Ensemble Musikfabrik (DE)

“Musikfabrik plays Zappa”

Ever since its formation, Ensemble Musikfabrik has had the reputation of being one of the leading ensembles for contemporary music. Following the literal meaning of its name, Ensemble Musikfabrik is particularly dedicated to artistic innovation. New, unknown, and often personally commissioned works in unusual media are typical of their productions. The results of their extensive work, usually taking place in close collaboration with the composers, are presented by the Cologne-based international soloist ensemble in about 80 concerts a year in both Germany and abroad, at Festivals, in their own series “Musikfabrik in WDR” and in regular radio recordings and CD productions.

The musicians themselves take the responsibility for making all-important decisions. Exploring forms of modern communication, and new possibilities for expression in musical and theatrical areas, are a focal point. Interdisciplinary projects that can include live electronics, dance, theatre, film, literature and creative artists, along with chamber music, and the confrontation with works using open form and improvisation, extend the traditional conducted ensemble concerts. Lecture concerts and the experimentation with alternative concert forms involving audience participation are also part of this. Thanks to its extraordinary profile, and its superb artistic quality, the Ensemble Musikfabrik is sought after world wide and is a trusted partner of renowned composers and conductors. Since 2013 the ensemble owns a complete replicated set of the Harry Partch instruments. Furthermore, the double bell brass instruments are another outstanding trait of the ensemble's eagerness to experiment.

The ensemble’s guest list is as prominent as it is long: It includes Mark Andre, Louis Andriessen, Stefan Asbury, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Unsuk Chin, Péter Eötvös, Brian Ferneyhough, Heiner Goebbels, Toshio Hosokawa, Michael Jarrell, Mauricio Kagel, Helmut Lachenmann, David Lang, Liza Lim, Benedict Mason, Mouse on Mars, Carlus Padrissa (La Fura dels Baus), Emilio Pomàrico, Enno Poppe, Wolfgang Rihm, Peter Rundel, Rebecca Saunders, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Ilan Volkov and Sasha Waltz.

Ensemble Musikfabrik is supported by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The Kunststiftung NRW supports the series “Musikfabrik in WDR”.

Ali N. Askin, who will perform at Z#30 too, has arranged Zappa music for the Ensemble Musikfabrik. At an interview Ali answered to the question „How does the cooperation at the rehearsals with Ensemble Musikfabrik turn out? Are you so to speak the one to pass on the Zappa groove?“ :
„Well I don't have to hand on the groove that much, because the whole „band“ is grooving wonderfully by itself. They have a terrific rhythm secection with all the typical rock instruments, drum set, e-bass, e-guitar, keyboards. That's a very good basis, I don't have a lot to tell. The co-work is beginning on a very high level. The only thing what I am adding here and there are maybe such small gestural things or dynamic. And because we don't have a conductor it is a very pleasant teamwork because it is emerging from the group itself. So I don't have plenty to do.“

... so get into the groove!


Percussion Under Construction

Dear Sir: Perhaps you might remember me from my stupid phone call last January, if not, my name again is Frank Zappa Jr. I am 16 years old ….

Frank Zappa wrote these lines to avant-garde composer Edgar Varèse in 1957. His piece "Ionisation" for percussion ensemble fascinated Zappa very much and in his own words inspired him to start a career in music. Varèse‘s percussion music was to accompany him throughout his life.

For 15 years now, the eight percussionists of »Percussion under Construction« have ripped off their audience with hot rhythms.

The percussion ensemble, which was founded by members of the drum section of the Saarland State Orchestra, has been playing several two-hour shows every year since 2009 on the main stage of the Saarland State Theater. In 2015 Percussion Under Construction framed a.o. the presentation of the German Theater Prize "Faust", in 2018 they guested at the Festival Euroclassic for the first time.

"Recycled", the title of their current theater project, which is causing sensations since 2017, says it all: you can get a really fat drum groove out of plastic pipes, buckets, brooms, boxes, bottles or even the old bike.

