s and Dave’s RCA instruments pictured above, another one used to be out here: Oleg’s Music, a store in the San Fernando Valley, has one on display. It works perfectly, but has been refinished in a frightful 1960s off-white “antiqued” look and accented with gold leaf trim. Yeek! Looks like an artifact from Mae West’s boudoir! [or Liberace’s...!]) (It has since been sold to a party out of the state.)



BOB OUSLEY, jazzjo@qni.com, provided these photos of his theremin — as you can see, yet another “Hoffman-style” podium model. However, there are a number of significant differences between Ousley’s theremin and Hoffman’s if you look closely.





REID WELCH, rewelch@earthlink.net poses at his RCA theremin, with his dear friend Bernice.





JEFF SHAW, coastco@earthlink.net sent me this photo of his Moog “Troubadour” theremin. I don’t know very much about this instrument except that Moog made this model some time after the Melodia, I’m guessing the late 1960s.





WALTER SEAR currently has two theremins — an RCA and a Moog Vanguard. Mr. Sear has the RCA theremin for sale. If you’re interested, you can contact him at 212-582-5380.

There’s an interesting story behind his Vanguard theremin: He appeared with it on the Captain Kangaroo show in the early 1960s. A viewer contacted him and said he wanted very much to buy the theremin, so Mr. Sear sold it. In later years, he very much regretted having parted with it and wished he had it back. Well, one day a man called and said he had purchased a Vanguard theremin at a garage sale and wondered if Mr. Sear might be interested in buying it. Upon inspecting the theremin, he realized it was the very one that he had demonstrated on the Captain Kangaroo show!

The following photos are compliments of Reid Welch.

On the wall in the photo of the RCA theremin is a large photo. Take a close look and see if you recognize the man in the photo. [tick tick tick tick tick tick tick] Time’s up! It’s Robert Moog. Sear had a distributorship, and was a Moog representative, for Moog synthesizers, and now he represents Moog again for theremins!

(An interesting p.s. for the tube enthusiasts [including me] among us: Sear Sound is a high-end recording studio in New York City that is entirely vacuum tube based.)





The theremin of Thereminist JULIET SHAWa custom theremin by Leon Theremin — can be seen at the Juliet Shaw Tribute Page.






Last — but hardly least: For photos (and description) of DR. SAMUEL HOFFMAN’S RCA theremin, go to Dr. Hoffman’s Theremin.



II. New Instruments

This instrument is a PAiA Theremax, built by ERNIE GUDERJAHN of Sylmar, California, th80r16@aol.com. He installed it into a custom-made console.





Here’s IRA KRAEMER’S “Grand Concert Etherwave.” Ira is a violin maker and crafted this beautiful cabinet for his new Etherwave theremin. As you can see, he has also built an elevated, diamond-shaped speaker baffle for it.
WWW: http://www.ibkco.com/ibkwebsite
email: ibkco@i-2000.com




DAVID MILLER says of his theremin: “My performing model is an Etherwave housed in a 1941 Philco radio cabinet. It is the perfect cabinet for this instrument. I added a few special features that are nice to use sometimes: Pitch Preview, which allows you to hear the note before bringing it up via a small earphone; TunerOut; Pedal, which activates the Pitch Preview and Tuner circuit; and Mute, which is a most useful feature.”
WWW: http://www.geocities.com/Vienna/4611/
email: DavesTvox@webtv.net





DAVE BARNETT wrote:

“Here are some photos of my 3 module theremins.

They were constructed by a South Australian Electronic engineer Mr Phill Storr in the 70’s for a Local Artist, Mr J.S.Ostoja Kotkowski.

He had an exhibition of his kinetic Op-Art in which the theremins played an interesting part: They were hooked up to picture frames so that when the person would aproach the artwork it made a sound.

I purchased them from Ostoja’s estate when he passed away in 1993.

These theremins are played by placing the hand over a metalic plate. So if you have all three going at once you can have some interesting effects. The actual modules that produce the sound have some pots for adjusting modulation and sensitivity.

These theremins were quite small compared to some of J.Stan Ostoja’s other devices such as ‘The Chromasonic MK2 and MK3,’ which was designed with the assistance of the Australian National University.

I have been doing some research into Stan Ostoja Kotkowski and will probably have the project availabile online.”





III. Contemporary Manufacturers


We’ll start with BIG BRIAR, INC., Robert Moog’s company. Moog currently has two lines, the Etherwave, a very compact and portable kit-version (see photos of my Etherwave below); along with the larger console-model 91 series which comes in three cabinet styles. (Note: Moog has discontinued the 91 line in favor of a new Midi theremin series [see below]; he does have a few 91s left ... so if you want a 91 you’d better act very soon!!)

Photo, © 2001, courtesy
Big Briar, Inc.

Big Briar, Inc.
554 Riverside Drive
Asheville, NC 28801
Phones: (704) 251-0090 or
(800) 948-1990
Fax: (704) 254-6233
Email: info@bigbriar.com
web site: www.bigbriar.com


Photo, © 2001, courtesy
Grand Royal Magazine
This is the prototype of the very exciting Ethervox Midi Theremin which was unveiled in June 1997 at the First International Theremin Festival in Portland, Maine. See Big Briar's website for more information on this revolutionary theremin development!



