Accordion History in the United States of America
Accordion History


Accordion USA News has been running monthly since December 2000.
There are many articles about USA accordion events on this website at

American accordionists have had a substantial influence on the accordion worldwide this century. Here are the details of just some of the accordionists who have had a profound input.

John Kimmel recorded the first record on a diatonic accordion in 1903. He continued to make records until 1929. Born in 1866, he was of Irish-German descent.

In 1916 the San Francisco Accordion Club was set up with 39 members. Among those were Olinto Di Lucca, Guiseppe Frigone and Paolo Mascagni.

One famous accordion family were the three Marconi brothers: Victor, Valentino and Ernesto, who performed worldwide during the 1920's.

Pietro Frosini was the first known American chromatic accordionist. He was born in Sicily in 1885. His father was an accordion enthusiast and encouraged Pietro to begin lessons on the diatonic when he was six. He changed to the chromatic system three years later. He emigrated to the USA in 1905 and in about 1908 he began to compose. Over the next 40 years he composed and arranged an enormous range of music for the accordion. He also taught many well-known accordionists, before passing away in 1951.

Pietro Deiro was the younger of the two Deiro brothers and was born in 1888. Under the influence of his older brother he began to play the accordion in Germany in 1905. In 1907 he moved to the USA where he was the first accordionist to use the chromatic model with piano keys. He began recording in 1910 and one of his most famous songs "Pietro's Return" was recorded in 1914. He wrote many compositions, studies and transcriptions, and even opened his own publishing house. He is sometimes called the American 'Father of the Accordion' and died in 1954.

Guido Deiro, Pietro's older brother, was born in 1886. When he was nine, he began to teach himself the accordion and at fourteen started playing professionally. Guido made two records in 1911. Around the same time he performed in theatres all over the world, including Great Britain, Australia and Canada. During the 1920's he continued to record and played the accordion in movie soundtracks. He died in 1950.

Who Was First article

Anthony Galla-Rini was born in 1904, died 2006. His father and two sisters played with him in a family orchestra called the Galla-Rini Four. He later accompanied artists such as the Marx Brothers. In 1938 he helped set up the American Accordionists' Association (AAA) with Pietro Deiro, Charlie Magnante, Joe Biviano and Pietro Frosini. He left the association after a difference of opinion and in 1939 became an accordion teacher at the New York Galanti Accordion Conservatory. In 1941 he was one of the founders of the Accordionists & Teachers Guild International (ATG). From 1945 he worked on film soundtracks and toured internationally.

Dr Willard Palmer was born in 1917, and began teaching himself the accordion after learning the piano. At sixteen, he became the first professional accordionist in the state of Mississippi. After the war he published (with Bill Hughes, his best student) a series of workbooks which have sold more copies worldwide than any other accordion tuition series. In 1946, Palmer formed a trio with Lew Manno on the double bass and Bill Hughes on the accordion. He established himself as a music editor, and gave conferences on the accordion throughout the USA and Canada. He also wrote hundreds of studies for the accordion and the piano.

See also Tom Collins and his famous friends Celebrity Interview for interesting information about famous accordionists.Tom Collins obituary.

Other Celebrity Interviews of famous American Accordion Celebrities are:
Faithe DEFFNER 28 August 1999
French Celebrity Interview Famous accordion personality and accordion manufacturer director.

Joan Cochran SOMMERS
retired professor of accordion at UMKC Conservatory of Music.

world famous Jazz artist.

Maddalena BELFIORE
artist, teacher CIA Executive Officer and renowned protege of Pietro Frosini.
Maddalena Belfiore-Greco Obituary

Other Memorials of famous American Accordion Artists and Celebrities:

Eddie Chavez
Co-Author of the book Golden Age of the Accordion, in the USA .

Robert Davine
Professor of Accordion and Theory, Lamont School of Music, University of Denver since the late 1950's.

Myren Floren
Famous USA accordionist. Joined Welk's orchestra in 1950 and appeared throughout the popular TV show's 27 year run. Averaged over 150 concerts per year for many years across North America.

Charles Magnante
Virtuoso, composer and recording artist, often considered the greatest of his era

Art Van Damme
The great accordion jazz legend of his time.
© 2021 Accordions Worldwide • All rights reserved. To comment on these pages, e-mail the webmaster.