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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.
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
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 AmerAccAAA@aol.com 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
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:
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
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"
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).
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!
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
1996 Scholarships were awarded to:
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
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.
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
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.
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
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,
"Semionov Plays His Transcriptions" can be ordered through:
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
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.
"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.