Carolina Eyck and Clarice Jensen: Tiny Desk Concert Carolina Eyck, the first artist to bring a theremin to the Tiny Desk, plays the air with the kind of lyrical phrasing and "fingered" articulation that takes a special kind of virtuosity.

Tiny Desk

Carolina Eyck and Clarice Jensen

How do you play an instrument you never physically touch? Watch Carolina Eyck. She's the first to bring a theremin to the Tiny Desk. The early electronic instrument with the slithery sound was invented almost 100 years ago by Leon Theremin, a Soviet scientist with a penchant for espionage. It looks like a simple black metal box with a couple of protruding antennae, but to play the theremin like Eyck does, with her lyrical phrasing and precisely "fingered" articulation, takes a special kind of virtuosity.

"I'm really playing air," she tells the Tiny Desk audience. "I don't touch anything while I play." The position of the hands influences electromagnetic fields to produce pitch and volume. Recognized as one of today's preeminent theremin specialists, Eyck writes her own compositions, such as the pulsating "Delphic" which opens the set, and she's got big shot composers writing theremin concertos for her.

Joining Eyck for this two-musician-in-one Tiny Desk is cellist Clarice Jensen. When she's not making gorgeous, drone-infused albums like last year's For This From That Will be Filled, Jensen directs one of today's leading new music outfits, ACME, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble. "Three Leos," composed by Jensen, offers her masterful art of looping the cello into symphonic layers of swirling, submerged choirs with a wistful tune soaring above.

The two musicians close with "Frequencies," a piece jointly composed specifically for this Tiny Desk performance. Amid roiling figures in cello and melodies hovering in the theremin, listen closely for a wink at the NPR Morning Edition theme music.

Set List

  • "Delphic"
  • "Three Leos"
  • "Frequencies"

Credits

Producers: Tom Huizenga, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Kaylee Domzalski, Kara Frame; Production Assistant: Brie Martin; Photo: Cameron Pollack/NPR

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Alejandro Escovedo performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Jan. 16, 2019 (Claire Harbage/NPR). Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Alejandro Escovedo

The veteran rocker and a backup band from Italy play songs from their album The Crossing, chronicling an American Dream of rock and roll and Beat poetry.

Nao performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 11, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Nao

The U.K.-based singer-songwriter takes the Tiny Desk on a cosmic journey through her Saturn return.

John Paul White performs at the Tiny Desk Family Hour at Central Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas, during the SXSW 2019 music festival. Aaron Rogosin/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Aaron Rogosin/NPR

Tiny Desk Family Hour: John Paul White

The former Civil Wars star performed a new song that even makes his kids cry.

Cautious Clay performs at the Tiny Desk Family Hour at Central Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas, during the SXSW 2019 music festival. Adam Kissick/Courtesy of SXSW hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick/Courtesy of SXSW

Tiny Desk Family Hour: Cautious Clay

The Brooklyn-based artist, in addition to offering up an impeccable vocal performance, brought perhaps the only flute solo of SXSW 2019 to NPR Music's Tiny Desk Family Hour.

Gaelynn Lea performs at the Tiny Desk Family Hour at Central Presbyterian Church in Austin, TX during the SXSW 2019 music festival. Adam Kissick/Courtesy of the photographer hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick/Courtesy of the photographer

Tiny Desk Family Hour: Gaelynn Lea

The former Tiny Desk Contest winner brought the crowd to its collective feet.

Back To Top