Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa was an American musician, bandleader, songwriter, composer, recording engineer, record producer, and film director. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa composed rock, jazz, orchestral and musique concr猫te works. While in his teens, he acquired a taste for 20th-century classical composers such as Edgard Var猫se, Igor Stravinsky, and Anton Webern, along with 1950s rhythm and blues music. He began writing classical music in high school, while at the same time playing drums in rhythm and blues bands; he later switched to electric guitar. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at No. 71 on its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time", and in 2011 at No. 22 on its list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".

Zappa uniquely contributed to the avant-garde, anti-establishment music scene of the 60's, sampling radio tape recordings and incorporating his own philosophical ideals to music and freedom of expression in his pieces. Bands such as AMM and Faust also contributed to the radio sampling techniques of the 60's, yet Zappa was unique in his mixtures of rock, classical, jazz, and avant-garde styles of composition. He is credited by musicologists as making a fundamental contribution to the studies of how sound determines music, and music sound.

In the 1990s, Zappa devoted most of his energy to modern orchestral and Synclavier works. Shortly before his death in 1993 he completed Civilization, Phaze III, a major Synclavier work which he had begun in the 1980s. In 1991, Zappa was chosen to be one of four featured composers at the Frankfurt Festival in 1992 (the others were John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Alexander Knaifel). Zappa was approached by the German chamber ensemble, Ensemble Modern, which was interested in playing his music for the event. Although ill, Zappa invited them to Los Angeles for rehearsals of new compositions and new arrangements of older material. In addition to being satisfied with the ensemble's performances of his music, Zappa also got along with the musicians, and the concerts in Germany and Austria were set up for the fall. In September 1992, the concerts went ahead as scheduled, but Zappa could only appear at two in Frankfurt due to illness. At the first concert, he conducted the opening "Overture", and the final "G-Spot Tornado" as well as the theatrical "Food Gathering in Post-Industrial America, 1992" and "Welcome to the United States"