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JacobTV, Dutch Composer, Creates Multimedia Opera of Current Events

By Philip Trapp on Jun 18, 2016 05:00 PM EDT

Dutch experimental composer JacobTV, né Jacob ter Veldhuis, employed a unique collaging method to arrange his new multimedia piece, The News. The avant-pop orchestration uses clips of news footage to create a sensory-straining "reality opera."

The avant-garde classical musician previously used broadcast media -- clips from American talk shows -- in his 1999 composition, Heartbreakers. This time, JacobTV presents news snippets, chopped and screwed, in a rapidly proceeding manner befitting of a hyphy hip-hop remix.

The 64-year-old composer takes a rueful view of today's mainstream media displays of packaged information. Speaking to the Chicago Tribune, he compares the innocuous newscasts of yesteryear to what he feels is the debased and disconcerting landscape of modern news broadcasting:

"I was born in 1951 and remember from my childhood how innocent and slow and pure the news was back then," the composer says. "Today we are bombarded by infotainment. Ninety percent of what is reported is bad news. Something has to go wrong to make the news interesting to a mass audience. This gives us a warped view of reality."

The News incorporates fragments of transmissions containing such high profile politicians as Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel spliced together with clips of news presenters like Charlie Rose and Wolf Blitzer. The piece is performed by singing "anchors," soprano Maeve Hoagland and rhythm singer Loire Cotler, along with JacobTV's orchestrations.

Global politics being a heated issue for near any constituent, The News presents a confounding and possibly controversial take on today's bureaucratic scene and the talking heads who cover it. In an interview with The Guardian, JacobTV shared his take on current politics:

"A man like Obama is a smart, intelligent guy and he can't do his job because people prevent him," says the composer. "If you have a lot of money, you can become the president of the United States. That's very scary. Is that still democracy?"

The News, which runs for approximately 75 minutes, will be performed this Sunday, June 19 at 7:00 p.m. at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, California. Additional daytime performances will occur on Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26.

Below, watch a trailer for The News.

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TagsJacob TV, Experimental Music