The life and work of music legend Frank Zappa will be celebrated at a music festival where fans can to talk to his widow via a live link with America.
The iconic American bandleader, songwriter, composer and film director will be remembered in a series of events at the Bangor Music Festival which starts on March 4.
According to the organisers of the contemporary music festival, they want to bring a sense of the “zany, irreverent genius” of Zappa to today’s audience.
As part of the celebrations, Zappa’s widow, Gail, will be taking part in a question and answer session with festival goers with a video link from California.
The festival, now in its 15th year, will also feature premieres of works by five young composers, Katherine Betteridge, Ellie Davies, Sioned Eleri Roberts, Dan Song and Hedd Thomas, together with new pieces by established composers, Pwyll ap Siôn and Owain Llwyd.
The theme this year is ‘Crossover and Multimedia’ with each concert having a connected educational project that will involve a number of local schools as well as the city’s university students.
Artistic Director Dr Guto Pryderi Puw, a university lecturer and renowned composer in his own right, says the aim is to provide the public with the opportunity to experience and learn about contemporary music.
He said: “It’s important to allow school pupils of all ages, students and the public to taste some of the most exciting new music being composed today.
“Every year we endeavour to present the latest developments and trends in contemporary composition with a particular emphasis on chamber music, mixed media events, electroacoustic and experimental music.
“We are also commissioning several new pieces of work from composers of various nationalities.”
Composer and keyboard player Graham Fitkin and harpist Ruth Wall will open the festival with ‘Lost’, a production that combines lighting, technology and music in Reichel Hall, Ffriddoedd Road, Bangor.
“This year, Thursday, March 5, has been set aside as a day to remember the genius of Frank Zappa. There will be a performance of a transcript of Zappa’s 1975 UK trial, directed by Theatr Bara Caws before a screening of a film entitled ‘Summer ’82’ on Frank Zappa’s life and music.
“We will then host a Q&A session with Gail Zappa, Kurt Morgan and Joe Travers from the Zappa Trust.
“That will be followed by a concert by Decibel, featuring three arrangements of Zappa’s work, along with pieces by Ed Bennett, Joe Cutler and Graham Fitkin and a festival commission by Pwyll ap Siôn that has been inspired by the music of Zappa.”
An art installation, entitled Receive and Return by Christine Mills and Carlos Pinatti will be housed in Bangor’s Deiniol Shopping Centre for a month prior to the start of the Festival.
Dr Puw added: “To accompany the installation there will be five new compositions by young composers, Katherine Betteridge, Ellie Davies, Dan Song, Hedd Thomas and the winner of the 2014 National Eisteddfod Musician’s Trophy, Sioned Eleri Roberts, with the concert taking place during lunchtime on Friday, March 6, which fits nicely with the multimedia theme of the festival.
“The evening will conclude with a jazz performance featuring the Bourne Davis Duo at the Blue Sky Cafe, Bangor.”
But it’s the inclusion of its educational projects that sets Bangor Music Festival apart according to Dr Puw.
He said: “The activities will involve primary school pupils of Ysgol y Graig in Llangefni and Ysgol Talysarn in Dyffryn Nantlle, also the secondary school pupils of Ysgol David Hughes in Menai Bridge, Ysgol Tryfan in Bangor and Ysgol Dyffryn Ogwen, Bethesda.
“Saturday, March 7, will see a performance at Capel Penrallt, Bangor by the North Wales Camerata, which consists of student performers from various universities.
They will work with conductor Gareth Jones and local young musician and conductor Patrick Rimes and put together a performance of crossover music and a new trumpet concerto written by Owain Llwyd, again commissioned by BMF.
The festival will close with the awarding of the William Mathias Composition Prize for a piece for flute, clarinet, piano and electronics during the Rees/Roche/Pestova evening concert on Sunday, March 8.
“The whole Bangor Music Festival 2015 programme is an exciting one from the energy of Frank Zappa’s music to some relaxing jazz with a wide variety of crossover music in between.
“I’m pleased the festival will once again work with, and inspire school pupils and the public. The festival is growing year on year and I hope we reach as many members of the public as we can by introducing them to all kinds of different genres of music. Come and enjoy!”
For more information and tickets visit www.bangormusicfestival.org.uk