Jaap Vink (1930–2023) passed away at the age of 92

Jaap Vink in the Bilthoven electronic music studio around 1962

Jaap Vink (Den Helder, 12 February 1930 – Appingedam, 30 January 2023) studied engineering at first, but then became interested in electronic music. He attended courses in electroacoustics at Delft University of Technology and installed a pedagogical studio for electronic music in 1961 at the Gaudeamus Foundation in Bilthoven with the help of the Nederlandse Radio Unie (NRU). He was a staff member at the Institute of Sonology as a teacher in analogue studio techniques from 1967 until his retirement in 1993, where he taught and assisted an enormous number of students and composers from all over the world.

Jaap Vink always tried to break out of the periodicity of the sounds so abundantly available in the electronic studio. Although his music was entirely produced with purely electronic sound material, its textures resemble the richness of orchestral sounds, or large natural sound-complexes, as a result of recursive processes. The density of their sound material increases and decreases by careful control of feedback networks with configurations of analogue tape recorders (delay lines), filters and modulators. 

It should come as no surprise that his work is being rediscovered at a time when a new generation of musicians has conquered the stage with modular synthesizer setups and ‘no-input mixers’, in which feedback of audio and control signals plays an important role. And although Jaap Vink’s music wasn’t performed live but produced and recorded on magnetic tape in the studio, it is exactly the human interaction with feedback processes that connects his work with the current generation of live electronic music performers. To some extent Jaap Vink’s pieces are indeed recorded live improvisations, and extending his patches and ‘rehearsing’ with them was an ongoing process. To see Jaap Vink at work in the studio was to hear the studio coming to life. 

2 Replies to “Jaap Vink (1930–2023) passed away at the age of 92”

  1. Thanks for your great notes Kees!
    The connection you make with specific current generation performance practices is absolutely spot on.
    Jaap used all kinds of techniques mainly to produce what he called sound colours, fields of colours. He described himself as colour painter 🙂
    His main drive as he told me later was the orchestral instrumentation performed by Ravel, and the harmonic behaviour of a bowed string.
    His initial training as a radio engineer must have added to his natural understanding of signals and systems applied in sound.
    A truly remarkable and gentle person.
    His music and his notated patch systems will be of everlasting value to enjoy and study!

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