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The NY Theremin Society: Dorit Chrysler & Rob Schwimmer's Winter Wonderland

December 18

Joe's Pub

Doors at 9PM
Show at 9:30PM

The heart and soul of The NY Theremin Society is back at Joe's Pub to warm you up with a rare gift of Theremin Winter Wonderland moods - Take a break from the holiday hustle and bustle to wrap yourself in ether sound blankets delivered in Theremin duets and solo performances by Theremin virtuosos Dorit Chrysler and Rob Schwimmer. Immerse and pamper yourself in a musical journey on sonic sleds through the icy landscapes and fiery furnaces, fog and fever, singing, drinking and laughing.

Founded by Suzanne Fiol and Dorit Chrysler, musician/composer, The NY Theremin Society launched its concert series December 2nd 2005, bringing together skilled interpreters on Theremin, each presenting their solo works and joining in an experimental Theremin Orchestra. Those concert series took place at Issue Project Room and sold out regularly, featuring noted players such as Pamelia Kurstin,  Dalit Warshaw, Anthony Ptak, Elizabeth Brown, David Simons & Armen Ra,  just to name a few.  The NY Theremin Society started to serve as a platform for  Thereminists and Enthusiasts and its mission statement evolved; namely to exchange, inspire and educate, as well as to demonstrate the surprising variety of different approaches that this relatively young and unique instrument has to offer in the contemporary world of music. The NY Theremin Society was instrumental in the recreation of a Ten Piece Theremin Orchestra performing at the LA Disney Hall (emulating the first theremin orchestra concert taking place at Carnegie Hall in 1930.) The NY THEREMIN SOCIETY has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, Fox News, Al Jazeera TV, The Wall Street Journal, and many other news outlets. Together Dorit & Rob Schwimmer, in addition to individual and collective concertizing, curate the concert series of the NY Theremin Society, teach adult and children's theremin workshops and have recently conducted a historic 17-piece theremin orchestra.

"A futuristic Lotte Lenya" WSJ Austrian born composer/musician Dorit Chrysler has most recently performed with the SF Symphony Orchestra, and is featured on HBO's documentary "Going Clear. Her compositions have been commissioned by MoMA, the Venice Biennale and for film and TV. She has performed at Lincoln Center, Roskilde Festival, Moogfest and the Louisiana Museum. She is the object of a documentary in development following her most recent concerts to Brazil, Japan, China, Russia and Europe. Dorit is the co-founder of the NY Theremin Society and started the internationally acclaimed KidCoolThereminSchool. She has received residencies at Pioneerworks and the Knightsbridge Foundation. She has collaborated with visual artist Jesper Just, Elliott Sharp, Adult, Anders Trentemoeller and The The. Dorit produced and curated the 10 piece Theremin Orchestra at the Disney Hall of Los Angeles. Her solo work includes Theremin, Vocals, Laptop and Taurus. 

with Special Guest Xiao Xiao

Born in China, Xiao Xiao began piano lessons at age 4, and studied computer science at MIT. While a doctoral student at the MIT Media Lab, Xiao continued her musical studies under composer/pianist/improviser Donal Fox. Drawing from these studies, she created new interactive technologies for piano learning, which have been presented at TEDxBoston, TEDxSan Diego, and Aspen Ideas Festival, academic conferences around the world, as well as featured on international television shows. Since completing her doctorate in 2016, Xiao is currently building interactive museum exhibits for the tricentennial of New Orleans and illustrating/co-editing a book on learning by AI pioneer Marvin Minsky.

Fascinated by the art of learning, Xiao was inspired to teach herself to play the theremin after watching Dorit Chrysler’s performance in May 2017. Since then, she has performed as a thereminist at events in Beirut, London, and New Orleans.

Xiao Xiao will be performing a piece by Jeff Pagano.

