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The Squeeze
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News from 29th November 1996

This weeks titles:


Contributed by Joan-Cochran Sommers, Dean at UMKC

The UMKC (University of Missouri-Kansas City) Accordion Orchestra has a busy festive season lined up, with two concerts at the University on Sunday 8th December, at the Kansas City Scandinavian Club on Friday 13th December and then will perform four selections at a "Holiday Pops Spectacular" with Miss America Tara Holland and the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra on December 17th and 18th. This will be the first time any accordion performer or orchestra has been asked to perform with them, and everyone is really looking forward to it. For further details on any of these concerts, see Future Events.

The UMKC Accordion Orchestra is also planning a concert tour to Europe from 17th June to 1st July 1997. The main places of interest are Munich, Vienna, Budapest and Prague. If anyone knows of accordion contacts in those cities or others in that general area, please contact Joan-Cochran Sommers, UMKC, 4949 Cherry Street, Kansas City, MO 64110, USA, Phone +1 816-2352743, Fax +1 816-2355264. The orchestra also invites inquiries from those interested in touring with them either as players or supporters to do the same.


Contributed by Martin Frey, Akkordeon Importe

The Russian Ensemble, White Day's recent performances in Switzerland have left me completely amazed. They are an absolutely fantastic, world class group! They not only play brilliantly, they also tell jokes and get the audience involved.

It all started at the rehearsal for their Swiss TV performance last Saturday, when all the cameramen and directors gave them a standing ovation, and wanted to hear more, so they played for one hour just for them! It was absolutely fantastic. Their repertoire covers traditional Russian music to pop arrangements such as music from "The Beatles" and "Queen". After the TV show they received overwhelming compliments.

Last Monday the group played a concert in Toggenburg, a famous valley in the Swiss Alps for holidays with a lot of tourists. Also this concert was a great success with another standing ovation!

There are plans for a full European Concert Tour next year, with Swiss TV wanting them to play again. The TV programme director was also keen to have other accordion groups and performers play.


Contributed by Faithe Deffner, President of the American Accordionists' Association

The American Accordionists' Association will hold its 1997 Competitions and Festival in the music-filled city of New Orleans, home of cajun, zydeco, blues and jazz; all idioms which swing on the accordion. Tentative dates are from Wednesday July 9 to Sunday July 13, 1997 with the headquarters a hotel in the heart of the city, adjacent to the sizzling French Quarter.

New Orleans is one of the country's most popular cities, offering southern hospitality, old world charm, an abundance of exciting activities, and, in July 1997, an unbelievable array of accordion extravaganzas. Email for program details which will be available in the near future.


Contributed by Wu Jie

From the 8th to 16th November, Russian accordionist Mr Oleg Sharov gave four concerts in Chengdu, Chongqing and Beijing. He performed a good variety programme on his Bayan accordion, including classical, jazz and modern music, which was warmly appreciated by the audience. Highlights of his concerts were:

  • Toccata & Fugue (Bach)
  • Blue Danube Waltz (Strauss)
  • Dance from the Nutcracker Suite (Tchaikovsky)
  • Phantasmagorien (Olzack)
  • Take the "A" Train (Strayhorn)
  • Russian Veronezh Cowboy (Chernikov)
  • Therapont Monastry (Zolotariov)


    Contributed by Tom Collins, Montana, USA

    Eddie Chavez, renowned USA accordion historian, is circulating a petition which requests the US Postal Service to issue a stamp in recognition of Charles Magnante's rare accordion talents. The petition reads:


    To honor distinguished American accordionist


    We, the undersigned, do hereby request the US Postal Service to consider a special commemorative stamp in recognition of the unique talent of Charles Magnante. For several decades in the early years of radio, he was unexcelled as the finest accordion artist in the world. His rare musical talent thrilled the hearts of all who heard him. He brought the world's most beautiful melodies through radio, records and personal appearance in the lives of all who lived in the golden area of popular music.

    If anyone is interested in joining the list of signatures, please write to Eddie Chavez, 9019 Hetherington, San Antonio, TX 78240-3611, USA


    Contributed by Valentina Bobisheva and Tatiana Lanchtchikova

    Russian ensemble "Vivat, Accordion!" is made up of approximately 12 students from the Moscow Music College, and it includes various instruments, such as accordion, guitar and percussion.

    The ensemble was founded in 1991 by Valentina Bobisheva, when they were invited to take part in an International Accordion Competition that year, held in Italy, which they won. After the competition they performed many successful concerts in other Italian cities, and later that year they made an appearance on Russian TV on a very famous programme "Musical Shop".

