Zappa and Nordheim

Zappa & Nordheim - 1. november 2014

1st of November Trondheim Sinfonietta and Rockheim welcome you to an evening with two of the most innovative and pioneering composers of recent times ; Frank Zappa and Arne Nordheim ! The program also includes a new work by the celebrated Norwegian composer and Zappa- connoisseur Jon Andreas Håtun , aka Jono El Grande , which will bind the concert together as presenter .

Frank Zappa and Arne Nordheim first met in the early 1970s. The respect was mutual and it was a life- long friendship between the two. This happening is a tribute to two distinctive composers who found each other through music despite different backgrounds .


Tonight’s concert is the largest in Trondheim Sinfonietta’s history, if one measures by the number of musicians on stage and number of meters notes played. Director Halldis Rønning head together over 30 musicians , including three music students from NTNU.


The program:

19:00 – Two experts on a sofa – about Zappa and Nordheim
We have invited Jon Andreas Håtuna , aka Jono El Grande , who for years has explored Zappa’s Universe . Along with him in the sofa he has Ola Nordal who is working on a doctoral dissertation on Nordheim’s music.

Kl 20:00 – Concert
Trondheim Sinfonietta plays Zappa, Nordheim og El Grande Dirigent: Halldis Rønning
Solist: Trine Knutsen
Konfransier: Jono El Grande

Kl 22:00 – Zappa Nachspiel! Zoot Allures!!!


Frank Zappa, American Composer, fl. 1940 – 1993

Zappa is best described in his own words, from The Real Frank Zappa Book:

“One day I happened across an article about Sam Goody’s record store in Look magazine which raved about what a wonderful merchandizer he was. The writer said that Mr. Goody could sell anything—and as an example he mentioned that he had even managed to sell an album called Ionisation.”

“The article went on to say something like: ‘This album is nothing but drums—it’s dissonant and terrible; the worst music in the world’ Ahh! Yes! That’s for me!”

“I turned the volume all the way up (in order to get the maximum amount of ‘fi’) and carefully placed the all-purpose osmium-tipped needle on the lead-in spiral to ‘Ionisation.’ I have a nice Catholic mother who likes to watch Roller Derby. When she heard what came out of that little speaker at the bottom of the Decca, she looked at me like I was out of my fucking mind.”

“I bought my first Boulez album when I was in the twelfth grade: a Columbia recording of ‘Le Marteau Sans Maitre’ (The Hammer Without a Master) conducted by Robert Craft, with ‘Zeitmasse’ (Time-mass) by Stockhausen on the other side.”

“I didn’t know anything about twelve-tone music then, but I liked the way it sounded. Since I didn’t have any kind of formal training, it didn’t make any difference to me if I was listening to Lightnin’ Slim, or a vocal group called the Jewels […] or Webern, or Varèse, or Stravinsky. To me it was all good music.”

What do you do for a living, dad? If one of my kids ever asked me that question, the answer would have to be: ‘What I do is composition.’ I just happen to use material other than notes for the pieces.”

A composer is a guy who goes around forcing his will on unsuspecting air molecules, often with the assistance of unsuspecting musicians. […] In my compositions, I employ a system of weights, balances, measured tensions and releases—in some way similar to Varese’s aesthetic. The similarities are best illustrated by comparison to a Calder mobile:  a multicolored whatchamacallit, dangling in space, that has big blobs of metal connected to pieces of wire, balanced ingeniously against little metal dingleberries on the other end.”

“The orchestra is the ultimate instrument, and conducting one is an unbelievable sensation. Nothing else is like it, except maybe singing doo-wop harmony and hearing the chords come out right.”

“I find music of the classical period boring because it reminds me of ‘painting by numbers’. There are certain things composers of that period were not allowed to do because they were considered to be outside the boundaries of the industrial regulations which determined whether the piece was a symphony, a sonata, or a whatever. All of the norms, as practiced during the olden days, came into being because the guys who paid the bills wanted the ‘tunes’ they were buying to ‘sound a certain way’”.

“It’s all over, folks. Get smart—take out a real estate license. The least you can do is tell your students: ‘DON’T DO IT! STOP THIS MADNESS! DON’T WRITE ANY MORE MODERN MUSIC!’”

