The OOVE: A Brand New Instrument

Do you know what an OOVE is? We didn’t either. That is until we met with composer Nathaniel Stookey who told us about this brand new instrument that inspired his new piece called YTTE (Yield To Total Elation). The OOVE was made by a friend of his, Oliver DiCicco who has a workshop in San Francisco. Oliver specializes in kinetic sound sculptures that create a mixture of unique tones and vibrations. Lucky for us, we got to visit his local studio and see his other creations like these “Sirens” that create such an eerie sound but are so mesmerizing to watch.

(Click to PLAY the video and see for yourself!)

 Shortly after Nathaniel saw Oliver’s instruments, the San Francisco Symphony commissioned him to write a new piece for their SoundBox series (which I HIGHLY recommend). He immediately knew this was going to be something extraordinary.

The OOVE makes a low vibration sound which he used as the foundation of YTTE. The piece opens with a low hummmm and slowly an evolution of sound is created as the strings and the winds join in. Your mind is taken on a beautiful journey filled with emotion and movement throughout the entire piece. It’s calming and mysterious and then you suddenly feel like you’ve arrived into a grand galaxy that’s driven by brass, the bass drum, and pulses from the winds. Nathaniel said, “…for me, yielding to total elation during a piece of music is the ideal. It’s why I do what I do.”

To play the OOVE, the instrument is not bowed or plucked. In fact, it’s hardly ever touched! You approach it with an electromagnet. As the electromagnet gets closer to the field created by the nodes, it reacts by vibrating the strings. The vibrations get larger and larger the closer the node gets to the magnet while also creating additional layers of frequencies.

After hearing Nathaniel’s YTTE at the San Francisco Symphony’s groundbreaking Soundbox, Donato Cabrera and the Las Vegas Philharmonic commissioned a full orchestra version, which premiered earlier this year. If you didn’t get to see either of these amazing performances, you’re in luck! On September 24th YTTE for full orchestra is making its West Coast debut at California Symphony’s Season Opener.

Check out our exclusive interview with both Donato and Nathaniel about the OOVE, their road trip from San Francisco to Las Vegas and more about their story behind their West Coast Premiere… with a surprise at the end!! 

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Parker Coomans

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