Heidi Trautmann

833 - Three Concerts in Cyprus with the ‘Untouchable Instrument’ - Soloist Thorwald Joergen

By Heidi Trautmann


When I saw the announcement for the concerts with the strange title I had no idea what was expecting us and I am sure that only professional musicians will know the history of the soloist’s instrument. One of the musicians that master the ‘Untouchable Instrument’ Theremin is Torwald Joergensen who gave three concerts in Cyprus, in Limassol on Jan 14, in Nicosia South on Jan 15, and in Nicosia North on Jan 17, in the South with the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra and conductor Alkis Baltas, and in the North with the LBO – Lefkoşa Belediye Orchestra and conductor Oskay Hoça. I had heard a part of the rehearsal and was astonished to learn that to create music with this instrument you don’t touch it at all, the fingers play invisible strings between two antennas. The sound reminded me a little of a glass harp I first thought, but much more transcendental, not from this world.

What is the Theremin, I was asking myself and I did a little research on the internet and here is what I found: A description of it and a demonstration by the inventor himself. It is nothing new, the Theremin was invented in Russia by Lev Termen in 1919....but read for yourself:






And here is a video of the rehearsal with Thorwald Joergensen and the LBO Chamber Orchestra and Oskay Hoca to give us an idea what we missed on Sunday January 17 at the Levent College in Nicosia



The photos I also took from Oskay Hoca’s facebook page where I see that Thorwald Joergensen explains the instrument to people he has invited to come up on stage. What an unusual experience.


And here is what I found out about the soloist Thorwald Joergensen himself:

Jørgensen took up playing percussion instruments aged 14, and began playing in orchestras. He took up classical music as a career full time after graduating from the Utrecht and Tilburg Conservatory. He became influenced by the theremin after hearing the work of Clara Rockmore, and began researching the instrument's history and teaching himself how to play one.[1] As well as watching old videos of Rockmore, he consulted a friend who played the cello for musical advice.[2] He learned Rachmaninoff's "Vocalise" and it has become one of his favourite pieces.[1] He has subsequently played over 100 concerts using the theremin, including Saint Petersburg and a tour of the United States.[3] In 2014, Jørgensen performed at the Music and Beyond festival in Ottawa, performing Daniel Mehdizadeh's "The Awakening of Baron Samedi".[4] Together with Dutch harp player Renske de Leuw, Thorwald premiered "Sirenum scopuli" by Canadian composer Victor Herbiet at the X Rio Harp Festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2015.[5]

Jørgensen has been described as "one of the most important exponents of classical music on the theremin".[6] In interviews, he has said he considers the theremin capable of being a serious instrument, rather than the novelty it is normally perceived as. He believes he can reproduce all the sounds in a typical classical string section from double bass to violin.[2] In concert, usually after a performance of "Vocalise", he likes to explain the operation of the instrument to the audience, saying the performance "should be about the music and not about me playing in the air".[1] He has assembled a library of theremin music from stock libraries in both the Netherlands and worldwide, and has lectured on composition at the Amsterdam and Rotterdam Conservatory.[7]

Outside of classical music, Jørgensen has also played theremin on the Dutch progressive metal band Satinoxide's album "Still in the Sun".[8]


I always knew that there are more things between the earth and the sky. 

Thorwald Joergensen and LBO with Oskay Hoca
Thorwald Joergensen and LBO with Oskay Hoca

The soloist explaining the instrument to young people
The soloist explaining the instrument to young people

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