Rockmore, Clara

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1911-05-09
Death 1998-05-10

Biographical notes:

Clara Rockmore (1911-1998) was a Russian-born American thereminist. Originally trained as a violinist, Rockmore was forced to abandon the instrument after developing severe joint and muscular pain. During the mid-1920's, she immigrated to the United States and soonafter became a student and close friend of scientist and inventor Leon Thérémin. For nearly two decades, Rockmore played the theremin in a series of concert tours in New York and throughout the United States. She also performed frequently with her sister, pianist Nadia Reisenberg. In 1977, Rockmore released a recording that brought her widespread attention and acclaim among enthusiasts interested in contemporary electronic instruments, including Robert Moog, who made her acquaintance and began to help her document her life story. In 1993, documentary filmmaker Steve Martin created a movie about the history of the theremin which featured Rockmore and her instrument. During the late 1990s, a series of festivals honored Thérémin and Rockmore.

From the description of Clara Rockmore collection, 1898-1996 (1930-1980). (University of Maryland Libraries). WorldCat record id: 298256813

Clara Rockmore (1911-1998) trained and performed as a violinist during her youth; later she became one of the most acclaimed thereminists. In 1915, at the age of four, she became the youngest student admitted into the St. Petersburg Conservatory where she studied with Leopold Auer. After coming to the United States in the mid-1920s, she began to experience joint and muscular pains which prevented her from continuing a career as a violinist. Around the same time, she met Leon Theremin, becoming his student and close friend, and also met and married the producer and lawyer Robert Rockmore.

During the subsequent two decades, Clara Rockmore played the theremin in a series of concerts in New York and throughout the United States. She frequently performed with her sister, the pianist Nadia Reisenberg. During the early 1940s she toured with Paul Robeson, an acquaintance made through her husband.

After several years outside the public eye, Rockmore released a recording in 1977 that brought her renewed attention and acclaim. She developed a following among those interested in more contemporary electronic instruments; among others Robert Moog, made her acquaintance and began to help her document her life story. In 1993, documentary filmmaker Steve Martin created a movie about the history of the Theremin which featured Rockmore and her instrument. During the late 1990s, a series of festivals honored Theremin and Rockmore.

From the guide to the Clara Rockmore Collection, 1898-1996, 1930-1980, (Special Collections in Performing Arts)

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http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6hq4s50
Ark ID:
w6hq4s50
SNAC ID:
32813641

Subjects:

  • Theremin--History
  • Music--Manuscripts
  • Electronic music--History

Occupations:

not available for this record

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