Jacob Ter Veldhuis – JacobTV, Dutch Composer
I write both neo-classical and avant-pop music. A blend of different musical styles. I use the speech melody as a source of inspiration: speech grooves based on ready-made sound bites from politics, commercials, interviews, talk shows, and “tvangelists,” combined with live instruments.
Musicologist Stefan Weiss wrote:
“Here it becomes clear how near to artists like Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons the composer JacobTV actually is. JacobTV’s boombox pieces, in which mass-culture is both admired and put into perspective, are like a late forms of musical pop-art.”
Jacob Ter Veldhuis’s Major Compositions
In the early 1980’s I became a full-time composer and soon made a name for myself by writing accessible music.
Musicologist Theo Muller said:
“Straight from the heart and with great effect.”
“I pepper my music with sugar!” I’m not afraid to bend the rules or to be controversial in my pieces. After becoming interested in American culture and media, I frequently used sound clips from those sources in my work.
Jacob TV’s Oratorio, Paradisio for Voices & Orchestra
In 2001 I composed Paradiso, a multimedia video oratorio based on the 3d book of Dante’s Divina Commedia, for soprano and tenor soloists, female chorus, symphony orchestra, and electronic sampler, to be performed along with videos by the North Netherlands Orchestra and later released on British label Chandos.
The video for the work was created by Jaap Drupsteen, the eminent Dutch motion graphics designer and music-TV director. The year after, a four-day JacobTV festival in Rotterdam was dedicated to my works and compositions.
The Jacob TV Festival & Brand
In 2007, a three-day JacobTV festival took place in the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and an anthology of my work was released on CD and DVD on Basta Records. By then, following the example of New York musicians, who couldn’t pronounce my name, I started to be referred to as JacobTV, which my record company took over, it became a ‘brand’.
Limor Tomer, a curator of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York at the time, said:
“JacobTV is preoccupied with American media and world events and draws raw materials from those sources. His work possesses an explosive strength and raw energy combined with extraordinarily intricate architectural design.”
Jacob TV Tours with “The News”
Between 2011 and 2016, I toured with reality opera The News, a constantly updated piece about world events in the media, performed by different ensembles and opera houses in Chicago, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Groningen, Hamburg, Rome, LA, Pittsburgh, New York City.
Jacob TV’s Publishers
My orchestral music is published by Donemus and PEER Classical for North America. My chamber music is published by my own company Boombox at www.jacobtv.net. My works are frequently performed: around 500-1000 times per year worldwide. In 2016 I received the first BUMA Classical Award for the best Dutch classical export product at the time.
My works based on speech grooves are most popular, especially the ones I wrote for the saxophone family: solo pieces, quartets, sax concertos, and more. Pieces like Grab it!, Garden of Love, Body of your Dreams, or Billie are quite popular.
Several choreographers used my music for dance.
Billie by JacobTV – Aiwen Zhang
Jacob TV’s Recent Compositions
I recently composed Who, what, where, when, why for the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, ‘Farewell Feathered Friends No.1’ for piccolo player Ilonka Kolthof based on bird song from endangered birds, Hexagram of the Heavens for Noa Wildschut and friends, commissioned by Dutch classical Radio 4, and The Freedom Songs for Fulcrum Point Chicago, inspired by Hegel, Malcolm X, and others.
In 2021 I will be releasing “The Beauty of the World,” an album with ambient electronic music and Pimpin, an album featuring Emmanuel Graglia, a guitarist from Argentina.
Jacob TV’s Music Education
I became interested in music at a young age, singing in a boys’ choir for Bach’s St Matthew Passion and playing recorder and flute at a local music school in Winschoten, Netherlands. Growing up I developed a love for blues, jazz, and rock, apart from classical music.I learned to improvise in different bands and on different instruments. Through improvisation, I had begun writing music.
I decided to study composition and attended Groningen Conservatory in the Netherlands, studying school music, but mainly electronic music and composition from 1971-1980. At the electronic studio in Groningen French composer, Luctor Ponse introduced me to the world of electronics. He taught me to work with tone generators and old-style electronics. When I graduated in 1980, I received the Composition Prize in the Netherlands.
Press About Jacob Ter Velhuis
Anne Midgette, a writer for The New York Times, has this to say about my works,
“Dutch composer Jacob TV’s work engages in a kind of pop-culture appropriation that has distinct parallels to visual art. His orchestral music resembles Jeff Koons in its earnest explorations of kitsch. His boombox pieces, for recorded audio and solo instruments, are limning the outlines of larger-than-life American figures in a pop idiom, with digital sampling and D.J.-like repetitions. And there is an overarching element of Henri Rousseau: the bright colours and slightly crude outlines of a folk artist.”
The Chicago Tribune has said that,
“JacobTV is one of the most thought-provoking provocateurs working in today’s new music. Also one of the most savagely entertaining. THE NEWS made me want to laugh and cry and get angry, sometimes at the same time. That’s quite an accomplishment for any work of contemporary art.”
Het Parool is an Amsterdam-based daily newspaper, said about me,
“An alchemist who can turn lead into gold. One of the rare cross-fertilisations of modern composed music and rock. You have to hear it to believe it.”
Jacob TV’s Non-Musical Pursuits
Reading (mainly non-fiction, but also novels and poetry), visual arts, dance, theater, film, traveling, nature, all have my interest. I do yoga, meditation, go to the gym, and do running.
I live with Kristien, my partner, and visual artist since 1988 in Doorn, the Netherlands. New York City is another place where I feel very much at home.