Randy George is one of a small handful of artists in the world dedicated to furthering the technical development and awareness of precision theremin playing.
Randy holds a B.M. in Performance from the University of North Texas College of Music where he studied the bassoon and acquired proficiency as a live sound recording engineer. Following a few years of orchestra playing and a brief departure from performance to work in the Post Production and Music Industries in Los Angeles, in 2006, Randy found his musical calling and his voice for expression in the space-controlled theremin. Beginning in 2012, he has been constructing a new high efficiency method for theremin with efforts to greatly expand playing facility for melodic music.
Randy George has appeared across the US and in Europe as soloist, chamber musician, studio player, and guest lecturer. He is best known for his contributions to the escalating world wide awareness of the theremin over the internet. His video works featuring the theremin in a variety of contexts have garnered viewership exceeding 20 million people since 2006. Randy's playing is today augmented by specialized software for interactivity between the theremin and computer. In addition to being a sought-after theremin performer, he is an avid creator of technology to enhance and improve the theremin playing and learning experience. Randy is currently planning his first full length theremin album release for 2016 which will feature modern compositions for theremin and chamber ensembles.
About the Theremin
The theremin is one of the world's earliest electronic musical instruments. It is the only instrument that is played continuously, completely without physical contact. It was developed in the 1920's by Russian scientist and inventor Lev Sergeyevich Termen as a direct product of his innovations in radio physics and his musical past as a concert cellist. The player of a theremin uses his arms and hands to displace the capacity of the space surrounding the instrument in order to continuously influence its pitch and loudness. The tone quality can vary depending on how its signal is processed and how it is played. It can sound similar to a human voice, a stringed instrument or even a wind instrument depending on variations in vibrato, portamento, and dynamics. Due to the its unconventional interface and lack of spacial reference, the theremin is very difficult to master as a melodic instrument. As with any musical instrument it requires discipline and dedication over many years to gain any degree of proficiency.
The single most defining characteristic of a theremin is its dynamic responsiveness. Its sound is an instantaneous reflection of the player's every move. The moment the sound begins, the player is intimately integrated with the instrument in a continuous feedback loop of sound and motion. This transfer from motion into sound is made possible by the capacity sensing radio frequency oscillator circuitry employed by the instrument. To perform precise melodies on a theremin, a player must possess an acute awareness of its sustained pitch, continuously trim its position over time, and utilize aural and muscular memory of pitch spacings to accurately place each new note. Because the amplitude of the tone is also continuously controlled, a theremin player is responsible for crafting both the theremin's sound and the silence in-between sounds.
Over the past twenty years, there has been a surge in awareness of the theremin and it is currently undergoing a renaissance, especially within the context of modern composition and live performance. Although it still seems novel and obscure, there has never before been more people interested in the theremin, composing music for theremin, or playing the theremin than there are in the world today.