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Orchestra 2001 will present the Philadelphia premiere of the genre-defying composition The Yellow Shark, by maverick American composer and rock guitarist Frank Zappa, in the 25th anniversary year of the album’s release and of Zappa’s death. In the final years of his life, Zappa shifted focus from his popular rock career to his earliest musical ambition – composing contemporary classical music. His work in this vein – most notably The Yellow Shark – was championed by giants in the field such as Pierre Boulez, arguably the most prominent figure in contemporary classical music in the last half-century.

The Yellow Shark is a multi-movement, 75-minute work for a virtuoso ensemble of 26 musicians. In addition to a core of standard orchestral instruments, the piece includes a huge array of percussion, as well as banjo, cymbalom, lion’s roar, and alphorn. Zappa refused to be censored in his rock music lyrics and titles, and The Yellow Shark’s movements are no exception: Dog Breath Variations, Uncle Meat, Be-Bop Tango, Get Whitey, and G-Spot Tornado are among the more colorful.

Major support for this project has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Learn about the Center at www.pcah.us.

Orchestra 2001 is a collective of adventurous, virtuoso performers dedicated to the classical music of our time. The ensemble strives to be an international leader in connecting diverse audiences with the greatest music of the 20th and 21st centuries, engaging new listeners through exhilarating concerts, innovative artistic collaborations, and enriching community partnerships in Philadelphia and beyond. Visit www.orchestra2001.org to learn more.

Jayce Ogren, Orchestra 2001’s Artistic Director and Conductor, has been Assistant Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra and a guest conductor with the Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Ensemble Intercontemporian in Paris, Copenhagen Philharmonic, Edmonton Symphony, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic in South Africa, Orchestra of St. Lukes, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Verbier Festival Academy, Wien Modern Festival, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Canadian Opera, New York City Ballet, and New World Symphony. In December 2017, Mr. Ogren conducted the premiere of David Lang’s Symphony for a Broken Orchestra with 400 musicians at Philadelphia’s 23rd Street Armory.