December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993
While Frank Zappa is widely remembered for his work in the rock and jazz world, Zappa had quite the career as a composer of avant-garde music, with performances conducted by new music champions such as Pierre Boulez and Peter Rundel. Zappa was greatly influenced by the composer Iannis Xenakis as a child and though he never graduated from a college music program, he showed expertise in contrapuntal writing as evidenced by his Synclavier album in a “new baroque” style. We couldn’t just choose five albums by Zappa to highlight his prowess as a composer of new music, so we are sharing several of them with you this week!
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, on December 21, 1940, Frank Zappa was largely a self-taught musician, whose 30-year career embraced a wide variety of musical genres, encompassing rock, jazz, synth and symphonies. Avant-garde composers, as well as math and chemistry from his father’s work, all fell into Zappa’s mix of influences and comprised his unique approach to his art, coupled with a flouting of convention. Zappa also directed films, designed album covers and spoke about social issues. Although his unconventional aspect often overshadowed his brilliance, Zappa is highly respected as a musical pioneer. He died from prostate cancer on December 4, 1993, at age 52. – Biography.com