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Theremin Ether Music and Espionage cover
  • ISBN: 9780252025822
  • ISBN10: 0252025822

Theremin Ether Music and Espionage

by Albert Glinsky

  • List Price: $34.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Illinois Pr
  • Publish date: 10/01/2000
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Description
Leon Theremin led a life of flamboyant musical invention laced with daring electronic stealth. A creative genius and prolific inventor, Theremin launched the field of electronic music virtually singlehandedly in 1920 with the musical instrument that bears his name. The theremin -- the only instrument that is played without being touched -- created a sensation worldwide and paved the way for the modern synthesizer. Its otherworldly sound became familiar in sci-fi films and even in rock music. This magical instrument that charmed millions, however, is only the beginning of the story.

As a Soviet scientist, Theremin surrendered his life and work to the service of State espionage. On assignment in Depression-era America, he became the toast of New York society while passing data on U.S. industrial technology to the Soviet apparat. Following his sudden disappearance from New York in 1938, Theremin was exiled to a Siberian labor camp and subsequently vanished into the top-secret Soviet intelligence machine, presumed dead for nearly thirty years. Using the same technology that lay behind the theremin, he designed bugging devices that eavesdropped on U.S. diplomatic offices and stood at the center of a pivotal cold war confrontation. Throughout his life, Theremin developed many other electronic wonders, including one of the earliest televisions and multimedia devices that anticipated performance art and virtual reality by decades.

In this first full biography of Leon Theremin, Albert Glinsky depicts the inventor's nearly one hundred-year life span as a microcosm of the twentieth century. No less than a metaphor for the divergence of communism and capitalism, Theremin's life of espionage andinvention is an amazing drama of hidden loyalties, mixed motivations, and an irrepressibly creative spirit.

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