About the Juliet Shaw Legacy Project

The Juliet Shaw Legacy Project is made possible by the combined efforts of Sandra Shaw Murphy and thereminist, Kip Rosser. Its goals are threefold:

1) First and foremost the goal is to donate the entire collection, including Juliet Shaw’s theremin, to an institution – one willing to house the collection and exhibit it.

2) Before the collection can be donated, it is necessary to properly organize, archive and digitize the entire collection of materials. This consists of hundreds of items of printed matter as well as dozens of hours of audio and rare video recordings.

3) The preservation of Juliet Shaw’s custom theremin.


The Project Begins

The vast living/main room at the Silvermine School of Music is where lessons and concerts have taken place since Juliet founded the school in 1939. It is filled with antiques, three grand pianos and there is room for an audience of 90 to 100 people. Juliet Shaw’s theremin stands in a far corner of the room.

The first meeting between Sandra Shaw Murphy, Karen Shaw and Kip Rosser took place in the summer of 2008. Rosser had requested the meeting out of sheer curiosity regarding Juliet Shaw after seeing her name mentioned in the acknowledgements section of a biography of Leon Theremin. At the time, details of her life and career were virtually unknown unless one somehow found oneself on the Silvermine School of Music’s web site (see finding Juliet Shaw). After visiting the web site, Rosser’s intent was to visit the school in order to learn more and, with permission, shoot a short video interview with the two sisters.

Sandra and Karen were very welcoming, witty, and humorous. In addition to discussing the life and career of their mother, they shared a small box filled with some of their mother’s memorabilia – some articles, photos and concert programs. They also said that that were more materials “somewhere in the house.” The two sisters demonstrated their mother’s playing techniques. One of the highlights of the afternoon was an impromptu attempt to play Clair de Lune with Sandra on piano, Kip on Juliet’s theremin and Karen behind the camera. All in all, a wonderful and memorable visit.

Just two weeks later, due to a series of mishaps and unforeseen circumstances, all of the photos and video footage Kip shot that day were lost. He apologetically informed Sandra and Karen about what had happened. They all spoke of scheduling another date, not knowing it would take another 14 years.

Somewhere around November of 2021, as Rosser was organizing his archives, he was working on an external hard drive and discovered that he had inadvertently saved fragments of the 2008 meeting in a wrong folder. Although all of the interview footage was still lost, Sandra and Karen’s demonstrations of Juliet’s theremin technique survived, along with the Clair de Lune and some footage of the theremin. In April of 2022, Rosser assembled the footage, and while sending a link to Silvermine, he learned that Karen had passed away in 2019. Sandra, however, saw the footage, prompting her to ask that she and Rosser meet again. The first new meeting took place in June of 2022.

When Rosser arrived, he was utterly overwhelmed. Instead of the small box he saw in 2008, the main room was now filled with dozens of envelopes, boxes and bags that Sandra had unearthed in anticipation of the meeting. There were hundreds of artifacts: stacks of newspaper articles, concert programs, photographs, piles of sheet music, vinyl recordings, audio cassettes, boxes and boxes of reel-to-reel tapes scattered in piles and boxes. There were also 5 video tapes in various formats.

By August, Sandra generously decided to entrust Rosser with this vast wealth of materials, all of which were to become the Juliet Shaw Legacy Collection. Rosser began the arduous process of sorting, organizing, classifying, archiving, and digitizing everything. He also searched out vendors all over the country who were able to process unique items that required special machines or processes. Meanwhile, Sandra continued to discover much more in the months that followed. Every time Rosser visited, he brought back the newly discovered artifacts and added them to the collection. The last of these materials, about 150 new items, were brought back with him in November of 2023.

Concurrent with amassing the collection and all it entailed, Sandra and Kip began a campaign to seek out and contact various prominent institutions that might be interested enough to consent to accepting a donation of the entire collection, including Juliet Shaw’s theremin. In addition Sandra and Kip compiled and produced the first collection of Juliet Shaw’s music ever to be released. Music in the Air: The Artistry of Thereminist, Juliet Shaw, Volume 1 was completed and offered to all donors who gave $20 or more during the fundraising phase. A digital download of Volume 1, along with its 28-page booklet, will be made available to everyone soon. Volume 2 is currently in the works, to be released at a later date in 2024.

By the second week in January, 2024, the Juliet Shaw Legacy Collection was complete.

What People Are Saying About

Music in the Air:
The Artistry of Thereminist, Juliet Shaw
Volume 1

DAMN!!! This is amazing, easily the most important theremin release in decades, and an utter revelation. THANK YOU!!! I’m just in awe, and absolutely cannot WAIT for more!

Awesome, thank you so much! Lovely!

So great! Just looking at the booklet I get a sense of how much work went into this. I’m listening to “Summertime” as we speak. She’s legit! I’ll spread the word.