Frank Zappa and classical music

zappa conducting

Although he was best known as the guitarist and leader of The Mothers of Invention and other rock bands, Frank Zappa grew up with a keen interest in 20th-century concert music and aspired to be an orchestral composer as well; his scores have been recorded by Pierre Boulez, Ensemble Modern, and others.

Appropriate listening strategies for Zappa’s pieces for acoustic concert ensembles should be based primarily on models developed from his more abundant commercially successful output, and less so on the music of early–20th-century composers, such as Stravinsky and Varése, whose music he admired.

This according to “Listening to Zappa” by Jonathan W. Bernard (Contemporary music review XVIII/4 [2000] pp. 63–103). Above, Zappa at the Lumpy gravy recording sessions in 1967; below, conducting his G-spot tornado in 1992 with Ensemble Modern and dancers Louise Lecavalier and Donald Weikert.

Related article: Frank Zappa and Uncle Meat

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Filed under 20th- and 21st-century music, Dance, Humor

One response to “Frank Zappa and classical music

  1. Pingback: Frank Zappa and Uncle Meat | Bibliolore

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