Front Range Chamber Players to Perform April 15 at UW

woman posing dramatically in front of metal power towers
Lara Wickes

Front Range Chamber Players will present “Theremin: Hollywood to Wyoming” at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 15, in the University of Wyoming’s Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts recital hall.

The free public concert will feature String Quartet No. 10 in E-flat major, Op. 74 (the “Harp” quartet) by Ludwig van Beethoven; Sonata for Oboe and Piano by Camille Saint-Saens; and “Fantasia” for theremin, oboe, string quartet and piano by Bohuslav Martinů.

Front Range Chamber Players are UW Department of Music Professor Theresa Bogard, piano; Ron François and Erik Peterson, violin; Joseph Howe, cello; Phillip Stevens, viola; and Nicholas Tisherman, oboe.

Guest artist Lara Wickes, principal oboe for the New West, Pasadena and Santa Barbara, Calif., symphonies, is featured on the theremin, the first electronic instrument. It is named for its inventor, Leon Theremin, who patented the device in 1928.

The volume is controlled with the left hand and the pitch with the right. Moving closer to the instrument raises the pitch. In the past, most theremin players were self-taught or learned from others, but several instructional videos and tips for learning are now available online.

Wickes discovered the instrument as a high school student in Corvallis, Ore. After watching the documentary “Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey” with her parents, she was intrigued. That December, she found, under the family’s Christmas tree, an unusual box -- a theremin -- built from a kit by her father.

Wickes’ musical talents enabled her to teach herself to play the instrument, and she occasionally performed the theremin in ensembles. In college, her instructor, oboist David Weiss, also played the theremin and recommended she play it with the local youth orchestra. She subsequently was invited to play -- after upgrading to a more professional-level instrument -- at Carnegie Hall as part of an orchestra ensemble.

She has coached actor Jim Parsons for an episode of the hit television show “The Big Bang Theory,” and Wickes has played the Halloween themes on the theremin for several episodes of the long-running animated program “The Simpsons.”

Wickes, now based in Los Angeles, says she is excited to perform the theremin with Front Range Chamber Players this spring.

For more information, call Kathy Kirkaldie, UW Fine Arts coordinator, at (307) 766-2160 or email

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