Seeking Emerging Artists to Participate in the Vancouver Experimental Theremin Orchestra

Seeking Emerging Artists to Participate in the Vancouver Experimental Theremin Orchestra

Are you an emerging artist between the ages of 18 and 24 interested in building and experimenting with a theremin?



With support from the TELUS Vancouver Community Board, VIVO Media Arts Centre and multimedia artists Wynne Palmer, Justin Devries, Rob Symmers and David Leith are hosting a free youth mentorship that will take place at VIVO from May-June, with a final performance in July.



 Mentorship Activities & Outcomes:

  • 2 hr. Talk and Demo (The Theremin in Contemporary Art Practice) & demo with VETO mentor Wynne Palmer + Calgary trained thereminist Kathryn Davies (aka Molly Merriweather)
  • Hands-on 14-16hrs. instruction in soldering and completing PAIA theremin kit, with musician Dave Leith and electronics expert Rob Symmers
  • 6-8hrs Rehearsal with both VETO + Laptop Orchestras, under guidance of Justin Devries
  • Live performance as new members of VETO in a major show
  • Learning to work with emerging/mid career/ senior artists, producers, musicians and dancers in show preparation, rehearsals and production for a live event.


Note: If you would like to get involved with the Theremin Orchestra but are outside of the age range specified, we have 4 spots available in an upcoming theremin workshop. To reserve a spot, call VIVO at 604-872-8337. (Cost for the workshop is $400 for members and $450 for non-members. This includes the cost of the theremin kit, priced at ~170+GST and shipping). If you have any questions, call VIVO or email Emily at education(at)

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What is the Vancouver Experimental Theremin Orchestra?

560868_461933853830529_1330614299_nThe Vancouver Experimental Theremin Orchestra (VETO) was formed by the participants in a theremin building workshop held at VIVO Media Arts Centre in Vancouver, BC in the summer of 2011. VETO was formed out of and continues to be supported by the Education Program at VIVO Media Arts Centre. VETO has performed for the Signal + Noise Festival, The Xenakis Festival for Vancouver New Music, for Interactive Futures: Animal Influence (, amongst other events.

VETO is the only theremin orchestra in Canada, and one of a few worldwide. Each member of the orchestra has a uniquely tuned instrument which contributes to the richness of the sound created by this ensemble.

The instrument was invented by a young Russian physicist named Lev Sergeivich Termen (known in the West as Léon Theremin) in October 1920. The controlling section usually consists of two metal antennas which sense the position of the player’s hands and control oscillators for frequency with one hand, and amplitude (volume) with the other, so it can be played without being touched. The electric signals from the theremin are amplified and sent to a loudspeaker. The theremin is associated with a very eerie sound, which has led to its use in movie soundtracks and especially avant-garde 20th and 21st century new music.

Criteria For Selection:

  • 18-24yrs. old
  • A firm commitment to complete all parts of the mentorship: the workshop, rehearsals, and final exhibition on July 4th (Exhibition at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire is optional)
  • A statement of intent: Tell us a bit about yourself, your background, and why you think you’d make a great fit for this mentorship.
  • No previous experience required. Just a strong desire to learn and create. If you have a background in music production, or multimedia arts, do tell us about it.

 Key Dates:

Intro to the mentorship:

Tuesday, May 19th, 6-8 pm

Theremin Build:

May 23rd and 24th, 10am-5 pm.

Rehearsal Dates:

June 9th, June 13th, June 26th and July 3rd, 7-9 pm

Final Exhibition:

July 4th at VIVO

Choosing an enclosure for your Theremin:

It must be made of wood or fibreboard no metal .  We have found that the antennas for a Therimin should be at least 30cm apart and some of the best machines had theirs 45cm+ apart— so the ideal box size would be 12cm high x 12cm deep x 30+cm long with the control panel on the 12cm side facing the operator. The control panel measures 9cm x 27.5cm and can be placed on the top or the front side.   Keep in mind that if it’s placed on the top the cables and jacks that come out of panel may interfere with the operation of the Therimin as they may come close to the antennas. Some examples are flatware cases, jewellery boxes, instrument cases (microscope), boxes for machinist tools (Large micrometer, Height gage) old dome style sewing machine covers.

To apply, please fill in the following application. If you have any questions, email Emily at education(at)

** Application closes May 8th.


Wynne Palmer

OutdoorPicWynne Palmer is an interdisciplinary artist, curator and producer. She is currently assistant administrator/project manager for 20 media artists in LocoMotoArt, a co-founder and member of the Vancouver Experimental Theremin Orchestra and artist in residency with the Vancouver Park Board from 2013-2015. Holding a BFA (Graphic Design + Photography), BFA Visual Arts and certificates and diplomas in communication design and business administration, she has exhibited and performed in numerous exhibitions and festivals both locally and internationally. Wynne has a keen interest in community engagement, from building skills with media arts to the business of being an artist.




Justin Devries


Justin Devries is a musician, composer, and educator who loves exploring the intersection of percussion, electronics, improvisation and Gamelan, among other things.  When not bouncing around from rehearsal to rehearsal, he also produces Vancouver New Music’s Sonic Playground, is an Artist in Residence with the Vancouver Park Board with the artist collective Publik Secrets, and has performed and studied percussion both nationally and internationally.  If he’s not doing any of those things he’s probably sitting somewhere thinking too hard about Balinese Gamelan.




David Leith

407884_343554029001846_1862712381_nFrom early childhood experiments trying making his parents clocks run backwards and robot controlled curtains Dave quickly moved into the world of circuit bending and building. His current artist practice includes design, photography and sound art as well as construction of analog synthesizers/electronics. Current he is developing custom Max/MSP/Jitter software for both audio compositions and multi-media installations which has been exhibited recently in the Patterns show at Aberthau, Thru The Trap Door (On Main Gallery with LocoMotoArt), Queen Elizabeth Park and VIVO’s Signal & Noise Festival.




Rob Symmers

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 12.29.22 PMRob started working with electronics at the age of twelve, long before every electronic store had kits – back then it was a trip to the library to get a book on scratch built projects.  The first was a crystal radio that worked surprisingly well.  The next years were followed by light sensing, relay control and other projects that are lost in the sands of time…  At sixteen he bought an acetylene welding set and started making metal art.  His work history encompassed custom sheetmetal shops, machine shops, marine fabrication and electrical.  Now he works full time creating kinetic sculptures and sound art in his home machine shop.





What is the Youth Mentorship Program?


The Youth Mentorship Series at VIVO gives emerging artists (ages 18-24 years) an opportunity to develop skills in performance and experimental art practices, while collaborating with established artists in a media arts setting. The focus of this series is to integrate youth into artist-run centre culture in order to foster the next generation of local media artists in Vancouver. Mentorships so far have included coding for the 3d POV mentorship at Science World, and a Career Development mentorship with a final, student-led exhibition at the end. Each mentorship was offered free of charge and included skill development with exhibition opportunities in a supportive, media-arts environment.


Past Youth Mentorship Programs:



Pietro Sammarco is the Education Coordinator at VIVO. Talk to him if you want to host or attend a workshop, or want to get involved in a special project. In addition to running the education department at VIVO, he also teaches audio production, records bands, does music and sound for film, DJ's karaoke, and performs music with several groups.