Pamelia Kurstin Plays The Theremin
Susan notes: Thanks to TED for making TED Talks downloadable and embeddable, and for providing the biographical information that goes along with them.
Virtuoso Pamelia Kurstin performs and discusses her theremin, the not-just-for-sci-fi electronic instrument that is played without being touched. Songs include "Autumn Leaves," "Lush Life" and David Mash’s "Listen, Words Are Gone."
The theremin, the first electronic instrument ever invented, was on the brink of historic oblivion when it was rescued from obscurity by director Steven Martin's classic 1994 documentary Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey . And while a few brave souls have sought to master this temperamental instrument since then, none have done so with more sly effervescence than Pamelia Kurstin.
From the rock-steady composure she assumes behind the instrument (necessary lest her breathing drive the sensors out of tune), one might presume a shrinking conservatory personality, but a quick glance at the MySpace page or website of the self-described "bird-punching rollerskating thereminist" will quickly dash any of these quaint notions.
Far from being a quirky curiosity, however, Kurstin is a sensitive, emotional stylist capable of coaxing sublime melodic content out of an instrument usually doomed to B-movie sci-fi soundtracks. (And her walking bass imitation is pretty cool too.)