The fusion of classical and modern percussion literature and original compositions, as well as the well organised stage show, has long since become the trademark of the troupe with its artistic directors Matthias Weißenauer and Martin Hennecke.

Extraordinary ideas of implementation - such as the invention of specialized home-made instruments (f.e. drainpipe marimba), as well as the inclusion of video and sound effects - turn the performances into exciting and surprising experiences.

For Zappanale 2019, the Ensemble has chosen the theme "Zappa, Varèse and Loud Americans" for the MainStage performance. In addition to "Ionisation" and Zappa arrangements for various percussion instruments - such as marimba, vibraphone, timpani, drums, oil barrels, buckets – we will hear some of their own compositions, including a premiere by Martin Hennecke, which deals with Zappa and Varèse. Rhythms and quotes from "Ionisation" are recomposed in the style of a Zappa composition.

At MysteryStage, Percussion Under Construction will present a variation on their quartet program.

The ine-up for Zappanale consists of: Manuel Geier, Ia Giguashvili, Kasper Gubala, Martin Hennecke, Jannis Lichtenfels, Thorsten Muschiol, Johannes Walter, Matthias Weißenauer.

„Keys, plastic buckets and pipes as musical instruments: Sounds not so obvious. But Percussion Under Construction, the percussionists of the Saarland State Orchestra make music on it -  impressively versatile, sometimes bizarre and radically modern (...) A wondrous cosmos of sounds, populated by equally wondrous instruments.“

Saarland Radio

„Yesterday I saw myself facing a thug gang in Saarbrücken: 8 men, armed with truncheons, pipes and hammers! It was not possible to escape them because I was encircled in the middle of a large crowd. For two hours their punches beat down on me. But I did not even think about escaping! "Recycled"- the concert by the drummers of the Saarland State Orchestra (conducted by Matthias Weißenauer and Martin Hennecke) could have taken even longer for me. I can not remember that a concert has ever inspired me that much. It was a concert of a very different kind - indescribable, sensational, breathtaking.“

Erwin Altmeier


Det Skandaløse Orkester

Whenever a band with a name like this tells it's inspired by Frank Zappa (yes, there are a few others as well), you have to be alert. If one then is told that apart from Zappa, YES, Pink Floyd, 50 Hertz, comedy music from the mid-90s and the Bare Egil Band are among the sources of inspiration, this can only lead to one thing: chaotic madness.

Det Skandaløse Orkester comes from Bergen in Norway. Seemingly a city with a certain breeding ground for music. (Edvard Grieg, Kaizers Orchestra ...). In fact the band considers itself as „the best thing coming from Bergen since Edvard Grieg“.

The band was founded in 2011 and released their first album "„No Har De Laget Skandale Igjen!" in 2014 digitally, on CD and on vinyl. The current album - "Tenk om noen ser deg" which means "What if someone sees you" – was released last year (2018). If you listen to the albums, the statement about the sources of inspiration makes perfect sense. But it is not the chaotic madness. It's awesome controlled chaos, and a lot of fun.

All songs are composed by Sondre Jørgensen, keyboarder of the band. Titles such as "I'd fucking love to be on TV" or "A naked man was found in a trash can" could have come straight from Zappa's pen. There are also some similarities with Zappa‘s live bands of the 70's, in instrumentation with horns and melodic percussion as well as in the eccentric stage presence.

One of the stars of the band next to the guitarist Øystein Eriksen is "the party in particular" and therefore it was clear when and where Det Skandaløse Orkester will find its place at the 30th Zappanale: Saturday night, Mystery Stage. It will be loud, hot and tight ... on and off stage. We say: Party On!                                                      

Det Skandaløse Orkester:

Sondre Jørgensen: keyboards, vocals
Mats Erik Zen: vocals, guitar
Øystein Bech-Eriksen: guitar, vocals
Søster Pling: vocals
Jørgen Haugland: bass
Gjert Hermansen: drums
Morten Norheim: saxophones
William Grøv-Skramsett: trumpet
Nataniel Hjønnevåg: percussion


Ed Palermo Big Band (US)

Ed Palermo's Big Band! Yes. Yes. Yes.

