Carolina Eyck is a German-Sorbian musician and composer, largely recognized as the world’s leading theremin virtuoso. She was awarded the Echo Klassik Prize for “Concert Recording of the Year” in 2015. Eyck developed her own precise eight-finger-position playing technique by age 16 and published the first extensive theremin method book The Art of Playing the Theremin . Her method is now being used by thereminists around the world and has revolutionized how the instrument is played. She was one of the performers at this year’s Summer Kiezsalon in the beautiful sculpture garden of the Kunsthaus Dahlem.
1: I have perfect pitch.
2: Bunnies bunnies bunnies – I simply love them!
3: I’m Sorbian, part of my family comes from the slavic minority in East Germany called the Sorbs.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Most of my inspiration come from non-musical sources: colours, nature, the melodies of spoken word. Besides that, I always try to tune myself to the here and now. The theremin, even though it doesn’t look like it, is such a physical instrument: every little movement matters, every breath matters. I see this as an advantage, an invitation to be present and to connect to the current moment. I would say this is my main inspiration, and the first thing on my mind when I’m improvising.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
I started with the piano when I was 5 years old; the violin when I was 6, and I started playing the theremin when I was 7. My parents were involved in the electronic music scene and because of that my brother and I had a very musical upbringing.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
That’s hard to say, because my favorite music changes all the time. At the moment I love to dance to KC Roberts & the Live Revolution ‘Parkdale Funk 2: Sides’.
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
Tiergarten, definitely. I love taking a walk at dusk; it’s the best time to spot the wild rabbits, which are so many and so lovely.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I guess I would study languages if I wasn’t making music. I think it’s one of the most fascinating things.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
It was June Coco’s ‘Fantasies & Fine Lines’. She has a unique sensibility and such a beautiful voice.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I suppose Sting or Bobby McFerrin. They are great inspirations for me as an artist.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
It was when I premiered Regis Campo’s ‘Dancefloor with Pulsing’ in Belgium, at the Bozar 2018. Great piece, great venue, great audience, everything about it was remarkable and I feel very grateful for the experience.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
Without technology I wouldn’t be able to play my music. Besides the theremin, I’m using midi controllers, guitar pedals and Ableton Live. Technology makes it possible to shape and move sound the way I envision it, it makes magic happen. I truly believe that we artists should use technology to achieve our vision, but we have to be careful and not let technology drown us, drive us to do something simply because the technology is available. Technology should be a tool, not the finality.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
Yes, we work together so no problems!
Carolina Eyck is a German-Sorbian musician and composer, largely recognized as the world’s leading theremin virtuoso. She was awarded the Echo Klassik Prize for ‘Concert Recording of the Year’ in 2015. Eyck developed her own precise eight-finger-position playing technique by age 16 and published the first extensive theremin method book ‘The Art of Playing the Theremin’. Her method is now being used by thereminists around the world and has revolutionized how the instrument is played.
She has performed in concert halls around the world and has been a soloist with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Brussels Philharmonic, Argentine National Symphony Orchestra, and more. Concertos for theremin and orchestra have been written for Eyck by composers including Kalevi Aho, Andrew Norman, Dalit Warshaw, and Régis Campo. She was also featured in the premiere of Fazil Say’s Universe and Mesopotamia Symphonies. Carolina Eyck has performed in a duo with pianist and composer Christopher Tarnow since 2013, producing two records.
In 2016, she released an album featuring her own composition “Fantasias for Theremin and String Quartet” with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble. In 2016, Carolina Eyck began touring her innovative solo Theremin & Voice program. She breaks new ground by using a surround sound system, allowing her theremin to break free and fill the space. Loops and choirs developed on stage fly through the room in sync with the movements of her dance-like performance.
Balancing between minimal and progressive electronic music, Carolina’s melodic and partly fixed composition style leaves plenty of space for her virtuoso improvisations. Her transcription of Ennio Morricone’s ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ has been viewed more than 15 million times online. She enjoys collaborating with contemporary artists from a variety of genres, and has performed or recorded with rock legend Steve Vai, singer-songwriter Gotye, DJ Jeff Mills, guitarist Jim Moginie, Tangerine Dream, multi-instrumentalist Jacob Collier, and vocalist Theo Bleckmann, among others.
Carolina Eyck regularly conducts theremin workshops, lectures, and master classes worldwide. She is the artistic director of the Theremin Academy in Colmar (France), Leipzig, and Berlin (Germany). In 2018, she gave a TEDx Talk about the symbiosis of self-control and freedom while playing the theremin. A documentary about her work, “Carolina and the Waves,” is currently in production.
Photo © Ananda Costa