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The Squeeze

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News from 14th February 1997

Editors note:
This week at late notice we heard of the tragic passing of Malcolm Gee (the first news article here). I only met him twice personally, but in that time I learnt of the incredible input he gave to the accordion world, not only in the UK but around the world. Thanks again to the input of people towards this Weekly News section, it's great news to hear the accordion being played and promoted in new ways all the time!
Thanks again,
Wayne Knights, Editor

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

This weeks titles:


Contributed by Tracey Middleton

Malcolm Gee, President and founder of Club Accord, passed away on Tuesday 11th February 1997 at Law Hospital in Lanark, Scotland. He had suffered a stroke whilst on holiday.

This has come as an enormous shock to all in the accordion world and he will be greatly missed. Malcolm founded Club Accord along with many other people almost exactly 21 years ago. Not long after starting Club Accord, he launched a club newsletter, which grew to become the Accordion News.

He started the National Autumn Accordion Festival which has found its home at Caister and attracts nearly 1000 accordionists each year. He toured Australia and New Zealand with Helen Kemp and spread the accordion movement around the globe. He then started the Summer Accordion Festival at St. Audries Bay and the Spring Accordion Camp by his pub, The New Inn, Pound Green Bewdley. He has promoted the accordion and supported accordion clubs tirelessly.

He threw himself into the accordion world whole heartedly. If it wasn't for Malcolm, the accordion "society" in the United Kingdom would not be as successful as it is today. We owe him a great deal.

Who knows what will happen to the Accordion "world" now that he has left us. I only hope that we will continue what he has started. We can not let all his ideas and enthusiasm die with him. Although Caister was almost entirely a "one man" organised event, I hope that a committee can be formed to continue it for years to come, as a tribute to Malcolm.

I also hope that Club Accord will continue to thrive and see new members, and artists, enjoy the friendly atmosphere of the club, and use the opportunity to meet fellow enthusiasts and to spread the word of the accordion as Malcolm would have wished. He leaves behind a lot of friends who will miss him greatly.


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

Because of spectacular promotional opportunities which have just been made available to the American Accordionists' Association, the 59-year-old organisation has decided to hold its 1997 Competition and Festival in the nation's capital, Washington D.C. Scheduled from July 9th to 13th 1997, the event will open with a media barrage called a "Press and Squeeze Party", which is to include an array of accordion entertainment and refreshments plus a press conference for members of national media.

AAA participants will perform throughout Washington and some events are being planned to include performances with government officials. In addition to competition and performance, a Tribute Concert and Testimonial Banquet (July 11th and 12th) will honour eight accordion personalities. Hundreds of accordionists will perform publicly as a massed band in an outdoor setting and will play in the "Endless Performance Ballroom" at the headquarters hotel - the Sheraton City Centre, phone 202/775-0800 (special AAA rate $78 per night).

An Accordion Summit Meeting will also take place for the purpose of developing the promotional details of the "Launch an Accordion Star" program which is scheduled to promote the whole accordion community as it runs from 1997 to 1998. Festival details will be forthcoming as plans are finalised.


Contributed by Tania Lukic-Marx

On the 24th of December last year, in Minsk (the capital of White Russia), a new association was officially started, called the "White Russian Accordion-Bayan Association". The President is well known accordionist Nikolay Severukov, winner of many international accordion competitions.

In June 1997, an official ceremony will be held for the opening of an Accordion Museum in Moscow. This ceremony will take place in the Maykovsky Square, which is in the heart of Moscow. The Director and organiser of the event is well known Russian accordionist, Alfred Mirek.

A competition and festival will be held in the town of Kurgan from 28th to 30th March. Included will be Russian popular music played on both piano accordion and bayan. The festival is dedicated to the famous Russian folk song singer Ludmila Zikina.


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

On the 17th, 18th and 19th January, the Suite from "The Three Penny Opera" was performed by accordionist Amy Jo Sawyer (President of the Accordion Teachers' Guild) with the St. Louis Symphony. They were under the direction of Associate Principal Conductor David Loebel. In 1986, Mrs Sawyer performed the same Suite with the St. Louis Symphony under the baton of the late Maestro Erich Leinsdorf.

The theatre piece by composer Kurt Weill and librettist Bertolt Brecht was first performed in 1928 in Berlin, under its German name, Die Dreigroschenoper. A second premiere at the Berlin Opera Ball took place in 1929 when the Suite, arranged for wind band, was conducted by Otto Klemperer. The original operetta is scored for two flutes, piccolo, two clarinets, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, two bassoons, two trumpets, trombone, tuba, timpani, piano, percussion, banjo, harp and accordion.


Contributed by Bernadette Conlon

After hearing a performance of "Piccolo Concerto" by composer Michael Easton in 1992, I asked if he would write a Concerto for the accordion for me However, it wasn't until 1995 when I received a grant from the Australia Council that writing began for this piece. As this was his first composition for the accordion, we discussed many aspects of the accordion in relation to what he wanted to achieve.

The premier of this wonderful piece was in Melbourne in November last year, with the Bineas Quartet and pianist Len Vorster. The concert went wonderfully well, with a standing ovation and an encore, for which I performed an arrangement of another Easton piece.

Since then, I have performed "Concerto for Bernadette" many times, including an appearance on Christmas Eve at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in front of 30,000 people.


