Baltimore (Maryland, USA), 1940 – Los Angeles (California, USA), 1993

When talking about a creative fusion of various kinds of popular music with the classical tradition, it is impossible to ignore Frank Zappa, who uniquely fused everything from jazz and rock to avant-garde classical music. His role went far beyond the music, however, because he was also, in many of his pieces, a satirist as well as a political commentator.

Frank Zappa wasn’t really keen on having his orchestral music explained. He seemed to be of the opinion that it should largely speak for itself.

Zappa said on many occasions that he had images in mind for his pieces. Zappa often used what he called a “weights and measures” approach to symphonic composing: “In my compositions, I employ a system of weights, balances, measured tensions and relea-ses—in some ways similar to Varese’s aesthetic.”

This extremely architectural approach to music is characteristic. Zappa’s aesthetics favored the physics of organizing and realizing sound. (M. Léonard, after Rip Rense and Steven Ledbetter)