“‘Information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, wisdom is not truth, truth is not beauty, beauty is not love, love is not music. Music is the best.’” – Joe’s Garage, 1979


Uten navn1 © mmix zappa family trust.



Zappa & Nordheim - 1. november 2014Arne Nordheim ( born 20 June 1931 in Larvik , died June 5, 2010) was a Norwegian composer and music critic.
In the period 1948-1951 he studied at the Conservatory of Music in Oslo. 1954 was his first work , Essay for string quartet, performed at the Young Nordic Music Festival in Stockholm. He looked up to his death that the play was not his opus 1, but the string quartet from 1956 would be his first proper work .
Nordheim main genre was orchestral works . In the early works of Aftonland , Canzona and Epitaffio he tried to give the traditional instruments a new sound. He started to use electronics on magnetic tape, and had a period electronics as the main theme . From this time stems purely electronic works Solitaire, but also works the electronics were mixed with traditional instruments for example percussion. He has also written extensively for radio and television, theater and ballet where he experimented a lot and gave music new limits.

Zappa and Nordheim: Partners in crime
Arne Nordheim’s popularity grew enormously when Frank Zappa came to Copenhagen in 1973 , and answered Danish journalists’ questions about what he hoped to experience in Scandinavia that he most of all wanted to meet Arne Nordheim . Zappa was fascinated by the sonic nuances of Nordheim compositions. European press was now in a hurry to get into his music. A few days later played Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention at Kalvøya Festival in Bærum with Arne Nordheim as Frank Zappa’s special guest. It developed into a lifelong friendship between the two. Arne Nordheim was invited to the USA and told about it below strangely liberated environment he faced. Frank Zappa visited always Nordheim when he played concerts in Norway.

Jono El Grande is the stage name of Jon Andreas Håtun ( born 29 July 1973 ) . He is a self-taught composer , band leader, guitarist and conductor , inspired in part by Frank Zappa , Captain Beefheart , King Crimson , Gentle Giant , Magma ( rock band) , Arne Nordheim , Shostakovich and Igor Stravinsky . [ 1 ] Jono El Grande has released five album , and is a name that grows on the international avantgarde scene. [ 2 ] [3 ] in Norway , he is best known by his eccentric and funny performance / dada – inspired live performances , [4 ] and key member of the artist fraction of “The new wine” [ 5 ] in the nineties . In 2000 he formed The Jono El Grande Orchestra , which in 2005 changed its name to The Jono El Grande Orchestra .

Halldis Rønning ( born 7 July 1978 in Bergen ) is a Norwegian conductor and violinist. Rønning was educated at the Grieg Academy in his hometown of Bergen Music Conservatory in Amsterdam and the academy , and she took a diploma in orchestral conducting in the spring of 2006 with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.
She has worked with most Norwegian symphony orchestras , including the Oslo Philharmonic . She has also worked as a conductor in Vietnam , the Netherlands and Sweden , and was the first woman who waved at Hanoi Opera House in 2006. Rønning has worked with contemporary music and collaborates with the Norwegian ensembles Cikada , Oslo Sinfonietta and BIT20 . In 2010 Halldis Rønning also seeing as mentor in NRK series Maestro, where various celebrities did try as orchestra conductor. Rønning waved summer of 2013 Norwegian Youth Symphony Orchestra in Vienna , with soloists Mari Silje Samuelsen and Håkon Samuelsen .

Trine Knutsen grew up in band, orchestra environment in Bærum , and studied at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo and the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen , Germany. Knutsen played eight years in the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra before moving to Trondheim and a couple of years was general manager of Trondheim Soloists. Since 1999 she is employed as a professor at NTNU Department of Music , and since 2009 she has been Head of Department here .
Knutsen has been a soloist with the Trondheim Soloists , Trondheim Symphony Orchestra , Central Norwegian chamber ensemble and so on several occasions. She plays in Trondheim Sinfonietta , participating in projects with Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and engaged regularly by the Trondheim Chamber Music Festival , Olavsfestdagene and others as a soloist , chamber musician and orchestral musician. Knutsen is also frequently used as board members of the art community locally and nationally.