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

Born in Houston, Texas, composer-performer Pauline Oliveros received her early musical education from her mother and grandmother who were both music teachers. Always fascinated by the sounds of nature and the music she heard in her home she committed herself to becoming a musician early in her life. She persisted in her determination to be a composer, even though women were mostly discouraged in the field by social paradigm.

Today her work is known throughout the world through performances, broadcasts, personal appearances, recordings and scholarly writings. Oliveros has created a unique style of accordion playing using intonation and extended techniques. She studied accordion with Dr. Willard (Bill) Palmer at the University of Houston and graduated from San Francisco State College with an honorary Doctor of Music from the University of Maryland.

"Deep Listening" comes from her childhood fascination with sounds and from her works in concert music with composition, improvisation and electro-acoustics. It is a continually evolving practice of thirty years created by Oliveros. She taught Deep Listening at Northwestern University and at Mills College and is now practiced and discussed by numerous people in the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, Asia, Europe where Oliveros has taught and travelled extensively.


Contributed by Alexander Krupin and Tatiana Lanchtchikova

The "Novosibirsk Bayan Duo" are in the final planning stages of their tour to Germany, which will be in March, April and May 1997.

Alexander Pankov and Igor Lazutin started playing as a duet several years ago, when they were both students of Professor Alexander Krupin at Novosibirsk State Glinka Conservatory. They have both just completed their post-graduate programme, and are now busy with concerts in various cities of Russia and Europe.

In their forthcoming tour to Germany, Alexander Pankov and Igor Lazutin have prepared a very interesting programme of music, from classical to contemporary. As well as playing together, Pankov and Lzutin will also play solo. As their concert plans have not yet been completed, they would be very glad to hear from anyone who is interested in hosting a concert with them. For further information contact: Sophi Botz, Klavierschule, Germany, tel.: +49 228-251753


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

The completion of a new composition "Accordion Samba" by Gary William Friedman, has been announced by Elsie Bennett who chairs the Composers' Commissioning Committee of the American Accordionists' Association. This crossover composition (a piece which straddles the boundaries of varied music styles) was scored for an unusual instrumental combination: accordion, bassoon, cello and vocalist.

Friedman is an award-winning composer whose works may be heard from concert halls to cinema scores. In Accordion Samba, he uses the contemporary format of the Samba to examine the traditional role of the accordion, as well as challenging the instrument to new and exciting limits as a rhythmic and solo voice. The bassoon and cello parts employ unusual patterns and the vocalist not only sings melodic passages in the traditional Samba format, but also soars into improvised "scat" sections. It will be published by Ernest Deffner Publications of New York.


Contributed by Wu Jie

On Saturday 8th February, an open-air concert was held in Miyi (a small city in Sichuan province) which was held in the streets of Miyi City to celebrate Chinese New Year's Day. At this concert, the musicians of Miyi city played variety music with various musical instruments. Mr Ma Hui, an accordionist with the Miyi Song and Dance troupe, played a traditional Chinese folk piece "Gold Snake is Dancing". This was the first open-air concert to be held in Miyi City, with approximately 3000 people attending. The excellent programme increased the festive atmosphere of Miyi city.


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

"Play It Again" is the headline chosen by reporter Debra Phillips for her article which identifies accordion music as "listener friendly" (Entrepreneur Magazine, February, 1997). The news item proclaims that "the accordion is scoring big these days with amateur and professional musicians alike. Indeed, popular musicians such as Sheryl Crow, Pearl Jam and the Counting Crows are helping to put the squeeze box back in the spotlight."


Contributed by Peter Muzika and Tatiana Lanchtchikova

Recently, a very successful concert by the ensemble "Souvenir" was held in the Concert Hall of the Saratov Philharmonia in Saratov (a city on the Volga river).

"Souvenir" was founded in 1976 by teachers of the Saratov Conservatory, and consists of accordion, bayan, percussion and Russian folk instruments (domra and balalaika). The group has given many concerts in various areas of Russia, performing in such prestigious concert halls of Moscow as: Concert Hall "Russia", Tchaikowski Concert Hall and the Column Hall of the Unit House. The ensemble has toured to many European countries and cities: Berlin (1986), Austria (1988), Chekhia (1988), Germany (1990 and 1995) and France (1996). "Souvenir" play a wide variety of music, from Russian folk music through to famous recordings by the 1960's pop group the "Beatles".


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

When John Linnell (featured accordionist of the famous group "They Might Be Giants") exchanges vows with Karen his wife-to-be on March 1, bridal party and guests will be entertained by a popular new nine-piece band, "The Last of the International Playboys", fronted by accordionist Walter Kuehr.


Contributed by Wu Shouzhi, Director of the Chinese Accordion Society

On Sunday 9th February, Miss Ye Dan ,a teacher of Qianjiang Economic Management School and a private accordion teacher, was interviewed by Qianjiang TV Station..

Miss Ye Dan is the youngest accordion teacher (only 20 years old) in Qianjiang city (a small city of Hubei province). She has more than 50 accordion students at present. Miss Ye Dan has been teaching the accordion for only two years, but her students are among the best students in the city. Many of her students have won numerous prizes in various musical competitions of Qianjiang, and she won a prize for her excellent teaching last year. Her thesis, "How to Teach Students in Accordance with their Aptitude in Teaching Accordion", which she wrote last year, was well received by other accordionists of Qinjiang city.

Miss Ye Dan expects her students will win prizes in international competitions in the future.

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