On Frank Zappa’s “Relentless Pursuit of Interesting Sounds:” An Interview with Orchestra 2001’s Jayce Ogren and Zappa Expert Joseph Klein


Frank Zappa, London, 1973. Photo by Michael Putland.

In conjunction with Orchestra 2001’s Philadelphia premiere of the genre-defying composition The Yellow Shark, by maverick American composer and rock guitarist Frank Zappa, we invited Jayce Ogren, Orchestra 2001 artistic director, and Dr. Joseph Klein, composer and Zappa expert, to consider the artist’s legacy and approach to music, as well as the process of bringing scores to life for a contemporary audience.

The 17-movement, 75-minute The Yellow Shark will be performed at The Fillmore on April 28 (tickets here) on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the album’s release and of Zappa’s death. In the work’s lush sound world, relentless dance rhythms and surprising turns of orchestration are interlaced with original poetry by Zappa, and performed by an ensemble of 26 musicians on a vast array of percussion instruments, standard orchestral instruments, as well as banjo, cymbalom, lion’s roar, didgeridoo, and alphorn. Learn more about the project here.


Ogren & Klein on Zappa: Content Block 1

Zappa & Klein on Zappa: Content Block 2

Ogren & Klein on Zappa: Content Block 3 (bios)

Joseph Klein is a composer of solo, chamber, and large ensemble works, and a distinguished professor and chair of composition studies in the College of Music at the University of North Texas, where he has taught a course entitled “The Music of Frank Zappa” since 2001. His compositions have been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, American Composers Forum/Jerome Foundation, and the American Music Center, among others.

Jayce Ogren is artistic director and conductor of Orchestra 2001. His compositions have been performed at venues such as the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music and the Brevard Music Center, and his work as a conductor includes the world premiere of Jack Perla’s Shalimar the Clown, the US premiere of Rufus Wainwright’s Prima Donna; and leading The Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris.

Explore More