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Higher Education
Apollo Chamber Players adds other-worldly theremin to the mix
News Release
Wednesday, January 16, 2019

HOUSTON — The Apollo Chamber players will introduce a unique sound experience to their audience at University of Houston-Clear Lake’s Bayou Theater stage, on Friday, Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. The Houston-based ensemble is featuring world-renowned German theremin musician Carolina Eyck to share the eerie, arresting music of Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu, as well as Eyck’s new works composed for theremin and string quartet in a show titled, “Theremin Fantasies.”

“For this concert, our guest is Carolina Eyck, who’s arguably the world’s greatest theremin player,” said the group’s artistic director and violinist Matthew Detrick. “The theremin is a quasi-folk instrument, invented by a Russian scientist called Leon Theremin by accident in 1920. It’s a pretty obscure instrument that makes a very eerie sound. One of the most interesting things about it is that you play it without any physical contact.”

Detrick said that when he found out that Martinu had written a piece for a string quartet and theremin, he decided they simply had to program it. “It’s such a one-of-a-kind instrumentation,” he said. “Carolina also sings and composes. This concert is a way to share the unique sound world that she inhabits.”

They are joined onstage by Elizabeth Priestly Siffert, principal oboe, Houston Grand Opera and Ballet, and Alejandro Barranon, piano, University of Zacatecas, Mexico.

The theremin looks like an antenna, explained Detrick. “The sound and tones are controlled by the change in the position of the hands around it. The theremin can be heard in the movie, ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still.’”

Eyck is an avante garde instrumentalist and the theremin is unexpected in the context of chamber music. “That’s another intriguing aspect of this instrument,” Detrick said. “We hope the audience will appreciate this instrument as more than just a creepy sound in a scary movie. There’s new music being written for theremin and since Carolina is a singer and a composer, she’s the complete package. We think the different sounds of the ensemble coming together are creating something really compelling.”

For more information about this performance, or for information about the Bayou Theater’s 2018-19 season, visit

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