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Student Spotlight - Colin Boothby

Have you heard of the music instrument called theremin? Read on to learn more about Music and Culture student Colin Boothby's journey of discovering his passion with the theremin.

Written by Colin Boothby.

Growing up, I found I had a great love for music-making. Traditional instruments never appealed to me though, and I began searching for an instrument I would truly love. Eventually I re-discovered the theremin, an instrument I had always been curious about as a child. The first theremin performance I ever heard (a cover of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow") moved me to tears; I fell in love immediately, and I decided I would dedicate my musical journey to this instrument. 

I am very grateful to have networked with many professional players and personal role-models over the last few years. The Theremin Online Academy was one such opportunity. Usually held in Europe, the pandemic prompted the 2021 Academy organizers to host the event virtually, allowing me to attend 50 continuous hours of theremin-related programming with professionals from around the world. Workshops about theremin history, technical practice, artist showcases, critiques, electrical engineering, music theory, and more were included. Many new friendships came out of this experience, and a tremendous amount of learning. 

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Charlie Draper, who gave a presentation on the history of the theremin. Part of this history is the Caramoor Archive, a private collection of sheet music composed for Lucie Bigelow Rosen and her theremin. I am honoured to be one of the few thereminists in the world with access to this archive: it has given me the opportunity to bring music unheard for up to 70 years back into the world. Currently, I am working on Achron's Nocturne-Fantasia for theremin and piano, and I hope to perform even more of this amazing repertoire soon.

I am grateful for the theremin and all it has given me every day, and I am so excited to continue sharing my passion with my peers, mentors, and colleagues here at UTSC! 

Click here for Colin's YouTube channel.

July 2022.