After many years – the legendary Z#13 – Ed Palermo is finally again visiting us with his band at Zappanale. And there's rather nothing more to say than: Have fun and enjoy!
But of course he and his band are worth some more words. Ed Palermo's Big Band - they are playing together since 1980 - belongs definitely to those Zappa cover bands who have left the "cover stadium". For Ed Palermo, saxophonist, band leader and arrangeur it's not a matter of reproducing the works of Frank Zappa but to interprete them totally in the spirit of Frank. He is arranging and mixing classic with jazz and R&B, enwrapping it with rich wind sections. His arrangements are peppered with unexpected twists and his band is keeping an easiness even at complex and speedy structures so that they are finding back to the main theme, which makes listening and watching a great experience. Ed Palermo's own works are in no way inferior to Zappa's interpretations, they fit seamlessly into the masterplan just like the conversions from other musicians.

„He was using the instrumentation of a traditional big band, but his arrangements and songs were anything else. When I thought that the music would take a particular direction it turned around the corner. Ed is able to keep this important balance between cohesiveness and unpredictability. Ed Palermo's music is vital and representing now.“ Gil Evans

After Zappa's death Ed,who got the Zappa virus from the „Mothers“, came up with the idea to give a tribute concert with his band. This show has been back then the most popular show of the big band – in the former club „The Bitter End“.
Thereupon the band was contacted from Alan Pepper from the club „The Bottom Line“, which lead to a nine year long engagement. During these year long engagements in the clubs of New York (after the „Botttom Line“ there were 10 years following at the „Iridium“) they performed mainly Zappa arrangements. At these shows it was inevitable that they met several Zappa alumni: Napoleon Murphy Brock, Gary Lucas, Mike Keneally, Ray White, Ike Willis, Candy Zappa, Denny Walley as well as Mats & Morgan have been guest musicians at these shows ... and because some of the musicians mentioned above will be guests at the jubilee Zappanale, too, it suggests itself to repeat one or another of those guest performances.

1997 they recorded their first Zappa album „The Ed Palermo Big Band plays the music of Frank Zappa“ which was published by Astor Place.
2006 they published under the label Cuneiform Records their second CD „Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance“.
2009 the band published their third CD „Eddy Loves Frank“, again on Cuneiform.
In February 2014 „OH NO!! NOT JAZZ!!“ was published and got enthusiastic write-ups, one 4 star rating from the Downbeat Magazine among them. 
2015 the band released the album „One Child Left Behind“ with Napoleon Murphy Brock and „Candy“ Zappa, Frank's sister.
In the year 2016 the band published the albums „The Great Un-American Songbook“, Volume 1 & 2, with Napoleon Murphy Brock, and this album got a 4 star rating from the Downbeat Maganzine, too.
And also the actual (2017) release „The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren – The music from Frank Zappa and Todd Rundgren“ is receiving enthused reviews.

„Eddy Loves Frank, „OH NO!! NOT JAZZ!!“, „One Child Left Behind“, „The Great Un-American Songbook“ and „The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren“ have been produced by Bruce McDaniel, guitarist and vocalist of the band.

Ed Palermo is teaching music at Hoff/Barthelson in Scarsdale, New York. He was recently named from the online magazin The Daily Beast as one of the 40 „fascinating musicians one should pay attention to“.

Unpredictability is a key element of Ed Palermo Big Band. The audience never knows what to expect, except total madness and brilliance.

Please „do sit down“ and enjoy it!


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Zappanale #30

19. - 21.07.2019
The Torture stops in 59 days!
19. - 21. Juli 2019
The Torture stops in 59 days!