Members of the ATG Executive Committee and Board of Directors welcomed attendees to the 73rd Annual Competition and Festival in Chicago.
atg board of directors
Standing: Peter Giacalone (IL), Donna Dee Ray (FL), John Neu (CO), Stas Venglevski (WI),
Michelle Boddicker Scheffler (OR), Esther Lanting (IN), Norman Seaton (TX), Gordon Kohl (CA)
Seated: Joan Cochran Sommers (KS), Amy Jo Sawyer (IL), Betty Jo Simon (KS),
Elizabeth Finch (CA), Esti Fernandez (IL), Kevin Friedrich (NY)
Absent: Joanna Arnold Darrow (NJ), Jeff Lisenby (TN)


The Accordionists & Teachers Guild, International (ATG) celebrated their 73rd Annual Competition and Festival in Lisle, IL (Chicago) from July 17th to 20th 2013.

Among the featured performers was the remarkable virtuoso accordionist Martynas Levickis, (Lithuania) (pictured left) a winner of multiple International competitions as diverse as 'Lithuania's Got Talent' to the CIA International Competition for Piano Accordion. More recently he has enjoyed the success of his newly released CD 'Martynas' reaching the top of the UK Classical Music Charts, a first for an accordionist. During the festival Martynas performed both solo and in duo with violinist Abe McWilliams.

Adding a terrific flare to the ATG Festival were the 50 member Polyphonia Orchestre (directed by Pierre Varo) from the Réunion Island, who performed a well received program, participated in the ATG Festival Orchestra, competed in the competitions and presented a workshop about life and musical culture in their tiny homeland. The dynamic and entertaining orchestra comprises accordionists, strings, winds and brass, percussion and vocalists.

MIrco Patarini, from Castelfidardo, Italy, performed in concert and presented a magnificent workshop detailing the construction of a concert instrument. Former ATG President Stas Venglevski (pictured top-right) highlighted his versatility by performing in concert a popular program of classics and contemporary works, as well as his original compositions which he performed solo, in duet with CIA Vice President Joan Cochran Sommers and had showcased by the ATG Festival Orchestra.

Other featured performers included Joe Natoli (highlighting the capabilities of digital technology with the Roland), Elena & Gregory Fainshtein, John Simkus (popular Chicago Jazz accordionist), Nick Ballarini, Soundscape Trio - Larry Miller, Madalynn & John Neu, the UMKC Chamber Accordion Ensemble - Joan Sommers, Betty Jo Simon, Ron Barrow, Amy Hatfield, Joyce Davis & Kevin Friedrich, the Accordion XXI Century Ensemble - Judy Moriarity, John Simkus, Shirl Barry, Richard Moriarity, Jean Urry and Sandy Bednarek, and the beautiful exotic sounding performances by the Tianjin Angels Art and Culture School Ensemble from China.

Workshops were also presented by Dr. Helmi Harrington, World of Accordions Museum, Gordon Kohl, Avrum Levin, Donna Dee Ray, as well as the featured performing artists.

The closing concert featured the 80 piece ATG Festival Orchestra (directed by Joan Cochran Sommers and Pierre Varo) and the 35 member ATG Board of Directors and Friends Orchestra directed by Joan Sommers, with singers Dennis Ray, Anne Marie Cardon and Damon Cole.

Competitions were held throughout the festival, and this year in addition to the solo, duet and ensemble competitions, the ATG hosted several competitions for accordion with other instruments.

Plans are already underway for the 74th Competition and Festival to be held in San Francisco, California from July 23-26th 2014.

joan and stas
Former ATG Presidents Joan Cochran Sommers and Stas Venglevski in duo
Tianjin Angels Art and Culture School Ensemble from China
Above left: Dr. Helmi Harrington presenting her workshop on the history of the accordion
Above right: Mirco Patarini presenting his workshop on the construction of the accordion
Above left: Mirco Patarini (Italy)
Above right:
Elena and Gregory Fainshtein (Texas)
Above left: Milwaukee Accordion Club Ensemble (Stas Venglevski - Director)
Above right: Polyphonia Orchestre Ensemble (Reunion Island)
Above left: Nathan Troxell (contestant)
Above right: Logan Stephens (contestant)
atg festival
Top: Polyphonia Orchestre (directed by Pierre Varo)
Middle: The audience giving the Poloyphonia Orchestre a standing ovation
Lower: Members of the Tianjin Angels Art and Culture School Ensemble from China
with 6 year old contestant Nathan Troxell
Lisle, (Chicago) Illinois
July 17-20, 2013

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