Next is the PAiA THEREMAX. A feature unique to PAiA’s Theremax is its ability to control voltage-controlled synthesizers, via special pitch and gate outputs. See PAiA’s web site for a more comprehensive description.

PAiA Electronics, Inc.
3200 Teakwood Ln
Edmond OK 73013
Phone: (405) 340-6300
Fax: (405) 340-6378
WWW: http://www.paia.com/paia




Finally, we have WAVEFRONT TECHNOLOGIES, who makes two basic theremin models: A wooden cabinet model, available in a variety of hardwoods; and a compact touring model constructed into an impact-resistant briefcase. (Wavefront also offers a theremin-Midi interface.)

Wavefront Technologies
6101 Del Valle Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone: (213) 957-4901
Email: wavefront@earthlink.net




IV. My Instruments

I currently have three instruments, received in the order listed: Moog “Melodia” cir. 1958; a Big Briar “Etherwave” 1995; and a Big Briar “91-A” console model theremin, 1994.

Here’s a group shot of my Big Briar family: : left to right — Etherwave, 91-A, [Moog] Melodia.



For more photos of the Melodia, see my Ojai Concert page.

For more photos of the 91-A theremin, see Big Briar Custom 91-A Theremin.



Here are photos of my left-handed (don’t try this at home*) Etherwave:

*Making my Etherwave a left-handed instrument was a royal pain in the antenna, let me tell you. And the guy who did it for me, Dave Weiner, can vouch for that. Lacking direction from Big Briar on how to accomplish this, Dave took it upon himself to figure it out alone. Which he did, magnificently. But, boy, the hoops he had to jump through to get it done! One advantage the PAiA and Wavefront theremins have over the Big Briar is that making them right- or left-handed is a breeze.



For a brief time, I also had a vintage theremin that had seemed to be a real treasure: Indeed, it had been speculated that the instrument may have been made by Prof. Termen himself! For more about this instrument, see A Mysterious, 1930s-Vintage Theremin page.



I wasn’t quite sure where to place the following photo, as it falls under several categories — but decided this is as good a place as any! This is a shot of the phantasmic 1937 tube theremin, next to Dave Weiner’s RCA.


V. Miscellaneous
This section, as I add to it, will contain various photos that do not fit into other Gallery categories, such as performers.

Our first entry herewith is HOWARD HAM of California, shown here at his Etherwave, accompanied by Yerz Trooley at the piano when Howard and his wife visited me in the Spring of 1997.

 
Next, it’s me, as if there aren’t enough shots of my mug around here already --- but I kinda like this one: It accompanied an article about me in the Santa Monica, California [family] newspaper The Outlook in July 1997 by Entertainment Editor Josh Grossberg. Photo credit: Bernardo Alps, © 2001. Reprinted courtesy of The Outlook.





VI. Theremin “X-Files”

I’ve greatly expanded my theremin mystery photo section! There are three parts now — first, mystery thereminists; second, mystery theremins; and third, mystery thereminists and theremins!

I’ve just lumped all the mystery theremin people together in one batch — see how many you can identify:




I found this photo somewhere on the ’net; it was, like, 3 in the morning — so I don’t remember where I ran across it. Can you identify these two mystery theremins?!

(One mystery solved: Robert Schober wrote and correctly reminded me that these two theremins were on exhibit at the University of Glasgow. He also made a stab at identifying the next picture, below, as a trautonium ... which it is not.)





Someone sent me this photo; I can’t quite recall whom. It obviously is some sort of custom-made model. Can anyone identify this mystery instrument?






And what do you make of this? A thereminist from Montreal, Pierre du Feaux, sent me this “Double-Etherwave” — which actually works! You can play both pitch and volume by cleverly manipulating both hands, to get bi-tonal effects. He says it’s great for Bach’s two-part inventions!






This instrument, while obviously a standard RCA, also qualifies for the “X-Files” as I do not recall who sent me this photo. Is there anyone out there who can recognize and claim this instrument?!




 

Now, then: Here are the two-parter theremin mystery photos: Who are they, and what are they playing?




 

Here’s a special, final, added treat: This 3-D image of an unidentified theremin player came from the website Jews of the ’50s in 3-D. According to ERIC DRYSDALE, proprietor of this fascinating 3-D website, “...I know that [this photo is from] a wedding in the Boston area in the mid-50's. I have some other pictures from the same event with the name of the band on the placards, but haven’t had time to do the research.” And in reply to my request for permission to place this 3-D image in my gallery he replied, “Absolutely. As a user of more-or less dead 1950s photographic technology, I feel great affinity with those using more-or-less dead 1950s musical technology.” ! Yes, dear fellow thereminists, rest assured I already explained that the theremin is MORE alive today that it has ever been!

I am grateful to have this splendid and interesting photo in my gallery.

If you need help on how to view this image and see the 3-D effect, Mr. Drysale has given a most comprehensive explanation at his page How to View 3-D Images.

(For those of you who are interested in seeing other 3-D sites, check the list of links on my “About Me” page.)






Well, that’s about it for now. If you have photos you’d like to submit for this gallery, you can send either the reflective art (actual photos) for me to scan and, if necessary, return to you (please include a SASE); or you can shoot me the JPEGs right across the net to my email address and I can just pop ’em right in!

Ever onward and upward...

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