    Since then, "Vivat, Accordion!" have been very busy. They have had many concerts in the prestigious concert halls of Moscow, such as the Concert Hall of Moscow Conservatory, Column Hall of Unit House and the Concert Hall of Moscow Philharmonic.

    In 1994 the ensemble participated in the International Accordion Festival "Russian Traditions", which was held in Twente, Holland. They impressed the committee so much that they were presented with a Yamaha grand piano, which is now at Moscow Music College.

    On 22nd November, "Vivat, Accordion!" held a concert in the Concert Hall of the Moscow Music College, which combined both students and their teachers. The ensemble played compositions by Beethoven, Sarasate, Shostakovich, Bize/Schedrin, Sen-Sans and Verter. Most of these compositions were arranged by their conductor Valentina Bobisheva. They also accompanied Russian musicians Alexander Tzigankov (a domra player), who performed his own composition, a Russian folk song "Perevoz Dunya Derzhala" and Vadim Chebanov (guitar player) who played "Concerto" by Rodrigo.

    Their next concert "Christmas Evenings" will be 20 December 1996 in the Concert Hall of Moscow Music College. For further information, see Future Events.


    Contributed by Wu Jie

    On Monday 25th November there was a farewell to the Military Area Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army for 3,000 soldiers who were returning to their homes after compulsory training. Accordionist Mr Zhang Tianyu performed some light entertainment music with a band backing him. His programme included "Goodbye, My Friend" (an interlude of a Yugoslavian movie "Bridge") and "A Song of the Barracks" (a song of the Chinese Army).


    Contributed by Faithe Deffner, President of the American Accordionists' Association

    Canada's Savings Bond literature issued by the Canadian Government, pictures a happy Canadian playing his piano accordion, smiling broadly in testament to the "safety, security and high interest rates" which Savings Bonds assure.

    To further promote personal well being, Stolichnaya Russian Vodka has taken to advertising in slick U.S. magazines where their full-color pages offer whimsical drawings which almost always feature an accordionist.

    In numerous radio and TV advertisements, the accordion has become a prominent voice enhancing the sales of a wide variety of products and services. Accordions seem to be fanning the bellows of all media.


    Contributed by Harley Jones

    A recent advert in an Internet magazine by IBM reads: "Your applications on Windows Software" (picture of a small accordion) and below reads "Your applications with a little fine-tuning from IBM Software" (picture of a very large grand piano). I wonder if the costs are comparative to the weight difference? As the saying goes; any advertising is good advertising!


    Contributed by Faithe Deffner, President of the American Accordionists' Association

    Philadelphia, the "City of Brotherly Love" hosted the second annual InterGalactic Jewish Music Festival early in November. The event clearly conveyed that the accordion is a much- favored instrument in the music of the Jews.

    Accordionist Ben Laden performed with Benny and the Vildachayes (wild animals), a popular local group. From Iowa, the Kabalas (relating to Jewish mysticism) created great excitement, featuring two accordionists in combination with saxophone and drums.

    Noted accordionist John Zorn with Masada, a New York based group was outstanding. In addition, the Festival featured workshops, one of which was geared for youngsters who aspire to a career in the music world.


    Contributed by Heather Masefield, Secretary of the Accordion Examination Board of New Zealand

    On Sunday 17th November 1996, the 15th annual Allan William Jones Memorial Scholarships were hosted by the Accordion Examination Board of New Zealand (AEBNZ). This prestigious event was held at the Centra Hotel Ballroom in Downtown Auckland, New Zealand.

    1996 Scholarships were awarded to:

    • Grades 3 & 4 Oliver Thorpe & Roseanne Rosario
    • Grades 5 & 6 Carl Hayman & Nina Gaudin
    • Grades 7 & 8 Evana Selak

    This year the Douglas Mews Rosebowl Trophy was awarded to Paula Harris, who lives in Wellington, New Zealand and was unfortunately unable to be present to receive the trophy. This award is for the highest mark awarded in any examination from grade 3 upwards, and is in remembrance of the AEBNZ Vice President and long time examiner Dr Douglas Mews.

    The 1996 Annual Merit Award in recognition of outstanding services to the accordion movement was presented to Trevor Taylor, who has been a great ambassador for the accordion in the Auckland area for many years, playing as a resident musician at many venues. He was the New Zealand Champion in 1962 and 1963, has recorded on radio, recorded an LP (Accordion Golds) and was the first New Zealand accordionist to play solo with a Symphony Orchestra.

    Dance music was provided by "Fats, Thins and a Lady", an up-and-coming group comprising of two accordions, drums, guitar and saxophone. They were followed by Maurice Jones on MIDI accordion, and the Air New Zealand Accordion Orchestra provided a dance bracket to conclude a great nights entertainment.


