BBC Proms: Zappa, Nancarrow and Glass

18th April 2013

Aurora announces debut evening performance for BBC Proms with American programme including Nancarrow, Zappa and Glass.

Wednesday 31 July 2013, 10.15pm

Royal Albert Hall

Conlon Nancarrow (arr. Yvar Mikashoff) /Study for Player Piano No. 7
Frank Zappa / The Adventures of Greggery Peccary
Philip Glass / Symphony No. 10 (UK première)
Frank Zappa / G-Spot Tornado

Soloists to be announced
Nicholas Collon (conductor)
Aurora Orchestra

Following the sell-out success of its collaborative family concerts in recent years – including the 2011 Horrible Histories and 2012 Wallace & Gromit Proms – Aurora Orchestra has been invited by the BBC Proms to make its debut appearance in an evening slot for the 2013 season.

Aurora presents a characteristically eclectic programme of American music ranging from a virtuosic 15-player arrangement of one of Conlon Nancarrow’s extraordinary Studies for Player Piano to the UK première of Philip Glass’ Symphony No. 10.  At the heart of the programme is Frank Zappa’s The Adventures of Greggery Peccary, a mind-bending mock-rock opera which shows Zappa at his most explosively creative.

Pushing towards the furthest limits of technical possibility, Yvar Mikhashoff’s chamber orchestra arrangement of  Nancarrow’s Study for Player Piano No. 7 showcases the virtuosity of Aurora’s team of outstanding Principal Players. Frank Zappa once said of Nancarrow’s music, “The stuff is fantastic… You’ve got to hear it. It’ll kill you.”

Zappa himself was introduced to Nancarrow’s music by Jimi Hendrix’s recording engineer in 1967, and his dense textures and multiple interweaving lines show their influences in Zappa’s own subsequent writing – not least in The Adventures of Greggery Peccary. Packed full of surreal humour and political comment, the piece featured on the legendary 1978 Studio Tan album and follows the surreal happenings in a day in the life of a pig named Greggery.

The programme is completed by the Tenth Symphony of Zappa’s fellow Baltimorean, Philip Glass, presented here for the first time in the UK.

John Harte, Aurora’s Chief Executive, says: “We are delighted to be returning to the BBC Proms, following three unique family concerts in recent years, and to be giving our first late-night performance. Aurora’s sense of adventure is at the heart of the Orchestra’s 2013 season and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to explore such a varied and playful programme as part of this year’s festival.”

Frank Zappa image – Copyright © 2013 Phil Franks. All Rights Reserved. Used here with permission.