Biography

Photo Lydia Kavina at Concert

Born in Moscow and currently living in Oxfordshire, UK, Lydia Kavina is one of the leading performing musicians on the theremin. Lydia began studying the theremin at the age of 9 under the direction of  Léon Theremin, who was first cousin of her grandfather.  Five years later she was ready to give her first  theremin concert, which marked the beginning of her musical career that has so far led to more than a thousand concerts and theatre, radio and television performances of classic and contemporary music, throughout the world.

Lydia’s most notable recent works were solo performance in Danny Elfman’s UK concert tour with BBC concert orchestra and  London Concert orchestra (2013-2014), as well as the theremin solo in ''The Little Mermaid'', a ballet by Lera Auerbach, choreographed by John Neumeier, in Copenhagen New Opera House, Hamburger Staatsoper and Beijing Tianqiao Theater, (2005-2015).

As a solo performer Ms. Kavina appeared at such prestigious venues as the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, London Royal Albert Hall, Chatelet Theatre in Paris, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Caramoor center NY, USA. She collaborated with the Netherlands Radio Orchestra under Reinbert de Lewes, National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia under V. Spivakov, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Duesseldorfer Philarmonica and other.

Lydia was invited by leading music festivals, including New York's Lincoln Center Festival, the Holland Music Festival, the Martinu Festival in Prague, the Electronic Music Festival in Burge, and Moscow “Avantgarde”.

Lydia played for a number of film soundtracks including “Ed Wood” and “eXistetnZ” with music  by Howard Shore and ''The Machinist'' by Roque Banos.

Lydia Kavina has also featured in numerous stage productions, such as ''Alice'' and ''The Black Rider'' (both conceived and directed by Robert Wilson, with music by Tom Waits) in the Hamburg Thalia Theater and Halle Kalk in Cologne. She also played for stage productions of Russian Bolshoi, Hamburg Schauspielhaus, Karlsruhe ZKM, Flemisch Opera, Teatro di San Carlo in Naples and other.

As a theremin enthusiast Lydia  constantly seeks to expand the theremin repertoire, frequently performing lesser known music of the 20th century such as  “Equatorial” by E. Varese, Obouchov's “Testament” and the graphical scores of Percy Grainger.  Kavina’s recent contemporary music project is “Nicht zu fassen”, the duet for theremin and accordion (Roman Yusipey), that includes works of Messiaen, Cage and Gubaidulina.

Lydia has written a number of her own compositions, including a Concerto for theremin and symphony orchestra, first performed by the Boston Modern Orchestra, under Gil Rose, in 1997.

Ms. Kavina is an active promoter of new experimental music for the theremin. In collaboration with Barbara Buchholz and Kamerensemble Neue Musik Berlin she established “Touch! Don't Touch!” concert project and commissioned 20 modern composers in writing contemporary pieces for the theremin.


Mrs. Kavina’s CDs were released by MODE records and Wergo and include original music for theremin by Bohuslav Martinu, Joseph Schillinger, Howard Shore, Percy Grainger, Misklos Rozsa and otheres. Her video tutorial “Mastering the Theremin”, recorded with Moog Music in1994, is widely used among beginning thereminists.



Lydia is strongly committed to educational activities, encouraging student musicians and beginners to learn the instrument and take the instrument seriously. She constantly integrates master classes, and lectures in her concert schedule. She regularly gives theremin workshops in Bate collection of Oxford Music faculty and teaches at annual Theremin Academy in Lippstadt and Leipzig, Germany.

Ms. Kavina holds a degree in composition from the Moscow Conservatory, where she also accomplished a postgraduate assistantship program and conducted a class of classical theremin at the studio of electronic music for a number of years.


Lydia Kavina: "I was 9 years old and he was over 80 years of age. Theremin arrived at our home every Friday evening. When I opened the door for him, he alsways made me a gift of some cake or sweets before we began our lessons. His teaching was not strict or formal; I was allowed to play whatever I wanted to play while he sat in an old armchair and listened."
Continue reading Lydia Kavina: Memories of Lev Theremin
Lev
                  Theremin is teaching Lydia in 1976, photo by Snegirev
                  from the archive of L. Kavina