Divine Hand Ensemble’s Unique Mix of Science, Music Coming to WCU

Image via The Divine Hand Ensemble.

A brand of rarely heard music that can only be described as “ethereal, eloquent, and mesmerizing” – as one critic put it – is coming to West Chester University.

WCU Live! is continuing its stellar season of performances by welcoming the Divine Hand Ensemble to the Madeleine Wing Adler Theater on Friday, March 3 at 7:30 PM.

Founded in 2009, the Divine Hand Ensemble is led by Mano Divina on the Theremin, an electronic musical instrument controlled purely by the precise movements of the Thereminist’s hands. The ensemble also includes a string quartet, classical guitarist, two harpists, a soprano, and a tenor.

Collectively, their breathless entertainment is said to leave audiences “hanging on every note and gesture.”

The Theremin has been widely used by composers of film scores for its eerie sound quality. Legendary film composer Bernard Herrmann used the Theremin as a key component for the soundtrack of the classic The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Divina’s playing of the instrument is different, though.

“(Mano) has his own lyrical sound,” said Gloria Galante, a 30-year veteran of WCU’s faculty, founder of its harp program, and member of the ensemble. “It’s a real thrill to hear him play the Theremin with an operatic voice, making it sing. Nobody else is doing what he’s doing.”

The Theremin, invented in 1928 by Leon Theremin, uses metal antennas and amplifiers to fuse music and science.

“Theremin was intrigued by the notion that a person’s natural body capacities could interfere with the capacity of a circuit and change its parameters,” said Divina.

The Divine Hand Ensemble embraces this tradition by going to schools and teaching students the connection between science and music.

“The whole group fosters the science of Leon Theremin, Nikola Tesla, and Clara Rockmore,” said Galante. “West Chester University does not have a Theremin, so this is a one-of-a-kind opportunity.”

“To me, it is electricity singing, pure and simple,” said Divina.

The Divine Hand Ensemble’s mix of opera music, classics, movie scores, and classic rock songs has earned it an international following. The group has played for a variety of audiences – including the Pope and the Serbian Royal Family – and in interesting locations, like atop the crypts at Philadelphia’s Laurel Hill Cemetery.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear the divinity of the Divine Hand Ensemble in concert. As an added bonus, Divina may bring a Theremin for audience members to try out themselves.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors, and can be purchased by clicking here.

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