[S04E07] March 2023 - Kip Rosser (The Juliet Shaw Legacy Project)

 


In the March 2023 episode of the Theremin 30 podcast, host Rick Reid plays theremin music from Mexico, Japan, Finland, and the USA. Rick's special guest is Kip Rosser, the Juliet Shaw Legacy Project coordinator. 

FEATURED MUSIC*

  • "The Virgin Rainbow" featuring Ernesto Mendoza [edit] - Sharigrama (Tepoztl├ín, Mexico)
  • "Three Intermezzi Op. 117 no. 1" [Brahms] - Yoko Onishi (Zushi City, Japan)
  • "Lake Theme for Saw, Theremin and Piano" - Kepa Lehtinen (Helsinki, Finland
  • "Beau Soir" [Debussy] - Juliet Shaw (Norwalk, CT, USA)
*The full-length recordings featured in this show were used with the knowledge and permission of the artists and composers. Please support the artists by visiting their websites, purchasing their recordings, and attending their performances. 

ADDITIONAL MUSIC

INTERVIEW GUEST

CALENDAR OF THEREMIN EVENTS

MEDIA LINKS

CONTACT

CREDITS 

Copyright 2023 Rick Reid 


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TRANSCRIPT

Please note: This transcript was created with the help of speech-to-text AI.  It may contain some errors.

David Brower  00:04

This is "Theremin 30," thirty minutes of theremin music, news, events and interviews, with a new episode about every 30 days. Now, here is your host from Denver, Colorado, USA -- Rick Reid!

Rick Reid  00:20

Hey, welcome to the March 2023 episode of the Theremin 30 podcast. This is the final episode of season 4 of the Theremin 30 podcast. I wasn't able to produce a full 12 episodes this past year, either because some other projects got in the way, or I wasn't able to schedule guests at the right times, but I think the shows I did publish have some great music and informative interviews, so be sure to check out any episodes you may have missed.

This month, I've got music from Mexico, Japan, and Finland.  And my special guest is thereminist Kip Rosser. He'll tell us all about the Juliet Shaw Legacy Project."
Let's dive right into the music now. In a few minutes, I'll play a classical track from Yoko Onishi's current album. But first, I've got a recent release featuring Ernesto Mendoza from Mexico City.  This past December, he appeared as a guest thereminist on Mexican electronic music producer Carlos Sharigrama's new track called "The Virgin Rainbow."  It appears on the Quartz Reveal compilation album from the Adhara Records label. This track runs a bit too long to play in its entirety, so here is an edited version of "The Virgin Rainbow" by Sharigrama.


Rick Reid  10:16
We started this episode with an excerpt of ""The Virgin Rainbow" by Sharigrama, featuring Ernesto Mendoza on theremin.  You can listen to the full 8-minute track on the Theremin 30 YouTube playlist. 

After that, we heard some classical music from Yoko Onishi's current album, All Theremin 2. "Three Intermezzi, Opus 117, Number 1" by Johannes Brahms features Yoko performing with her vintage RCA theremin and a Moog Etherwave Pro. Yoko hosts the RCA Theremin Evening live-streaming recital on YouTube on the fourth Saturday afternoon of every month from her home in Zushi City, Japan. If you want to tune in, be sure to adjust for your time zone. Here, where I live in Colorado, the live stream starts on late Friday night.

I'll be right back with the Theremin 30 calendar and new music from Kepa Lehtinen. And later in the show, I'll visit with Kip Rosser about the Juliet Shaw Legacy Project.  So stay tuned!

Rick Reid  11:23

It's time now for a look at the Theremin 30 calendar of theremin events!  

The Octopus Project has a couple of concerts scheduled in Austin, Texas, on March 10th and 14th.

On Sunday, March 12th, Miss Therie will present a lecture and performance in Markelo, Netherlands.

Jumping back to Austin, Texas, Aileen Adler has a free show set for March 17th.

On the 18th, James Bohn performs at the Bleep Blorp Festival of Synthesis and Electronic Music in Lowell, Massachusetts. 

On the 20th, Ludger Schneider presents ""Music from the Aether -- Electronic Music in the Rhineland of the 1920s"" at VHS Monheim in the Cologne, Germany, area.

Peter Theremin teaches a series of theremin classes in Moscow beginning March 26th.

On March 28th, Marla Goodman demonstrates the D-Lev digital theremin at the American Computer and Robotics Museum in Bozeman, Montana.

On April 4th,  Polygraph Lounge presents a concert in Brooklyn that will also be available as a free live stream.

And coming up on April 13th, the punk duo Human Toys plays the Wild Weekend festival on Majorca island in Spain.

For details about these events and many more, check out the interactive calendar on Theremin30.com. If you have a theremin event you'd like me to list on the calendar, send me a note with all the details." Now, let's get back into the music with a new release from Finnish thereminist Kepa Lehtinen. From his brand new EP In the Heart of Winter, this track is called "Lake Theme for Saw, Theremin, and Piano."

