and Peter Soave
(USA) and Jean
Louis Noton (France), performed 7 concerts and gave 3 master
classes in China and Mongolia from April 29th to May 15th.
Peter Soave was featured soloist with the Shanghai University Philharmonic
in the first Chinese performance of Astor Piazzolla's famous concerto
‘Aconcagua’ for Bandoneon and Orchestra.
programs of the China tour included: Peter Soave - solo accordion
improvisations and, in duo, Madeleine Soave on accordion and Peter
on bandoneon. Jean Louis Noton peformed solo original compositions
and French film music on the Cavagnolo Odyssée. All 3 artistes
finished with a musical tribute to the great French composer André
between 900 and 1400 per concert. Jean Louis Noton has been performing
concerts in China for 10 years. Peter Soave made his 2nd appearance
in China in 6 months.
based, visually impaired accordion virtuoso, Bernadette Conlon
has had the unprecedented honour of being invited back to three of
the larger accordion festivals in the United States, following the
outstanding success of her 2005 tour.
Bernadette will be guest artiste and adjudicator for the Leavenworth International Accordion Convention, where, last year's mobbing crowd pre-empted the organisers to invite her this year. The Las Vegas International Accordion Convention, which features some of the world's most famous and influential accordionists, such as Art Van Damme, Peter Soave, Dick Contino and the K Trio, secured Bernadette for the second year, as did the Kimberley International Old Time Accordion Championships in Canada, which, last year, wrote its way into the history books, by having 644 accordionists playing at the same time together, for half an hour, in a valiant Guinness Book of Records attempt.
Bernadette says she was overwhelmed by the audience’s reaction last year, which led to the invitations in 2006 to these festivals.
Accordion Awareness Month, San Francisco – USA Contributed by Rob
Tom Torriglia of San Francisco has declared June to be ‘International
Accordion Awareness Month.’ The month of June began in fine
style with the 16th Annual San Francisco Accordion Festival, held
at Fisherman’s Wharf, featuring the San Francisco Accordion
Band, Kielbasia - the Polish Lunch Lady, Culann's Hounds, Conjunto
Romero, Big Lou's Polka Casserole, Bella Ciao, Those Darn Accordions
and the San Francisco Main Squeeze finals.
San Francisco has given
official recognition of National Accordion Awareness Month for the
rest of June - all thanks to the persistence of Tom Torriglia, who
declares that "My Christmas starts at about 4 am on June 1st.
"That's when the phone will ring and some bubbly, overcaffeinated
DJ from the East Coast will be on the other end and say something
like, 'Hey, did you know it's National Accordion Awareness Month
- and can you play a song for all the listeners?' "
He knows, all right. And
for the rest of the month Tom Torriglia will do everything he can
to let everyone else know, too. Tom was interviewed at the SF Accordion
Festival by a reporter from Westwood One, America’s largest
radio station. On June 21st, he will be filmed by a national television
station from Canada for a broadcast that “should give the
accordion a ton of great press”.
della Fisarmonica, Milan - Italy Contributed
14th saw the first Festival della Fisarmonica, organised by Beltrami
Accordions and Serist SpA at the Centro Direzionale Colleoni in Milan,
Italy. Over 350 people enjoyed an afternoon covering a wide spectrum
of music. Before and between performances those present could visit
the exhibition of historical instruments in the foyer of the venue
from a few private collections.
Performers included classical accordionist Claudio Ranalli (Italy),
with pianist Pino Laudadio; Daniele Scurati (accordion) and Stefano
Valla (shepherd’s pipe) (Italy) with some Italian folk music,
and Nadio Marenco (Italy), student of Professor Sergio Scappini at
the Milan Conservatory. Scotland’s Gordon Middler played a selection
of traditional Scottish and Irish Music, including a moving rendition
of ‘The Dark Island’.
The audience were ecstatic and laughed at Middler’s cheeky motion
to the audience not to look up his kilt while he was playing! Emir
Bosnjak, from Bosnia-Herzegovina, gave an eclectic mix of music, including
some Balkan-inspired pieces. England’s Romano Viazzani performed
a varied program, including ‘Corbieres and Croissants’
– a musette swing waltz by Viazzani himself, and ‘Glory
to God in the Highest’ from Davor Bobic’s ‘Litugical
Suite’, the church organ-like sound produced by his accordion
brought a tear to a very proud Mr. Beltrami’s eye.
After the tea break it was time for Italy’s technical wizard
Mauro Carra, who astounded the audience with his dexterity in pieces
such as ‘La Tempete’, ‘Czardas’ (Monti) and
‘Mazurca Variata’ (Migliavacca) as well as delighting
with his musicality in Frank Marocco’s ‘Cynthia’,
and the comical contemporary piece ‘Itto’, about a hapless
waiter! The audience were on their feet. After a brief interlude with
the amazing harmonica player ‘Bruno de Filippi’, who played
‘The Man I Love’ (Gershwin) and ‘Stardust’
(Carmichael), it was time for some duets.
Nadio Marenco and Emir Bosnjak performed together ‘The theme
from the Godfather’ and ‘Libertango’. Mauro Carra
and Romano Viazzani, as a duo, performed ‘Tarantella Boogie’,
‘La Cumparsita’ and a scintillating version of ‘Indifference’,
which once again brought audiences to their feet.
After an operatic interlude where Claudio Ranalli accompanied tenor
Marco Faralli in ‘La Donna e Mobile’ (Verdi), Mr.Giorgi
of Serist SpA took to the stage to thank all the artistes and to call
up two of Stradella’s finest accordion makers Claudio Beltrami
and Amleto Dallapè of the legendary Dallapè factory.
