Moog Claravox Centennial Celebrates The 100th Anniversary Of The Theremin

Moog Music today introduced the Claravox Centennial Theremin, a new theremin that’s designed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the theremin and named to honor the first theremin virtuosa, Clara Rockmore.

They also shared a new video, embedded above, capturing a performance on the Claravox by French musician Grégoire Blanc, accompanied by pianist Orane Donnadieu. Moog describes the performance as a tribute to the classical duets of Rockmore and her sister, pianist Nadia Reisenberg.

The Claravox Centennial is designed to be a flagship theremin, with a fine-grained walnut cabinet, brass antennas and cloth bound control panels. While the Claravox has a classic look, though, it’s the most advanced theremin design that Moog has ever created.

Switchable Traditional and Modern performance modes let you choose between classic heterodyne analog oscillators and wavetable generators, with assignable scales, quantization, and octave ranges. An analog wave-shaping circuit (derived from the Etherwave Pro) offers additional sound-sculpting options and an on-board analog BBD delay lets you create classic delay effects.

It’s also designed to offer a wide range of customization for differing playing styles.

Other features include MIDI and CV inputs and outputs for integrating with DAWs or controlling external sound sources, front-panel preset storage for instant recall of your favorite sounds and settings, optional pitch quantization and scale selections and a dedicated software editor to further expand the instrument’s control and sonic capabilities.

Pricing and Availability:

The Claravox Centennial is available for pre-order today, priced at $1,499 USD, with units expected to begin shipping in December 2020. Moog says that it will be available for a limited time only.

A matching walnut instrument stand, as well as a left-hand configuration of the instrument, are also available.

24 thoughts on “Moog Claravox Centennial Celebrates The 100th Anniversary Of The Theremin

  1. gorgeous and artistic. stunning! Moog nevers skimps on their creative content, and it really seperates them from the rest of the pack i feel in terms of emotional connection. The ROI on video dept and creative direction is that the brand as a whole is lifted IMO.

  2. Been going thru and watching my dvd collection of 50’s sci-fi and horror films the last few weeks mining samples and have heard tons of theremin sounds, this was really beautiful.

  3. How many intro videos for a piece of gear are actually beautiful?

    This is a gorgeous new instrument and the video offers an impressive demo of what it can do.

  4. it looks like this takes the best of traditional theremins and combines it with the best features of the Theremini that they released a few years ago.

    I’d like to hear some demos of this that explore the capabilities of the built in synth engine and the CV/Gate capabilities.

  5. Theremin also created the first drum machine, the Rhytmicon

    As well as plenty more…….

    During his work at the sharashka, where he was put in charge of other workers, Theremin created the Buran eavesdropping system. A precursor to the modern laser microphone, it worked by using a low-power infrared beam from a distance to detect sound vibrations in glass windows.[2][42] Lavrentiy Beria, the head of the secret police organization NKVD (the predecessor of the KGB), used the Buran device to spy on the British, French and US embassies in Moscow.[42] According to Galeyev, Beria also spied on Stalin; Theremin kept some of the tapes in his flat. In 1947, Theremin was awarded the Stalin prize for inventing this advance in Soviet espionage technology.

    Theremin invented another listening device called The Thing, hidden in a replica of the Great Seal of the United States carved in wood. In 1945, Soviet school children presented the concealed bug to the U.S. Ambassador as a “gesture of friendship” to the USSR’s World War II ally. It hung in the ambassador’s residential office in Moscow and intercepted confidential conversations there during the first seven years of the Cold War, until it was accidentally discovered in 1952.

    1. I’d highly recommend Albert Glinsky’s biography of Leon Theremin.

      Theremin was definitely a brilliant guy, with a fascinating life. But the book also paints a very complicated portrait of him. It sounds like he basically was allowed to come to the west and share his inventions as cover for spying. It also sounds like he didn’t necessarily have much of an allegiance to any country or to anyone but more to himself.

      The biography is a great read though!

  6. Great instrument, so expressive, wonderful performance and video … and I’m so greatfull to Moog that they used the Pyramid from La Voix du Luthier !

  7. I’ve never seen him perform before but he’s a world class thereminst. He’s using Carolina Eyck’s technique with the right hand, and really precise dynamics with the left.

    Lovely instrument too.

  8. A touching performance by both players, really. Filmed very nice by the way, and Blanc plays stunningly precise. Class!

  9. I have a Theremini and I can’t get it to sound like that! 😛 I’d say that impressive demo is in the Near-Perfect category. The wavetable generators and BBD make it the ultimate expression of the instrument. Definitely for the serious thereminist above anyone else. Well with the price.

  10. My guess is the pitches are pre-programmed with a sequencer. I’m unconvinced he can pitch those notes and scales in real time with one hand,

  11. Oh yes – he can pitch those notes. Read up on Clara Rockmores fingering method. Most players develop their own approach based on her method. She could do amazing runs.. have a look at old vids on Youtube.

    OK – there’s some info on features here – but no info on how it responds, which is what theremin-players – even novices like me – would like to know more about…

    Have they sorted out the main problem with the Etherwave Pro on this one? The volume circuit was too snappy. This paved the way for modifications – especially the one by Thierry Frenkel – that enables the user to choose among various response curves. I installed it on my unit – and it makes it possible for me to achieve finer expression on the amplitude at note start.. deadly important if you want to play any classical music like for instance the Clair De Lune on that demo.. (!) I’m not able to figure it out just by watching it..

    Shitload of options on timbres are more or less NOT that interesting for theremin players (and that includes my Etherwave Pro which has a lot)… most of us will try to dial in the sound of an old vacuum-tube RCA-theremin anyway.. (which is what I really would like Moog to make – a vacuum tube theremin) IMHO it all boils down to playability. Pitch-correction however is a big no-no… – there’s no way to hone your skills with that kinda feature activated…

    Dr. Moog made the Etherwave Pro – and it’s still one of the best theremins ever made. This one may be even better (if the volume thingy is sorted that is). It’s a very pleasant surprise indeed.

    Pricing I would say to be in the region of fair to cheap. Especially compared to the second hand prices of Etherwave Pros these days.. which are.. hold your breath.. in the region of $4000-7000 (!). I think this one will make them prices drop like an iron without a parachute. A guy here in Norway offered me some $4000 for mine last year. Absolutely silly prices – but the reason for this – is of course the fact that there are very few on sale – in addition to the fact that there are a rising number of serious theremin-players in the world. Now there is one! A new top-end theremin!

    Uli could easily fix the theremin-mess. Make one mass produced vacuum tube theremin, and all the others would be obsolete… When RCA made theremins – the general idea was that having a theremin in you living room should be just as normal as having a piano there.. 🙂

    Have a nice weekend! Cheers.

  12. I preordered one in a moment of insanity. I have a vacuum tube Keppinger Mark 1 that I built. It has a nice sound but the issue of these types is portability. Big coils, heavy transformers. One is afraid of dropping the instrument if moved.

  13. Researched the thing a bit more deeply.. and YES!! it’s got settings for response-curves (not just antenna sensitivity). So the volume-issue I mentioned earlier seems to be taken good care of.
    I’m buying one – deffo!!

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