Although the music of Jason Smeltzer and Wayne Smith has a classic feel to it, Smeltzer said it would be difficult to pin it to a specific genre, describing the sound instead as “grounded in classical and strange things.”
The duo, “Music for Theremin and Piano,” will perform during the Clarks Summit Festival of Ice Sunday, Feb. 17 at the Abington Community Library from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. with Smith on the piano and Smeltzer playing the Theremin, an instrument he said he first purchased as “a piece of junk” for a joke.
According to his short artist biography, Smeltzer has been performing and demonstrating the theremin for about ten years now.
“The Theremin was invented in the 1920's by Leon Theremin,” the bio states. “It was essentially the first musical instrument to use electricity...He [Smeltzer] gives frequent theremin performances and demonstrations at museum, libraries, schools, and universities.”
The theremin is played without physical contact. Smelter explained, “It works kind of like a burglar alarm, with an oscillator and antenna.”
Smeltzer said his musical background and influence consists mostly of classical, jazz and pop, while Smith leans more towards jazz.
Smith is an improviser, composer, and pianist. His artist biography states, “A native of Brooklyn, NY, he grew up in Westfield, New Jersey. He has appeared recently as a featured guest on WVIA public Radio. Other appearances as both a soloist and in groups include performances at the Waverly Community House, Columbia University, Le Moyne College, and recently at The Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum with Jason Smeltzer on Theremin. Overseas, he has performed in both Korea and Japan. A resident of Pennsylvania since 2004, Wayne’s performances can be heard on both LP and CD recordings.”
“Both of us have a passion for the 20th century classical music,” Smeltzer said, adding that during shows, they try to play whatever the crowd wants to hear, taking the music as far as those in attendance desire.
Although this will be the duo’s first time playing for the festival, Smeltzer said he’s attended before and it’s “always been a nice walk about.”