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Coming Soon to Pittsburgh: Theremania!!!

In the past I’ve shared my enthusiasm for the Library’s new electronic musical instrument collection on this here blog. In February, the Music, Film & Audio Department at CLP – Main began loaning out synthesizers (both analog and digital), effects pedals, sequencers, portable recording devices and other sound making contraptions. So far the program has been a huge success, but by far the instrument in the collection that has gotten the most use is the Moog Theremini.

Theremin virtuoso Pamelia Stickney, courtesy of


What’s a Theremin you ask? The short answer is that the Theremin was one of the very first electronic instruments, first played in public in the USSR in 1920. Its inventor, Leon Theremin, brought this mysterious instrument to America in 1927 where it was patented. It is the only musical instrument that is played without being physically touched. For the long answer I recommend that you stop by the CLP – Main International Poetry Room on Thursday, May 18th, 12 – 1 pm for a free lunchtime lecture and performance by world-class thereminist Pamelia Stickney as part of a day long Theremania!!! celebration.


Pamelia will also being giving a concert in the evening at the Glitter Box Theater in North Oakland, and before her performance you can stop by the Documentary Salon at Pittsburgh Filmmakers for a free screening of a fascinating and charming documentary about the life and times of Leon Theremin — inventor, unwilling KGB spy and prisoner.

We hope to see you on the 18th, and while you’re here we have even more Theremin goodies: a biography about Leon Theremin, a documentary, recordings by Thermin’s muse Clara Rockmore, and even a fictional interpretation of Theremin’s life and relationship with Rockmore.

Yours in musical exploration,


Want to learn more about Theremin — the man and the instrument? Read this book!

Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage

Tara is a Librarian in the Music, Film & Audio Department, and loves to make film & book recommendations. Some of her interests include gardening, cookbooks, foreign films, comedy albums and devastating literary fiction.

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