“A composer is a guy who goes around forcing his will on unsuspecting air molecules, often with the assistance of unsuspecting musicians,” Frank Vincent Zappa, modern master, composer, iconoclast, social critic, filmmaker and equal opportunity offender, once said.
This weekend, Zappa’s music gets the help of musicians who are very much on to the molecules. Leave it to the innovative ensemble concert:nova to present Shut Up and Play the Zappa! featuring chamber pieces by Zappa and his musical mentors, as well as covers of his Rock music, at the 20th Century Theater in Oakley.
It won’t be about yellow snow or valley girls, says concert:nova’s artistic director Ixi Chen.
A protean composer who defies categories, Zappa created his own unique distillation of influences — everything from Rhythm and Blues to Jazz to serial, eastern and western Classical forms. By the time Zappa died from prostate cancer in 1993, his work had been recorded by Pierre Boulez, the London Symphony Orchestra (led by Kent Nagano) and Germany’s Ensemble Modern and performed by major American orchestras.
concert:nova presents Shut Up and Play the Zappa! Sunday at 20th Century Theater. Read Anne Arenstein's full interview here.