What an amazing lady! A theremin virtuoso and classically trained violinist, Rockmore started with violin at an early age. During her teen years she developed an arthritic problem with her bow arm and was forced to quit the violin. After this setback, Clara Rockmore was attracted to the theremin and found that she had a natural talent for the instrument. She had absolute pitch and extraordinary control of her precise hand movements; two qualities that were very important for mastering the theremin. She even worked with Leon Theremin (the inventor of the theremin) and helped develop the instrument. Leon Theremin asked Clara to marry him but she rejected him.
This is a beautiful video of Clara Rockmore performing Achron’s “Hebrew Melody.” I am also a fan of her sparkly headband.
“There is a certain terrific freedom. You feel like a conductor in front of an orchestra. There is no instrument between you and the music. Sure, there is a theremin standing there, but you’re in the electromagnetic field. Every movement you make is a perfect synchronization of sound and motion.”