Rick Reid  14:51

That was "Lake Theme for Saw, Theremin, and Piano" from the new release In the Heart of Winter. That recording features Kepa Lehtinen on theremin and piano, and Puka Oinonen on musical saw. You can listen to all seven tracks from In the Heart of Winter on Spotify and most other streaming services.

Coming up after this break, I'll visit with Kip Rosser about the Juliet Shaw Legacy Project, so stay right here."

Rick Reid  15:32

Kip Rosser is a professional theremin performer, recording artist, blogger, YouTube creator, and teacher based in Morrisville, Pennsylvania. I spoke with him a couple of weeks ago to learn about his efforts to archive the work of one of America's earliest thereminists, Juliet Shaw. Kip Rosser. Thanks so much for joining us on that Theremin 30 podcast.

Kip Rosser 15:53
You're very welcome. Happy to be here. 

Rick Reid  15:55
You're working on a project that involves a thereminist I've never heard of, Juliet Shaw.

Kip Rosser
That's right.

Rick Reid
Tell me about what you've been up to. 

Kip Rosser  16:03
In 2008 I happened to be rereading a book that I've read at least three or four times about Theremin himself. In the acknowledgement section there is a single sentence thanking Sandra Shaw Murphy and Karen Shaw for materials associated with their mother, American pianist and thereminist Juliet Shaw. That's all I ever knew. And I became fascinated. Who is that person? It's mentioned in this book, who is she? Through searches online, I found the music school that she founded called the Silvermine School of Music. Her two daughters Sandra and Karen were still alive. Julia died in 1994. So I was able to contact her two daughters. And in 2008, I went to meet them. The theremin was there and they said, it doesn't work. We've tried it. It doesn't work. But I've had enough experience with theremins to know that they're extremely temperamental. I plugged it in and after about 15 minutes, I was able to get it to work. I interviewed them they were incredibly funny and witty, and I was going to produce just a little 20 minute documentary about Juliet Shaw. That was it. They had a little shoe box and a couple of other little boxes of Xeroxes of newspaper articles and some photographs. And they told me at the time, we know there's a cassette tape or two around here, but we don't know where they are. So I took what I had and came home and promptly backed up the footage from the camera, got rid of the footage from the camera itself on its hard drive, backed it up on an external hard drive. A week or two later, my computer was stolen. And my hard drive busted and the data couldn't be recovered. So I lost everything couldn't do a thing. You know sometimes you'll save something on the computer, but you forget where you're saving it to?

 
Rick Reid
Yes.

Kip Rosser 
And about two years ago, I found six to eight minutes of footage, but not the interview stuff so I couldn't use it. Oh, I put together a small video for Sandra. Karen had died in 2019. I put an unlisted video on YouTube. It's interesting and she said it moved to tears because there are footage of Kara and Sandra together at Juliet's theremin demonstrating their mother's technique. She said I'd like to meet with you again. Can you come meet me? And then June of 2022 we met I got there and this living room of their house will see add people for a concert Wow. The living room is extraordinary. Three concert grand pianos it looks like it comes out of a different time period. Sandra is the executive director of the Silvermine School of Music and she still does recitals and concerts all the time. And there's the theremin in precisely the same place that I have left it 14 years before then she said doesn't work. Got it to work again. But this time all over the chairs are just piles and piles of foot high of old crumbling, oxidized newspaper articles, magazines, tons of spread everywhere, a stack of at least a dozen reel-to-reel tapes, and boxes and boxes of cassette tapes. None of it was in any particular order. And that's when I asked her if she would allow me to start helping her to organize at the time she was 84. And she just turned 85 on February 7. It's an overwhelming task. And I asked her if she would be willing to allow me to help her organize this thing. And that is when she consented to let me take everything to finally get all of the materials we can find whether it's ephemera, printed materials, audio materials, video materials, organize it, preserve it, archive it correctly, which it all is now and then donate it to an institution. We've approached a number of institutions that are two more we're going to approach there at Yale University at the Smithsonian, New York Public Library, Peabody Institute, and there's going to be one or two more and EMEAPP who has already agreed they want the whole thing. The reason why we're so assisting others as opposed to just give it to the Electronic Music Education and Preservation Project is because Karen and Sandra originally wanted to get it to Yale because Juliet's first public performance on a theremin took place at Yale University. I worked with vendors in Ohio, in Arizona, in New York City and other states to do the digitization of things that I couldn't do myself. I, at this point, spent between 800 and 900 hours. With the exception of certain proprietary types of tapes and audio, which I'm unable to do myself, I digitize everything, all the photographs, every lecture, all the handwritten sheets, recital programs, it's hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of artifacts that I digitize myself plus 21 audio cassettes 32 reel to reel tapes, 16 vinyl recordings, all of them have now been digitized. And believe it or not, audio cassettes 20 and 21, I just acquired yesterday. It's a tremendous legacy plus Juliet's theremin. Turns out Juliet Shaw acquired that theremin in the very early 1930s, as a result of visiting him in his apartment. She brought her RCA to him, she played for him, and he said, I am going to build you an extended octave range of six and a half octaves. There are handwritten accounts, plus audio accounts on tape, Juliet describing her meeting with what his apartment was like, which no one has ever described. And the fact that he said, I will build you this. So I think we pretty well established that it was built for her specifically. That's the term that he gave her or sold her I don't know whether she bought it or traded it with her RCA. It's in rough shape, but it's still played. She played that thing forever, up until the late 80s, early 90s When she could no longer play any of the others.

