GHOST IN THE MACHINE - A Candlelit Theremin Concert
At Guy's Hospital Chapel with Lydia Kavina and Thomas Ang
on Friday the 18th March 2022 at 7:30 pm

ARRIVAL INSTRUCTIONS - If you are coming from London Bridge station, please take the Guy's Hospital exit. You will see the new hospital straight ahead of you. Please turn right and a little further down St Thomas St you will find a courtyard marked with Kings College London. The Chapel is in this Couryard to the RIGHT of the vaccination centre.

No other instrument has as much right to be called ethereal as the theremin. Not only is its tone eerie and otherworldly, but its notes are literally plucked out of the ether by the player’s hands in a series of passes and gestures more reminiscent of a shaman than a musician.

The instrument was first demonstrated in public in 1920 by its Russian inventor Leon Theremin. By 1928 he was playing it on stage with the New York Philharmonic. He went on to use his knowledge of electronics and acoustics to devise a number of listening devices successfully used by the KGB.

The theremin enjoyed its heyday in the 1930s and 40s where virtuosos such as Clara Rockmore, and Lucie Bigelow Rosen toured the concert halls and a whole theremin orchestra once graced the stage of Carnegie Hall.

Its sound quickly became shorthand for the supernatural and sinister and was much in demand in the movie industry, being used in the soundtracks for films such as Spellbound and The Day the Earth Stood Still. Robert Moog started his career building theremins in the 1950s and it inspired him to create the first synthesiser.

In this recital, Lydia Kavina, who studied the instrument under Leon Theremin himself in Moscow and is today one of the world’s leading theremin virtuosos will conjure up a mysterious and unsettling Gothic sound world with extracts from Bach, Mussorgsky, Ravel and her own suite for theremin and piano.

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Lydia Kavina
Lydia Kavina was born in Moscow and began studying the theremin at the age of 9 under the direction of Léon Theremin himself, who was first cousin of her grandfather. She is one of the world’s leading theremin virtuosos and has helped engender the instrument’s renaissance over recent years. She has worked with composers such as Danny Elfman and Howard Shore.

Thomas Ang
Thomas studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Hamish Milne and Diana Ketler, and at the Guildhall School with Andrew West and Eugene Asti. He has won prizes for his performances of Beethoven, Frederick Delius, Arthur Bliss, and the contemporary piano repertoire, and has been praised for his thoughtful and critical programming and excellent technique. He has also earned recognition as a specialist in the music of Nikolai Kapustin, having played and conducted premieres of his compositions in the UK, US, Singapore, and Australia.

Image credit - Lev Theremin and Lydia Kavina, 1976. Photo A. Snegirev