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News from 17th January 1997

Editors note:
This week we have been really busy finishing off the complete site in German, and are now well underway into the translation of the site in both French and Italian. In the meantime, we will continue to bring you the weekly news in all four languages.

Thanks for all the nice comments on this service and the continual flow of news now coming in. People are beginning to realise that this is a FREE service, provided for you to promote you or your organisation.

It certainly seems as though the accordion is on the way up at this time of year. Let's keep promoting our instrument to encourage others to learn about it also.
Wayne Knights, Editor

For information on upcoming concerts, competitions etc go to Future Events

This weeks titles:


Contributed by Irmgard Lehnemann, writer for the Intermusik newspaper

The accordion quintet "Concertino" from Vilnius, Lithuania can look back at many national and international prizes, tours through numerous countries in the former Eastern block and Western Europe.

From January 11th to 16th the ensemble is touring in Germany at the invitation of the accordion club Wiesbaden e.V. and "Project-art". Their goal is to provide and organise concerts and other events for the accordion music scene with very high musical standards. The quality of "Concertino" really shows in their live performances. It also becomes apparent when listening to their new CD "Live", which was published at the end of 1996 by the music publishing company Karthause-Schmülling".

Ricardas Sviackevicius, lecturer at the academy of music in Lithuania and also president of the council for accordion music of the Baltic states founded the quintet in 1978. All members are graduates of the academy of music of Lithuania and are working as music teachers. Their programme includes arrangements of Lithuanian and Russian composers as well as works of classical masters and traditional accordion music. The birbyne is strongly used in those works. This is a Lithuanian folk instrument and a traditional wind instrument.


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

A noted designer and builder of accordions, Robert Pancotti began his career in the 1920s, working with his two brothers at the Excelsior Accordion factory in Manhattan. Two decades later, he left to start Pancordion, Inc., an accordion factory in New York's Long Island City. In partnership with the late Ernest Deffner, Pancotti developed an outstanding line of top professional accordions which incorporated a number of exclusive patented design features such as Directone and Magic-Ease Switches. He also designed other accordions which Cav. Sante Crucianelli and Figli of Italy built to Pancordion's specifications under the firm's trade names of Crucianelli, Panitalia and Video, in response to the heavy student demand for instruments during the U.S. heyday of accordion popularity.

Among Pancordion's craftsmen at the New York factory were John and Angelo Magnante (Charles Magnante's brothers), Natale Frosini (Pietro Frosini's brother), the Pancotti brothers (Roberto and Archimedes) and others whose names bear historical importance in the accordion world. When Pancotti retired in the 50's, Pancordion remained an accordion leader under Deffner's direction, achieving singular prominence which is still ongoing. Among the noted musicians who have played Pancordion accordions through the years are Lawrence Welk, Myron Floren, Milt DeLugg, Billy Costa, Frankie Yankovic, Joey Miskulin, Tops Cardoni, Don Lipovac, Maddalena Belfiore and a host of others. Pancordion is still owned and operated by the Deffner family at its present location on Long Island in New York.


Contributed by Hartmut Lange, Managing Editor of the Intermusik newspaper

On New Years Eve, the Danish capital Copenhagen passed on its title "Cultural Capital of Europe" to Thessaloniki in Greece, where they are planning events in theaters, galleries and concert halls. Last year in Copenhagen more cultural events took place than in any "Cultural Capital" ever before. The accordion, of course, benefits from these activities. Competitions, festivals and exhibitions give the instrument much attention from the international media and the numerous visitors.


Contributed by Wu Jie

Friday February 7th is a very important date in China. It is the "Spring Festival", which is the Chinese New Year's Day. To celebrate this occasion, an accordion concert will be held on February 2nd at 7.00pm in the Art Palace of the Nanzhou University. Six students of Mr Wu Xueyu's will perform solo. Highlight of programme will be original Chinese compositions. They include:

  • New Year's Day is coming
  • Flowers and Boys
  • A Taoist of Lao Shan Mountain
  • "Guang" Mausoleum's Legends
  • Fairies Dance with Flowers
  • The Speeding Train


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

Originally introduced to the vast music potential of the accordion through an American Accordionists' Association commission in 1977, noted contemporary composer Lucas Foss wrote "Curriculum Vitae" for accordion as his first endeavour. In a subsequent work written in 1982, Foss drew on the knowledge gained from his commission and composed "Solo Observed" for chamber group comprised of cello, accordion, marimba and piano. This piece is to be performed at the prestigious Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in New York on January 26th. The musicians will include prominent accordionist Dr. William Schimmel and composer Foss himself at the piano.


Contributed by Günther Zeilinger, conductor of the Hof Accordion Orchestra, Germany

The Australian Society of Accordionists (ASA) Ensemble will tour Germany and Italy from January 25th for two weeks. The ensemble includes Cathy Day (ASA President) Victor Lange (ASA Vice President) and Ian Southwood (ASA President in Victoria).

They will perform with the Hof orchestra in Schwabach (near Nürnberg) on January 25th, Bad Steben on January 29th, and in Hof on January 31st. From there they will travel to Castelfidardo, Italy for a concert on February 8th.


Contributed by Tom Collins

The Texas Accordion Association will hold its Annual Convention from March 14 to 16th at the Holiday Inn, Plano, Texas. Among the workshops held will be one for an accordion orchestra, directed by Joan Cochran Sommers, from the University of Missouri, Kansas City. Other workshops include:

  • Accordion Repaid (Dale Wise)
  • Beginners, Intermediate & Advanced Workshops
  • Several performance workshops

For further information see Future Events


Contributed by Tom Collins

Peter Soave, the Coupe Mondiale World Solo Champion in 1984, recently performed for a highly successful event in Austin, Texas. Peter reports that he is very active touring Europe with his accordion and will soon be on a concert tour in China.