Rick Reid  21:47
Why is it important to you and to the listeners of this show that we preserve all of these artifacts from Juliet Shaw's life and career? 

Kip Rosser  21:57
The fact is that Theremin Clara Rockmore, Lucy rose and Samuel Hoffman, George Goldberg, and some of these other people. They're the absolute first generation of Theremin players. Julia Shaw is among that group. Did she tour the world know why she world famous? Not really, but what she did arguably was as unique as anything any of them ever did. First of all, she founded a music and art center called the Sasqua Hills Music and Arts Center. When she left West Hartford, Connecticut, she founded the Silvermine School of Music. She was a concert pianist from the very late 20s to early 30s. All the way through the rest of her life. She, as far as I know, is the only concert pianist, flash them in the world that has ever been her piano playing is extraordinary. And she devoted her life to being a teacher, a feminist and someone whose entire Mo was to bring culture and music to the area in which she lit her Silvermine School of Music was never just a school where piano students came there were concert, huge social gatherings, and she donated proceeds from her concerts to all sorts of causes the Red Cross to high schools that needed band uniforms or needed to go to Florida to compete in a band competition. She gave away 10s of 1000s of dollars raised at her concert, she created this thing called the 12 piano symphony. Where have you ever heard of 12 women in pink chiffon evening gown 12 pianos on stage playing for an hour concert. And she would break up this concert by playing theremin herself. She really played the theremin beautifully. She played in New York City. She played in Hartford. She played all around her area. And I think that is just as important as any of the other theremenists, she championed the instrument. She had nothing but amazing things to say about Theremin. And so she used to talk about it and lecture about it during her concert. She's one of the first generation just as valid, and I think just as important as any of the others. And the whole thing is just this huge body of work. To me, it's just worth preserving. It's fascinating to be able to be a part of this thing. That's why I'm doing it, how can people get involved. And now we're in the fundraising phase to try to raise enough money to make sure that Theremin is preserved and restored just a little bit. And also the pay for things like the cost of the vendors that have imported all these tape materials and video materials. I have been personally doing out of pocket. I've spent all my own money to get these things done, because I don't want to hold the project up. So the funding will pay for all of those costs. Hopefully that means reimbursement. But I'm not making done on this, to me, being the person who center entrusted with this, to put it together has been compensation and not because you just wouldn't believe what I've heard the things that I've been able to watch that no one has ever seen for 70 years and we keep discovering more. 

Rick Reid  24:56
If somebody donates I understand you have a premium or gift for them. 

Kip Rosser  25:00
Anybody who donates $20 or more will receive free the first volume of Julia Shaw's music ever to be released. There are recordings that are just absolutely astounding to listen to. And I'm including in this collection, mostly theremin music, but I want people to hear what kind of concert pianist she wants. I want people to be able to hear how her love of experimental contemporary music influenced what she did. 

Rick Reid  25:26
So how do people find out about this opportunity to support your efforts and to get this recording?

Kip Rosser  25:33
All anyone has to do is go to JShawLegacy.com All the information is there. All you have to do is click to make a donation. It goes right to paid now, I make absolutely nothing other than reimbursement for what I've already put out. And anything that's leftover if we reach the goal amount goes immediately to Sandra Shaw and the Silver Mine Music School. Simple as that. 

Rick Reid  25:56

Let's listen now to a recording from the archive. Here is Juliet Shaw playing the 1891 Claude Debussy composition, "Beau Soir" or "Beautiful Evening."

That was "Beau Soir," written by Claude Debussy and performed by Juliet Shaw. You can learn how to support the Juliet Shaw Legacy project and get a download of the upcoming compilation album by following the links and banners in this month's show notes at Theremin30.com.

With the moments remaining, I want to thank Sharigrama, Yoko Onishi, Kepa Lehtinen, and the estate of Juliet Shaw for allowing me to share their music with you. Also, a big thanks to Kip Rosser for telling us all about the Juliet Shaw Legacy Project. I'll have Kip back on a future episode to talk about some of his own theremin adventures.  And a special thanks goes to the listeners who support the show with small one-time and monthly donations or by shopping with the affiliate program advertisers that appear on the Theremin30.com website.

I will be back with season 5 of the Theremin 30 podcast in April. Thanks so much to many of you who have been listening since I got started back in 2019. I would be grateful if you would tell your friends about the show and spreading the word on social media.

Until next time, I'm your host Rick Reid. I'll see you somewhere in the ether.

David Brower  29:48

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