Festival plucks music from thin air

SOUND STAGE ... Anthony Springall promotes Hand Off 2011  by performing a little routine on South Bay
SOUND STAGE ... Anthony Springall promotes Hand Off 2011 by performing a little routine on South Bay
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Hands Off 2011 is a musical festival featuring Theremin players heading for Scarborough.

Enthusiasts will congregate in the town for a long weekend of talks, workshops, masterclasses and performances, some of which are open to the public to attend.

The Theremin is an electronic instrument invented in 1919 by Leon Theremin and mastered by Clara Rockmore and is played by the likes of electronic guru Jean Michel Jarre, Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and musical comedian Bill Bailey.

Many people will also have heard the sound of the Theremin as lead instrument in the title music of detective series Midsomer Murders, played by Celia Sheen.

And film buffs will also know the sound of the Theremin from movies such as The Day the Earth Stood Still, Spellbound and The Thing.

Recent films scores of note include Ed Wood and The Machinist, both of which feature virtuoso Thereminist Lydia Kavina who is just one of the many experts coming to Scarborough.

One of the highlights of the weekend is set to be a concert in the Spa Theatre.

Anthony Springall, one of the organisers of HO11, said: “It’s spectacular to see these musicians literally pluck notes out of thin air and play pitch-perfect music. It’s hypnotic.

“We’re delighted to be hosting these Theremin players, who are among the best in the world at their craft.”

The symposium will begin on the Friday, with those taking part congregating at Oliver’s Mount and playing a musical “welcome” on their instrument, which will be recorded and pressed on to vinyl.

Saturday will see the focus of switch to the University of Hull Scarborough campus for masterclasses and demonstrations. University lecturer Robert Mackay said: “We are delighted to be hosting such an exciting event at the university, and it is a wonderful opportunity.

The Theremin invasion continues on the Sunday of the event, culminating in a spectacular concert at the Spa Theatre.

Among the names confirmed at the symposium are the grand-niece of the Theremin inventor, Lydia Kavina, and virtuosos Carolina Eyck, Barbara Buchholz, Thorwald Jorgensen, Olesya Rostovskaya, Wilco Botermans, YouTube sensation Thomas Grillo, and electronic genius Thierry Frenkel.

The events runs from July 29 to August 1.