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

SMSgt William Popp, noted accordionist with the U.S. Air Force Band, is an accomplished composer as well. His work "Toccata for Accordion" recently won first place in a composition contest held in California. Competing with more than 200 other entries, Popp's piece took top honours and is scheduled to be performed in the Spring of 1997. Popp majored on accordion, studying under Professor Robert Davine, at Lamont College of Music at the University of Denver. In 1995 he performed at the Second International Accordion Art Festival in Beijing by invitation from the Chinese Government.


Contributed by Lina Klimkaite, writer for the Intermusik newspaper

"Two days and two nights of new music". This is how Ivan Ergiyev remembers the last festival in Odessa. This festival is the only one in the Ukraine where contemporary music is played alongside chamber music, opera and symphony orchestras. As in the year before, Ergiyev was the only accordion player at the festival, but to make up for this he performed in several formations and presented an entirely new programme. He played as a soloist, in the duo "Cadence" (with Elena Ergiyeva on the violin) as well as in the chamber ensemble (flute, clarinet, cello, accordion and vocals). The chamber music ensemble accompanied the German soprano Christine Ascher, who sung "Seiten" by Violeta Dinescu.

Ergiyev is one of the most outstanding bayanists from the Ukraine and plays very demanding chamber music on classical instruments. In the historical development of the instrument in the Ukraine, the bayan was used for a long time mainly in folk music, often together with the domra, balalaika and other typical folk instruments.


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

The much-acclaimed Accordion Pops Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Desiderio who is a distinguished accordionist in his own right, will appear in concert at the festival sponsored by the Accordion Teachers Association of New Jersey. The orchestra is comprised of some 35 players, most of whom are accordion teachers and performers. George Dearani, ATANJ president, announced that the annual festival and competition is scheduled to take place over the weekend of April 4th to 6th 1997, at the Hyatt Hotel in New Brunswick, New Jersey.


Contributed by Alex Reimers, writer for the Intermusik newspaper

Thomas Triebel was elected first chairman of the Association of Accordion Teachers (Akkordeonlehrerverband ALV) at this year's main meeting in the city of Gotha. His deputy is Lutz Köhler, and the members elected Helmut Hartmann as the referent for public relations. The ALV is not to be confused with DALV (Association of Accordion Teachers of Germany) and the DHV (German Harmonica Association). It is the third and the youngest accordionist association in Germany.


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

Hailed by the New York Daily News' critic as "wildly entertaining", a newly-staged revival of "Chicago", features some delightful music by the Rob Fisher Orchestra. The show is playing at Broadway's Richard Rogers Theatre. It is an exciting musical which scores the accordion in a number of songs performed by keyboardist Jeffrey Saver.


Contributed by Wu Jie

On Saturday January 25th, the Sichuan Accordion Association will hold a conference in the largest hall of the Sichuan Conservatory of Music. All the directors of the association will attend this conference, which will be headed by Wu Shouzhi.

In the meeting the directors will put forward submissions of rule changes of the Amateur Accordion Examination, which the committee will act upon and decide the best way to change them.


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

Composer accordionist John Franceschina who has written several spectacular works for accordion orchestra, as well as a test piece for the Coupe Mondiale Solo International Accordion Championship, was recently commissioned by NOVAM (the Netherlands national accordion organisation) in conjunction with J. H. Bussaard and Gert van Ruiswijk, to do an orchestral work for the 1998 Coupe Mondiale which will take place in Holland. The piece, to be published shortly, is called Vathek, named after a fictional hero of 18th century Gothic novels. It is written in three movements each of which is descriptive of Vathek's many adventures. Franceschina's work is done as a tone poem, simultaneously both atonal and melodic according to the composer who uses "the instrument to create a variety of interesting sound effects" which compliment the musical statements made by the piece. The prolific composer, Franceschina, teaches Theatre History at Syracuse University in northern New York State and has authored eight books in recent years.


Written by Michael Wagner, writer for the Intermusik newspaper

From January 27th to 30th the university of Dortmund will organise for a second time "Research days". For three days the activities in the Harenberg City Center will stand under the motto "comprehending, learning and understanding at the end of the Gutenberg-galaxy". It deals with ways of information and communication. The days serve as promotion of certain aspects of research. For the musical opening on the January 27th (with the accordion) Erik Janson composed a new chamber music with the name: "tightrope acts-dialoges" ("Seiltänze-Dialoge") for clarinet, accordion and percussion. Alongside is a video playing with which the musicians have to synchronize their playing with the videotape and have to start a dialogue between themselves also. The seminar on January 28th will tell people more about this music. Erik Janson and Johannes Marks will talk about the progress of their works with Joachim Striepens (clarinet), Maik Hester (accordion) and Carsten Bender (percussion).


Contributed by Wu Jie

On January 5th at 7.00pm, a meeting of the Nanzhou Accordion Association was held in the city of Nanzhou, the capital city of the Gansu province. Mr Wu Xueyu presided over the meeting, of which the committee and 16 teachers attended. They talked about establishing an Examination Certificate in the province to begin in the second half of this year.


Contributed by Wu Jie

The director and teachers of the Suizhou Vocational School have decided to offer an accordion course as an elective course this year. Last month they bought 40 new accordion instruments from the Tianjin Music Instrument Manufactory to cope with the numbers.

Suizhou is a very small city of the Jiangsu province in China, where there are few accordion teachers. Because of this, the director has invited some accordion teachers from Wuhan province to teach at the school.

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