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Conversations with creators and organizers of the arts scene in West Michigan, hosted by Cara Lieurance

What it's like to play an instrument you can't feel... with feeling

Rob Schwimmer
Michael Weintrob
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Rob Schwimmer and his theremin

Rob Schwimmer plays piano, Hakan Continuum, and theremin — instruments requiring a solid touch, a light touch, and no touch at all. He’ll play all three in a program called Heart of Hearing at 2 pm on Saturday, May 13 at the Gilmore Piano Festival.

Schwimmer says it’s fine with him that his is the only concert labeled “avant garde” in the festival, but the music he’ll play is not of the “beep beep boop” variety. He plays songs from Great American Songbook with a crooning theremin sound that is uncannily like a human voice. The Hakan Continuum is a microtonal keyboard that he’ll use to play his arrangement of "Louange à l'Immortalité de Jésus"from Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. Schwimmer talks about what it takes to work with both instruments.

Both a solo artist and a collaborative player, Schwimmer says the creative community in New York City and Brooklyn leads to longstanding friendships and creative partnerships. His most recent album, also called Heart of Hearing, is available on Bandcamp.