Instrumentallation #1

oboe and installation

Premiered in 1986 by Libby Van Cleve at California Institute of the Arts
Published by Chez Vees Music (formerly Leisure Planet Music)

This piece is first in a series of pieces which combine some sort of standard musical structure with elements from the visual or performance arts. It is my intent to re-engage the listener into the process of experiencing new music, to be more than a listener, sometimes even more than an observer.

New music need not rely on presentation alone; that leads to gimmickry. But neither should tradition dictate a performance practice that eliminates everything but the “music played from the stage” format. Every piece should be allowed to find its own means of expression, using a proscenium when appropriate, abandoning it when the weight bogs it down. These installations for instruments are just pieces of music in settings which complete their aesthetic statements.

Critical praise:
Instrumentallation No. 1 by Jack Vees is what really caught the audience’s fancy. Vees’ number took place during the intermission. People were drawn to the lobby by the improvisational sounds of an oboe and when they arrived they found the instrument protruding from a cluster of potted greenery on the floor. As curious adults and children would venture closer, the oboe would respond—at once beckoning, perhaps plaintive or playful, even chiding when someone got too bold. ‘It’s scolding,’ someone said, and everybody laughed.” –Ruth Marks, The Newhall Signal