There is just 4 weeks before the first Roland International V-Accordion Festival takes place. Roland, the sole company in the world producing only digital accordions (the renowned V-Accordions), is organizing the first international contest for digital accordion players.
“The main goal of the contest” explains Mr Luigi Bruti, Roland Europe R&D Director “is not only to discover the best accordionists in the world, but also to show the potential of digital accordions and accordion music”.
The Roland contest is open to accordionists from all backgrounds – from hobbyists to professional players. There are two different categories: solo performance and ensemble performance (maximum 4 - piece). The competition consists of national qualifying rounds and then the international final.
Accordionists from many European and non-European countries have already entered the contest, including players from Benelux, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain, UK, Australia, Brazil, Canada, and New Zealand.
The first country to stage their national qualifying round will be Italy. This will be held in Aosta on August 19th to coincide with the ‘Festa delle Fisarmoniche’ (accordion festival). This will be followed in September by qualifying rounds in Brazil, Czech Republic, Norway, The Netherlands and UK, then the French and Iberian finals in October (for detailed calendar please visit www.v-accordionfestival.com).
Each of the national winners will then participate in the international final, to be held in Pesaro Italy on November 9th and 10th. The prestigious venue will be the Gioacchino Rossini Conservatory. The international winners will receive prize money of €5,000 from Roland.
‘The Next Tango’ is a DVD that tells the story of Astor Piazzolla, creator of the 'Tango Nuevo.' In this film, Piazzolla - known in his native Argentina as 'El Gran Ástor' - performs three of his works with the Cologne Radio Orchestra and talks with Andres Salcedo about his life, his career, and the irresistible phenomenon that is tango.
With his 'new tango,' composer and bandoneón virtuoso Astor Piazzolla brought Argentina's dance of passion, grace, and sexual power into international concert halls. The DVD lasts for 1 hour, 28 minutes.
The Folefest Accordion Competition and Festival takes place in Castelo Branco from February 21st to 23rd 2008. The accordion competitions will take place on Saturday 23rd, and there are test pieces for the diverse categories:
Category A - up to 9 years on 31 December 31st 2007; test piece – ‘Romance’, by J. Draeger
Category B - from 10 to 12 years old on December 31st 2007; test pieces – ‘Marsch’ and the ‘Kindersuite no1’, by Albin Repnikov
Category C - from 13 to 15 years old on December 31st 2007; test piece - 3rd and 4th º movements of ‘Sonatine no1’, by Ernst Günter Rosenetzki
Category D - from 16 to 18 years old on December 31st 2007; test piece – ‘Asia Flashes’ (3rd movement and of Suite B.B.), by Franck Angelis
Category E - 19 years old or older on December 31st 2007; test piece – ‘Ballata’ (1st movement and the Sonata), by Bogdan Precz
In the Chamber Music (F) category: a program that includes at least an original work for the ensemble - duration: 15 minutes approximately.
A series of accordion concerts will be held at the Millennium Stage at the famed Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, during the 2007 CIA Coupe Mondiale World Accordion Championships. The 'Performing Arts for Everyone' on the Millennium Stage program is designed to introduce the Kennedy Center, and make music available from a variety of artistes from around the world to all, by providing a performance open to the public and free of charge 365 days a year. The performers for the Coupe Mondiale Millennium Stage Concerts are:
August 14th - Jerosh Accordion Orchestra (Canada), MD Maureen Jerosh, and the Akkordeonorchester Hof (Germany), MD Guenther Zeilinger (picture left)
August 15th – The University of Missouri-Kansas City Accordion Community Orchestra, MD - Joan Cochran Sommers, and California’s Martin Music Center Accordion Orchestra, MD - Randall Martin
August 16th - New Hampshire’s Rosita Lee Accordion Orchestra and Dancers, MD - Rosita Lee Latulippe, and the North Shore Accordion Orchestra (New Zealand), MD - Lionel Reekie (picture right)
August 17th - Accordeonova (Denmark), MD - Peter Anders, and the Beijing Children's Palace Accordion Orchestra (China)
August 18th - Six first place winners of the various categories within the Coupe Mondiale will play part of their \winning program in Coupe Mondiale, Junior Coupe Mondiale, Piano Accordion Entertainment, Virtuoso Entertainment, Junior Virtuoso Entertainment and Accordion Ensemble.
Further highlights of the Coupe Mondiale are nightly concerts, the premiere performance of the World Accordion Orchestra under the direction of Joan Cochran Sommers (picture left), and a massed band of accordionists conducted by an accordion-playing army colonel will perform in front of the US Capitol. Also, the 60th Anniversary Coupe Mondiale Banquet Gala will take place Friday night.
The US Army and the US Air Force Bands - each featuring an accordionist - will perform in concerts, a series of social receptions with entertainment, and late evening performances in a lounge setting with open mic for participating accordionists.