Rob Schwimmer is a composer-pianist/keyboardist, thereminist, vocalist and leading proponent of the Haken Continuum who has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning,  the Leonard Lopate show on WNYC, Fox News, the popular PBS series "History Detectives," and Al Jazeera America TV as well as in The NY Times and Wall St Journal.  He is a founding member and co-director of The NY Theremin Society and appearances as featured theremin soloist include his recent debut with The Boston Pops at Symphony Hall, The Orchestra of St. Luke's at Caramoor (which included Rob's theremin arrangement of Bernard Herrmann's "Scene d'Amour" from Vertigo,)  The Little Orchestra at Lincoln Center, with Bobby McFerrin at Carnegie Hall and Simon & Garfunkel's world tours (including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary show at Madison Square Garden.)  In addition to his CD Theremin Noir (with Uri Caine and Mark Feldman,) Rob has performed as featured thereminist on Trey Anastasio's latest album Traveler, Matthew Barney’s epic movie Cremaster 3, the 2009 R.W. Goodwin feature Alien Trespass, CBS television series Now  and Again and A&E's Breakfast With the Arts. Rob composed the score for Cynthia Wade's 2008 Academy Award winner "Freeheld" in the Documentary Short category as well as collaborating on David Frankel's Oscar winner "Dear Diary" for Dreamworks (their first Oscar) in the Live Action Short in 1997. He has worked with Simon and Garfunkel,Wayne Shorter, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Bobby McFerrin, Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, Chaka Khan, Laurie Anderson, Bette Midler, Adam Guettel, Mary Cleere Haran, T-Bone Walker, Sam Rivers, Marc Shaiman, Matthew Barney, Ang Lee, Maria Schneider, Michel Gondry, Trey Anastasio, Gwyneth Paltrow, Marshall Brickman, Karen Black, Josh Groban, Mabou Mines, Geoffrey Holder, Steve Buscemi, Theo Bleckmann, Burt Bacharach, The Roches,  Edie Brickell, The Everly Brothers, Bela Fleck, Lenny Kaye, Kurt Vonnegut, Odetta, Alwin Nikolai/ Murray Louis Dance Company, C&C Music Factory and Sammy Davis Jr. among others. Schwimmer also recently performed his own version of Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue with orchestra. Rob was commissioned by The Metropolitan Museum last season to write new music for the 50th anniversary showing of the movie A Charlie Brown Christmas performed live with piano trio. He has performed at venues all over the world including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Stone, the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Tokyo Dome, Madison Square Garden, The Blue Note, CBGB’s and the Colosseum (Rome) before a crowd of over 600,000. 


Invented 1919 by Russian electro physicist Lev Sergejewitch Termen, the Theremin is the only instrument that generates sound without being touched. Notoriously hard to play, it is one of the first electronic  instruments that inspired the creation of synthesizers in future generations. Historically, the theremin is one of the earliest electronic instruments, introduced to audiences in the early 20th century. Subsequently, it served as the basis from which electronic musical instruments of the 20th century were later developed. Although originally intended for classical music performance, the theremin instead found its success supplying 'eerie' background music for countless motion pictures. Whether that it is due to its unusual frequency and vibrato effects, or the challenge posed upon the player to master its technique, the theremin has never been a widely-played instrument.

Yet today, among fields of electronic musicians, many more are rediscovering the potential of the theremin and exploring its complex and expressive sounds, pitches, movements, and gestures through various styles and media. In 1966 the Beach Boy's Brian Wilson put the Theremin to work in "Good Vibrations". In 1967 Theremins showed up on Captain Beefheart's landmark "Safe as Milk" and in 1969, Led Zeppelin anthem "Whole Lotta Love" featured a Theremin. Today artists such as Jon Spencer, Portishead, Nine Inch Nails, Elvis Costello, Trey Anstasio, and Simon & Garfunkel have put the instrument to use.

Leon Theremin emigrated to New York City in late 1927, quickly establishing a laboratory dedicated to the scientific study of electronic sound; in April of 1930, a Ten Piece Theremin Orchestra premiered on the stage of Carnegie Hall to enthusiastic response. A decade later, Theremin was whisked back to the Soviet Union (involuntarily, some have said) and placed in Butyrka prison, eventually working in a Soviet think-tank to develop a covert listening device for the Soviet government. Following Theremin’s abrupt departure and reassignment, his instrument inspired a handful of virtuosos, most notably Clara Rockmore and Samuel J. Hoffman, but ultimately fell into obscurity when suddenly...