Mr. Giorgi also promised that this would not be the last festival
he would organise! All the accordionists then came back on stage to
play the grand finale – Romano Viazzani’s transcription
of Glenn Miller’s ‘In the Mood’, much to the delight
of the audience.
Castletown Accordion Orchestra’s European Contest Success – Ireland Contributed
by Rob Howard
Competing against orchestras from Ireland, Italy, Russia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Latvia, Norway, Northern Ireland, Germany, Serbia and Montenegro, Estonia and Switzerland, the Castletown Accordion Orchestra from Kells, County Meath in the Republic of Ireland, won First Prize in the Junior Section at the European Accordion Festival held in Prague, the Czech Republic, from April 20th to 23rd. The 2006 European Accordion Festival was the 4th time the competition has been held and Castletown's success represents the first ever victory for an orchestra from Ireland or the UK.
In addition to first place the Orchestra received a citation for being 'Outstanding' from a jury consisting of Ladislave Horak (Czech Republic), Georg Penz and Stefan Hipp (Germany). The Festival President is Dr. Jindrich Feld, who is one of the leading Czech composers.
The orchestra, with members from just 8 years old, is taught by John and Yvonne Chilton, who are based near Virginia in County Cavan. John and Yvonne, originally from England, are steeped in all things accordion and are the founders of the Irish Accordion Association.
As well as the competitions there were also concerts in various venues throughout Prague, where the visiting orchestras performed and which saw Castletown play concerts in the Ladvi Hall, St. Nikolas Church, and in Liben Castle they played in the same room in which Mozart, Haydn and Dvorak all performed.
played in the world premiere of the Children’s Ballet ‘The
Scarlet Pimpernel’ by Ben Foskett at the Peacock Theatre in
London on May 18th. The Ballet has a very prominent accordion part.
Milos has been invited to play the accordion part in ‘Correspondence’
by Henri Dutilleux at the prestigious Aldeburgh Festival in England
on June 24th with the Britten-Pears Orchestra, conducted by Oliver
Murray (left) and Borut Zagoranski will also appear in the festival on
June 13th and 21st respectively. To have three accordionists at this
prestigious festival in separate items is indeed a reflection of how
well the instrument is becoming integrated into the classical music
Meets Skiffle, London – UK Contributed
Howard The Zydeco band Hottboxx share the bill with the skiffle band
Eastside in a concert on June 8th. Eastside open the proceedings
at 7.30pm, and Hottboxx are on stage at 9.30pm. Fronted by the irrepressible
Carla on piano accordion, Hottboxx will be playing a mix of Zydeco,
Blues and Rock 'n Roll
Island Irish Festival, New York - USA
The 8th Staten
Island Irish Festival takes place on June 10th and 11th, featuring
the Willie Lynch band at 1pm, and the Bogside Rogues at 5pm on the
11th. On the 12th, the Andy Cooney band performs at 1pm, and Tommy
O’Callaghan and the Moonshiners are on stage at 4.30pm. All
three bands feature accordionists. The festival takes place at Staten
Island Rodeo Grounds, Exit 15, Lily Pond Avenue, off the Staten Island
diatonic button accordionist Joe Burke hosts his annual series of
master classes during July. These are as follows:-
July 3rd to 8th - Willie Clancy Summer School, Milltown, Malbay
July 10th to15th - South Sligo Summer School, Tubbercury, Sligo
17th to 22nd - Joe Mooney Summer School, Drumshanbo, Leitrim
July 24th to 29th - Mc Peake Summer School, Belfast
and amateur accordionists of all ages gather from around the world
to learn, practice and perform the art of the accordion in Montreux.
The tutors are Mady and Peter Soave (USA), and Jean Louis Noton (France).
During the seminar all lectures, lessons, meals and room accommodations
are hosted in a center that emphasizes camaraderie and progress in
a friendly environment. Aside from music making, participants can
enjoy the breathtaking panorama of the Swiss mountains! Due
to popular demand, this year’s master classes are two be held
over two separate weeks: August 1st to 8th, and 11th to 18th. The
master classes will cover the following topics: Classical, tango,
musette, jazz, improvisation, world-music; MIDI programming and
performance; Articulation, fingering, phrasing, bellow techniques;
Solo and chamber music; History of the accordion; Computer-Aided Music.
Hession Solo CD Release, London - UK
Contributed by Rob
Accordionist Eddie Hession, currently a member of the band ZUM, has made his first solo CD, titled ‘Under Duress’. The recording features music written by Chick Corea, Adam Summerhayes, David Gordon, Bill Evans and Astor Piazzolla.
Event in Le parc de la Villette, Paris – France
parc de la Villette, Paris on August 26th and 27th will be the scene
for two days of continuous accordion music, including all styles
– jazz, musette, contemporary, ethnic, etc. Players already
booked to appear include Daniel Mille, David Venitucci, Lionel Suarez,
Didier Dullieux, Jean-Luc Amestoy, Pascal Contet, Jean-François
Baëz, Man Xin, Yves Weyh and Zakarya, sheng player Wu Wei,
Jean-Luc Bouffard, Ophélie Gaillard, Marianne Piketty, Bijan
Chemirani, Serge Adam, Philippe Botta, Carol Robinson and Tom Mays.
Contet, the artistic director of this event, is looking for
accordionists from anywhere in the world, of any age, style or experience
to participate. All participants are offered food and beverage
and entrance for the special cabaret evening in Sauvage on August