The Coupe Mondiale, which takes place in a different country every year, is run under the auspices of the Confederation Interntionales des Accordeonistes. It is being sponsored in the US by through the joint efforts of the AAA (American Accordionists' Association) and the ATG (Accordionists and Teachers Guild). Faithe Deffner, a CIA vice president, is Coupe Mondiale coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Ken Kunec’s workshop ‘Accordions Gone Wild! Getting Creative With Your Music’ was a great way to spend part of a sunny July afternoon. In Ken’s words: “Most of us became accordion players by strict adherence to a framework of music that we were taught.
We learned to play somebody else’s arrangement of music, usually with wondrous precision and we graduated through increasingly more difficult compositions. Some of us learned to improvise somewhat around the framework and that represents our ‘creativity.’
While that is commendable and often very entertaining, this workshop challenges you to get away from those frameworks and become your own arranger. Be a rebel!”
Ken has prepared a series of short videos, along with some written materials, and these will be posted to the WMAS Web. After the workshop music was distributed for a WMAS Massed Band. In a couple of months we will be practicing for the December 16th holiday concert, and later for other concerts.
WMAS will not be meeting in August. Instead, everyone is encouraged to attend the Coupe Mondiale, August 13th to 19th.
On September 16th WMAS will be have Mary Tokarski (picture left) as guest. Mary is a wonderful musician and teacher, so mark your calendars now and be sure not to miss this meeting!
The première of the new commercial for Heineken Extra Cold took place on Monday 23rd. Music for this advertisement is played and composed by concert accordionist Nihad Hrustanbegovic and is called: 'World Promenade'. The clip is now to be seen on all Dutch public and commercial television. Nihad wrote the ‘World Promenade’ in February 2007 and it is the first part (also the introduction) of the ‘Stork Suite’. This Suite is recorded on his first solo CD: ‘The best of Concert Accordion’.
Nihad performed on March 28th as a soloist in the Dutch TV program, 'De wereld draait door' of Matthijs van Nieuwkerk. This performance is the number 1 of the show's Top 11 since the end of May as the best artiste of last season.
Nihad Hrustanbegovic will be performing from upcoming September on several Dutch music concert stages.
First Cologne AO’s Dolomites Concert Tour - Germany
Contributed by Winfried Haushalter
Almost 11 years to the day after their last concert tour, the First Cologne Accordion Orchestra travelled in mid-July to the South Tyrol, Italy. The orchestra gave a series of concerts to enthused audiences in Spielorten, Pedraces, Wolkenstein, San Cassian, St. Vigil, and Corvara.
These concerts were performed before standing room only audiences, with approximately 2,500 visitors gave the largest applause in title as well as, ’Amadeus Goes Pop’, ’On the Sunny Side of the Street’, ’Up Where We Belong’, ’My Way’ and ’Abba’s Greatest Hits’, all arranged by Matthias Hennecke. The weather was beautiful, adding to the pleasure of the concert tour for the orchestra members. The next tour is likely to be in 2 years’ time.
The Alnwick International Music Festival 2007 takes place from August 4th to 11th, presenting musicians, singers and dance teams from many countries. Local accordionist Robert Whitehead (picture right), the only Englishman to become an All Scotland Champion, is one of the guest artistes.
Also appearing are BorderBox, a local youth ensemble that includes mainly accordion and fiddle players. There are dance teams – most of which feature accordion accompaniment - from Greece, Italy, Latvia, Mauritius, Slovenia, Poland and Turkey.
A new advanced level accordion course, open to musicians, conductors and composers, run by Anne Landa takes place at the Scuola Soto Mesa, near the centre of Madrid. The course begins this summer, and offers study of Baroque, classical and contemporary repertoire.
Anne Landa is both a Professor of Accordion and a specialist in the Alexander Technique.
The Sidmouth Folk Week takes place from August 3rd to 10th, involving over a hundred bands, dance teams, duos and solo performers.
As always, there are many accordion-based artistes, including All Blacked Up, Altan, Apples In Winter, Bodega, Fluxus, Gas Mark 5, GloryStrokes, Hoover the Dog, John Kirkpatrick, Last Orders, Tim Laycock, Jon Loomes, Lua, Moor Music, New Scorpion Band, The Outside Track, Chris Parkinson, Brian Peters, Random, Ed Rennie, Salsa Celtica, Emily Smith, Stomp, Trinculo, Twm Twp, Tim Van Eyken, Whapweasal, Wistman’s Wood, The Yetties, and Yves Lambert & Le Bébert.
International Accordion Festival, Rezekne – Latvia
The 5th Fisa…armonie International Competition takes place in Trieste from September 28th to 30th. This event has several age categories, open to solo players, concert performers, chamber groups and accordion orchestras. The final festival concert will be broadcast live on radio or television.
Gary Dahl - accordionist as well as a composer, arranger, recording artist and music educator, releases 3 new works for accordion available for purchase online, ‘Beer Barrel Polka’, ‘Fascination’, 'The Music Of The Night'. Samples of this music are available on the site. The music is in eSheet format, able to be emailed to your computer. Purchase with credit card.