Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Jacobtv Brings Unusual Show for Dutch Fest

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Jacobtv Brings Unusual Show for Dutch Fest

Article excerpt

Jacob ter Veldhuis' classical music-multimedia compositions have been compared to Andy Warhol's pop art, and the man better known as JacobTV couldn't be more pleased.

JacobTV composes for orchestra, ensembles and quartets and, with visual artists Kristien Kerstens and Jan Boiten, creates multimedia experiences like "The News," which has its world premiere at the Byham Theater Friday night as part of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's Distinctively Dutch Festival.

When the invitation to Pittsburgh was delivered, JacobTV made an immediate connection between his pop culture inspirations and Pittsburgh native Warhol. His work also hit home with The Andy Warhol Museum's Off the Wall series, which is a co-presenter of "The News."

"The News" is an example of how musical presentations have caught up with the way Mr. Warhol presented art.

"There was no musical means to capture a sound bite in the '60s the way Andy could capture an image, and it took until the '80s that composers could capture sound bites and manipulate them," the 60- year-old composer said by phone from Amsterdam. "So it's technique that made it possible for composers to do the same thing."

Mr. Boiten, also the lighting designer for "The News," is a devotee of the artist. "He's totally influenced by Andy Warhol. So you will probably recognize the use of colors, the bright conflicting colors ... Andy would combine bright colors like nobody before him would have thought to combine them. I was inspired by that, and also inspired by the fact that he used ready-mades, like the Brillo boxes and the soup cans."

Sound bites like "beachcomber" and "citizen of the world" describe the inspirations that influence JacobTV's concepts. A stroll along the beach might spark an idea, or he might be walking against the wind in Chicago, which is where he was in 2009 when he conceived "The News."

"My ears were freezing off, it was very cold, and there I passed a television studio with glass walls and you could look inside. We don't have that in Europe. You saw the anchor sitting there, surrounded by cameras and technicians and there, in a split second, I knew it. This world is so fascinating: infotainment, media, manipulation, news that is being made up, etc. I knew right then, I'm going to make an opera about news, media, politics, social scenes, the Third World, about populism, celebrities, about this whole world of media that is now a worldwide roller coaster of so- called news."

Stars of the show are listed as "President Obama, Putin, Mubarak, Berlusconi, the Pope, Dutch Queen Beatrix, Lady Gaga, Michael Moore, Paris Hilton, Sarah Palin, Sarkozy, demonstrators from the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street and more." A screen projects scenes of war, politics, disasters, celebrities, high society and scandal, all to the accompaniment of the Fulcrum Point New Music Ensemble of Chicago and two singing "news anchors," soprano Josefien Stoppelenberger and alto Lori Cutler. …

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