    Contributed by Faithe Deffner, President of the American Accordionists' Association

    Kathy Matasy will perform an accordion recital at Wellesley College near Boston, at the Great Hall of Tower Court on 3rd December 1996. Her ambitious program includes the following: Alan Hovhaness' Suite for Accordion, a 3-part Bach Invention, a medley of German Laendlers, Monti's Czardas, a Slovakian medley, Magnante's arrangements of Malaguenia, Giterenias and Beer Barrel Polka, the Camilleri arrangement of Domino Waltz, Kurt Weill's Youkali (a tango), Cooper Square by Wallingford Riegger and a medley of Scottish dance tunes. For further details see Future Events.


    Contributed by Wu Jie

    On Monday 1st December, a regular meeting of the Sichuan Accordion Association will be held at 9.30am in a park in the town of Chengdu. This meeting will include the directors and standing-directors of the Association and gives them the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences in accordion teaching. President Mr Wu Shouzhi will be in charge of the meeting.


    Contributed by Faithe Deffner, President of the American Accordionists' Association

    Accordionist Etienne Orzak who performed with the Legendary Scottish Accent Band of Toronto and throughout North America and Scotland, is working with the Austin Scottish Country Dance Society to present a Scottish Music Workshop on December 7, 1996, in Austin, Texas. This hands-on workshop conducted by the Music Makers (Etienne Orzak on accordion, Elizabeth Orzak on piano and fiddler Fred Mamula), will instruct participants on how to perform traditional Scottish music for dance. For further details, see Future Events.


    Contributed by: Henry Doktorski, Pennsylvania, USA

    It is not everyday that a CD comes along by a world-class performer playing world-class pieces on a world-class instrument recorded with world-class engineering! Whether you like transcriptions or not, this CD will open up your eyes and ears to the beauty, power and grace of the concert accordion. Viacheslav Semionov is currently a professor at the Gnessins Russian Academy of Music.

    When you listen to this album, you will hear why Semionov is so highly regarded; his performances are powerful yet sensitive, grandiose yet delicate. The Bach Chaconne is a masterpiece. I have not heard another accordion performer besides Lips who can so ably communicate the genius of Bach, and make this fourteen and a half minute set of monumental variations come alive.

    Greensleeves is positively delightful; graceful and enchanting; a wonderful arrangement. And the last of the four pieces, Canarios, made me want to dance; its rhythms were so infectious. In my opinion, Semionov's performance of the Paganni La Campanella is brilliant beyond compare. My adjectives cannot describe the joy I experienced while listening to this album.

    My only criticism is that the cover should be in color, not black and white, although the CD booklet notes are in Russian and English. I sincerely hope that the producer continues to release more and more high-quality CDs of Semionov.

    © 1996, Henry Doktorski, PO Box 95, Pittsburgh, PA 15101, USA

    "Semionov Plays His Transcriptions" can be ordered through:
    Robert Sattler Associates, PO Box 57086, Atlanta, GA 30343-1086, USA. Phone: 800-284-1364 (USA only), email:


    Contributed by Faithe Deffner, President of the American Accordionists' Association

    Concerto in A for Accordion and Orchestra, one of Pietro Deiro, Sr.'s admired works, is now available as an accordion solo, or with complete score and parts for either an accordion orchestra or symphony orchestra. Originally published by Accordion Music Publishing, a subsidiary of Pietro Deiro Publications, the revised editions of Concerto in A have been issued by Ernest Deffner Publications of New York. The Deffner firm is now the source of all Deiro accordion publications.


    Contributed by Faithe Deffner, President of the American Accordionists' Association

    An all-new 8-page catalogue of beautiful gifts with accordion themes has been issued by Squeezinart. Proprietors Joan and Dan Grauman are both accordionists themselves and fully understand the passions other accordionists have for novelties, gifts and trinkets related to the squeezables. We hope to have their full catalogue on this site shortly.


    Contributed by Faithe Deffner, President of the American Accordionists' Association

    "1996, the Year of the Accordion" became the grass roots proclamation emanating from the Accordion Summit Meeting which took place in Houston and was attended by more than 50 representatives of 23 states, Mexico and Canada. The American Accordionists' Association designed special T-shirts to reiterate that popular slogan - "'96 the Year of the Accordion" - and is now offering these accordion shirts worldwide at very special prices of U.S. $8.50 per shirt, or $8 each on orders of two or more, either price includes shipping and handling. To order, E-mail listing a Mastercard or Visa credit card number and specify size: medium, large, xlarge or xxlarge. Inventory is limited.

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