Kevin L. Friedrich - Accordionist

Born and raised near Dargaville, New Zealand, Kevin began playing the accordion at the age of nine. Mesmerized by the visual appeal and unique sound of the accordion during a performance of the Ben Emmett Accordion Orchestra (BEA), Kevin took advantage of group lessons being offered by the late Ben and Doreen Emmett at the Dargaville Primary School where weekly accordion lessons and accordion hire cost 50 cents each.

From this initial dollar a week investment, Kevin progressed quickly through the ranks, and after the passing of Mr. Ben Emmett in December 1976, Kevin began the weekly six hour round trip drive to Auckland to study with the late Mr. Allan Jones and son Harley.

After earning the title of New Zealand Solo Accordion Champion for two years, and representing New Zealand at the Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA) World Championships three times (the last time attaining 5th place) Kevin moved to the United States to study accordion with Joan C. Sommers at the University of Missouri, Kansas City where he obtained his Bachelor of Music. Kevin has also competed in competitions such as Klingenthal in Germany as well as competitions hosted by the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International and the American Accordionists' Association.
 
In addition to the piano accordion, Kevin has also mastered the Bayan (Button accordion), and it is with this instrument that he furthered his studies at the Conservatoire Paul Dukas in Paris, France studying with CIA World Accordion Champion, Max Bonnay. He has also participated in Master Classes with the famous Russian accordionist Friedrich Lips.
 
Kevin has performed in concert, on radio and on television in many countries as a soloist, with Symphony Orchestra and as a member of The International Trio, the Air New Zealand Accordion Orchestra (formerly the North Shore Accordion Orchestra), the Musicale Accordion Orchestra from Auckland, the Auckland Accordion Symphonietta, New Zealand and as concert master of the University of Missouri - Kansas City (UMKC) Accordion Orchestra. More recently Kevin has served as Concert Master for the CIA World Accordion Orchestra at their concerts in the USA, Scotland and New Zealand.
 
After serving as a Vice-President for eight years, Kevin served two four year terms as President of the Confédération Internationale Des Accordéonistes (CIA), the umbrella organization for 35 countries and their National Accordion Associations. Since the CIA (member of the International Music Council, IMC-UNESCO) formed in 1935, this is the first time ever that a non-European has held this title and only the 3rd President elected in more than 40 years, with the last President having held office for over 20 years. Hosting the annual World Accordion Championships, the CIA meets twice a year in various countries around the world. At the conclusion of his Presidency, Kevin was unanimously elected to the CIA Executive Committee as CIA Ambassador, a non-voting advisory role created specifically for him.
 
Acknowledging the ability of the Internet to keep accordionists in touch with each other and informed of worldwide activities, his association with the world wide web included initiating and subsequently producing the United States National Accordion News for 10 years, and being the USA Manager for Accordions Worldwide, the largest accordion site on the Internet since1997.
 
Kevin was invited by the Finnish Ministry of Culture to travel to Finland to report on the Sata-Häme Soi Accordion Festival in Ikaalinen, Finland which attracts some 35,000 attendees from around the world, and has since attended the event on numerous occassions. Additionaly, he has been invited to adjudicate and appear at International accordion Festivals, Competitions and TV Productions in various countries around the world including the 2010
Harbin Summer International Accordion Art Week in China, the 2006 Shanghai Spring International Accordion Festival in China, the Primus Ikaalinen International Competition Live TV Broadcast, the Norske Trekkspilleres Landsforbund (NTL) National Festival held in Bodø, Norway, the National Accordion Competition of the United Kingdom, the Roland International Digital Accordion Competition in Rome, the 20th Annual Australian Accordion Teachers Association Festival in Sydney, Australia in 2014 and the 2015 1st China Shenzhen Xixiang Music Valley International Accordion Competition in China to name a few.

Kevin currently makes his home in New York City where he has lived since 1989. His USA accordion activities include serving on the Board of Directors for both the American Accordionists' Association (AAA) and the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG).
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