by Irina Vanechkina

The concluding event of the Theremin Jubilee was an international conference, "Electronics, Music, Light," devoted to Theremin and held in Kazan (9-14 December 1996). It was organized by Prometei, the Kazan Institute for Experimental Aesthetics. In contrast to the events in Moscow and St. Petersburg, this conference featured a fundamental, broad scientific program (as evidenced by the 300-page proceedings prepared for the conference). The first day of the conference was devoted to an analysis of the life and activities of Theremin himself -- special reports were devoted to his famous instruments (the theremin, the terpsitone and the rhythmicon) and to his distant vision system and alarm systems. On the second day, reports were presented that analyzed the development of art forms based on new technologies, including electronic music, light-music, spatial music and holography. The third day was devoted to current technical development of Theremin's ideas, such as several new versions of the theremin and light-musical automatons. The final day was reserved for the presentation of papers that analyzed different aspects of the theme "Computers and Art," the most interesting of which was a survey of computer experiments by Kazan and Moscow scientists on the transformation of graphics and graphic movement into melody (related to the techniques of producing sound with the theremin). The contacts made between heads of computer studios associated with conservatories from various Russian cities were of particular importance.

In the evenings, conference participants had the opportunity to watch film and video documentaries featuring Theremin, such as "Soviet Faustus". The central event of the program was the premiere light-show performance of "Alleluia", a piece composed by Sofia Gubaidulina (the light-show, which previously had been performed only once, was introduced by the composer). Two Muscovites, Lydia Kavina and Olga Milanich, performed theremin concerts in various institutions of higher education in Kazan and also on TV. A variant of the theremin was demonstrated by Mikhail Zaiivadny of St.Petersburg. But the most impressive event was the combined concert "Electronics, Music, Light," held on 12 December 1996 in the new Kazan Concert Hall. In addition to live theremin music, the concert program included recordings of electronic music pieces by S.  Rychkov (Kazan), S. Kreichi (Moscow), V. Ulianich (Moscow), M. Afanasyev (Kishinev) and T. Komarova (Yekateriburg). The concert program's exotic decor was provided by the metal sound sculptures of the composition "Electronic Music Produced Without Electronic Aids" by V. Koleichuk (Moscow). The conference hosts also presented their new version of a light symphony by Scriabin, based on paintings by Wassily Kandinsky.

Published in "Leonardo', v.31, 1998, N3, p.323-324