Virtuoso, Composer and Recording Artist
Often considered the Greatest Accordionist of his Era.

07 December 1905 to 30 December 1986
 
 

Charles Magnante was born in New York City on 106th Street in an area known as Harlem. From very humble roots his unique career placed him on the pinnacle of accordion history. No one has ever equalled his success as the ultimate world accordion artist.

Throughout his long and fantastic career, Magnante has consistently been considered by many to be the most finished accordionist of all time. He was famous for many years as a top radio, television star and recording artist. He was associated with some of the worlds finest conductors and orchestra leaders performing either as a soloist or a member of the orchestra.

It could be said that Magnante's musical career began at the age of five when he sand along with his Dad, a popular amateur accordionist, who used to play for many Italian weddings. At the age of seven, he was stealing his father's prized accordion from the closet and teaching himself to play by ear. At sixteen he was turning down many offers to tour professionally as he felt travelling would take up time which should be spent in continuing his studies.

During the peak of his career he reached the point where he was doing as many as thirty one radio broadcasts and an average of about eight recording dates in a single week. His audiences ranged from small intimate groups to packed auditoriums of three thousand. One of his greatest thrills was at the Civic Stadium in Buffalo, NY when he played for an audience of over forty thousand people.

One of Magnante's best known compositions is the novelty solo "Accordiana" which he composed in exactly twenty minutes. His textbooks, arrangements, and original compositions are numbered by the hundreds and include popular, classical, jazz, and boogie-woogie.

As an outlet from his strenuous career in music, Maganante engaged in the sport of big game hunting as much as possible. He had taken over fifty head of big game and was a member of the exclusive Campfire Club of America which is located in Braircliff Monor, about thirty five miles from New York City. His hunting expeditions in the US, Canada and Mexico brough him trophies of antelope, dall sheep, moose, caribou and grizzly bear along with numerous other species. His prize mount was a one thousand pound grizzly and many of his hunting experiences were featured articles in a number of sports magazines.

Charles Magnante was not blessed with a happy relationship on his first venture with matrimony. However, he was rewarded a fine son (Peter) and daughter, both of whom have enjoyed extremely successful careers outside the field of music.

In later life Magnante became enamored with a professional accordion entertainer whom he met when she was performing at the Peachtree Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. Charlotte and Charlie enjoyed many happy years together sharing personal love for each other and a mutual adoration for the world of music. Charlie passed away several years before his beloved Charlotte, who is now also deceased.

Magnante's life is the story of a man who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve success in his chosen field and become a legend in his own lifetime. He passed away on Dec. 30, 1986 having given the world a legacy of accordion achievements unlikely to be equalled by anyone in the discernible future.

Written by Tom Collins, a close friend of Charles Magnante in March 2000.
 

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