Armin, Richard

Richard ('Dick') Armin. Cellist, b Winkler, Man, 13 Aug 1944 (Paul's twin); performance certificate (Indiana) 1963. He studied cello 1957-61 with Thaddeus Markevitch in Detroit, in 1961 with Luigi Silva in New York, and 1962-4 with János Starker at Indiana University. He played with the Joffrey Ballet orchestra in 1963, toured 1964-5 in Canada and the USA with the Don Shirley Trio, and played 1965-9 in the TS. He toured and recorded 1969-74 with Lighthouse. He became a freelance cellist in 1974. He was involved from 1980 in developing experimental applications for electric cello and signal processing which he applied to freelance studio work for recordings and theatre and to instrument designs. He co-founded in 1976 the Armin Electric Strings with his brothers Otto and Paul and sister Adele and in 1989 began to play in the group Hemispheres with Adele.

Armin created ca 1981 the technology that resulted in a new type of electric string instrument. The basic RAAD designs, involving pick-ups and effects outputs, were incorporated as RAAD Technologies Inc in 1983, but the instruments did not emerge as artistically and commercially viable products until ca 1986. Later additions to the basic technology involved support for the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) and a pre-amplification system with tone controls (designed by Pearce Electronics). The instruments can be played through high-quality portable (amplified) speakers or through keyboard amplifiers. The bodies of the instruments, eventually of silver spruce, were also finalized after the incorporation of the basic technology, and the instruments eventually were marketed by the Vace group. Patents are held on the RAAD technology in Canada, the USA, Japan, the UK, France, and Hong Kong. In 1988 the system won the silver trophy for best product in music and sound at the Forum des arts de l'univers scientifique et technique (FAUST) in Toulouse, France.

The Armin Electric Strings played the RAAD instruments on a number of recordings, including the song 'One Tree Hill' on rock band U2's recording The Joshua Tree (1987, Island ISX-1127), the album Fascinatin' Rhythm: Music of George Gershwin with Julius Baker, Jeanne Baxtresser, and Andrew Davis (1984, Fanfare DFL-6006), and on Jon Hassel's Power Spot (1987, ECM 829-466-1) and Riki Turofsky'sMusic of Kurt Weill (1985, Fanfare DFL-9026). Other recordings by the Armins with the RAAD instruments include a recording of James Montgomery'sWildfire with the Canadian Electronic Ensemble (1990,Trappist Trap-9003-CD), The Beatles Connection with Ofra Harnoy (1985, Fanfare DFL-9016/Pro Arte CDD-387), Circles with Don Thompson (1980 Intercan IC-1008), and Victor Davies'Fun For Four with Arthur Polson (1986, Pro Arte CDD-368). Other users of the RAAD instruments include Toronto jazz-rock violinist Hugh Marsh, various jazz, pop, and theatre performers (including the 1990 Toronto production of The Wizard of Oz), the Arditti Quartet, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma on his 15 Aug 1991 premiere at Tanglewood of US composer Tod Machover's Begin Again Again ... which featured two electric cello systems (RAAD and Zeta) and the performer's Stradivarius cello, all with computer-processed accompaniment.

See also Jay Armin (his father).