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 "My life with the Accordion" by Ronald E. Hodgson - Chapters 1,2 & 3

"My Life With The Accordion" by Ronald E. Hodgson Ron Hodgson - 1958 Ron Hodgson - 2008I began playing the accordion when I was seven years old. I received an accordion for Christmas 1935.

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Accordion of 21-st century

Richard Galliano - French touch

Walshe Essential Guide to Accordion and Harmonica Events

«Harmonica forever!»

Modest Mussorgsky «Pictures at an Exhibition»

«Skomorokhi»: Music of the 20'th Century

Richard Galliano - 15 Titres Originaux

Pietro Frosini - Mariposita (Bolero)

Eugeny Derbenko - Cabman

Melodies Which Are Always With You

Concert musette for accordion

Richard Galliano quartet «New Musette»

Astor Piazzolla - Soundtracks

Boris Kovac and Ladaaba Orchestra «Ballads at the End of Time», «La Danza Apocalypsa Balcanica»

Yury Kazakov «The portrait of the great Bayanist»

A Gotan Project DJ set Espiracion

Accordion in Jazz

Astor Piazzolla - Concerto para Quinteto

Accordion in concert - Part I

Accordion Reader Trilogy

L. Desyatnikov - Tracing Astor

Russian music of the 19 - 20-th centuries

Igor Tsvetkov - Two Pieces for Russian Folk Orchestra

Popular Latin American tunes for chromatic or piano accordion

Terem-Quartet meets friends

Richard Galliano - Viaggio

Richard Galliano & Michel Portal – Concerts

Valery Kovtun - «Tango»

Richard Galliano – New York Tango

Friedrich Lips - Pictures at an Exhibition

Astor Piazzolla - Fugata

Dmitry Manchuk & Miroslav Leliukh - Musical Fantasy

Art Van Damme - Deep Purple

Richard Galliano - Fou Rire

George Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue (for piano and accordion orchestra)

Andrew Petrov - Marathon in the Fall

Luciano Fancelli - Acquarelli Cubani

Happy Skvett - Kulturprisen

M. Kazhlaev - Scerzo

Michael van Delft - Angel Rocks a Stone Away

Jacques Reuaux, Claude Francois - My Way - Great Frank Sinatra song arranged for accordion orchestra - Parts

Richard Galliano - Tango pour Claude

''Resurrecion'' tango-quartet - Obsessed by the Sun

Richard Galliano - La Valse a Margaux

Bogdan Precz - Fusion

Jazz Accordion Book - Vol. I

Jazz Theory And Improvisation Studies for Accordion

Che, bandoneon - 10 essential tango arrangements - Vol. 1

Astor Piazzolla - Tangus Dei

Richard Galliano - Opale Concerto - Score

Accordion orchestra of 3-d municipal music school (Kishinev, Moldova)

Lithuanian Accordion Quintet "Concertino" (video live concert)

Pablo Ziegler - Bajo Cero

Pavel Smirov Orchestra - Accordion virtuosos from St. Petersburg

Albin Repnikov - Concerto ¹3 for accordion, chamber orchestra and percussions - Score

Pavel Smirov Orchestra - My Saint Petersburg

M. Blanter - In The Gardens

Astor Piazzolla - Yo Soy Maria

Lithuanian Accordion Quintet «Concertino» - Compositions from the repertoire of the ensemble - Vol. 2

B. Martjanov - Moldova Fantasy

«Milonga» Instrumental Trio – Compositions from the repertoire of the ensemble - Vol. 2

«Milonga» Instrumental Trio – Compositions from the repertoire of the ensemble - Vol. 1

«Milonga» Instrumental Trio – Compositions from the repertoire of the ensemble - Vol. 3

Jacques Reuaux, Claude Francois - My Way - Great Frank Sinatra song arranged for accordion orchestra - Score

Anatoly Lyadov - Musical Snuffbox

Yu. Peshkov - Black Eyes - Russian romance arranged as a concert piece

Charlie Shavers - Breeze in a Waste

Christine Boll – Partita Piccola

Teddy Randazzo, Bobby Weinstein - Going Out of My Head - Great Frank Sinatra song arranged for accordion orchestra - Score and Parts

Victor Vlasov - Bossa Nova

Pietro Frosini - Carnival of Venice

Victor Vlasov - I Like this Rhythm

Thomas Fundora & Morris Albert - Feelings

Mikis Theodorakis - Quarter of Angels

George Hammel - Pantoufle de Vair (concert polka for accordion)

Volodymyr Zubytsky - Omaggio ad Astor Piazzolla

In the Footlights

The Beatles Potpourri

Jacob Gade - Tango Jalousie

Lasse Pihlajamaa - Harmonikkasävellyksiä

Eddy Flecijn – Capriccio

Pascual Marquina - Spanish Gipsy Dance

Popular Waltzes

Libertango tango hits

Moon Serenade

History of Musicals

Astor Piazzolla – 10 tangos

From Bach till Offenbach

Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart - Blue Moon

Beny Rehmann - Schiffsfeger-Polka

F. Canaro - Tango

Gerhard Winkler - Toulouse

Albert Vossen - Merry-go-round

Gerhard Winkler - Serenade Napolitano

J. Rid - Last Waltz

Yann Tiersen - Le Moulin

Yann Tiersen - Naomi

Bert Kaempfert - Strangers in The Night

Luiz Bonfa - Manha de Carnival

Cajun of Luisiana State (for banjo and accordions)

George Boulanger - Da Capo

Eugene Derbenko - Rythm of Time

I. Panitski - Snowball Tree

A. Murena and J. Colombo - Indifference

Hubert Giraud - Sous le Ciel de Paris

Toto Cutugno - Soli

Fermo Marchetti - Fascination

Victor Vlasov - Boogie-Woogie

J McHugh - Black Birds (Black spiritual arranged for accordion)

S. Scott - Jungle

Tikhon Khrennikov - Moscow Windows (jazz song arranged for accordion duo)

Paul Norrback - Happy Moments

Charlie Chaplin - Limelight (waltz arranged for accordion)

Victor Vlasov - Silent Films

Victor Vlasov - Good Afternoon

Victor Vlasov - Cartoon

20 Tiny Fingers - English folk song

A. Joys - Autumn Dream

Jazz-Legato - Lerov Andersson (for accordion duo)

Vladimir Popolzin - In The Saloon

S. Scott - Ballade

Victor Vlasov – Jazz Miniatures

Victor Vlasov - Disco (from Jazz Miniatures Book)

Victor Vlasov - Let us Swing (from Jazz Miniatures Book)

Victor Vlasov - Siamese (from Jazz Miniatures Book)

Victor Vlasov - This Rythm (from Jazz Miniatures Book)

Victor Vlasov - Step (from Jazz Miniatures Book)

Unto Jutila - French Visit

Renzo Ruggieri - Carnevale

Jimmy Giordanengo - La Huette (waltz for solo accordion)

Albert Vossen - Fliegende Blatter

Vittorio Monti - Czardas

Victor Vlasov - Mood (for solo accordion)

Victor Vlasov - Syncopes (for solo accordion)

Unto Jutila - Samba

Pietro Frosini - Jolly Caballero

Karl Noack - Parade of Dwarves (for ensemble or orchestra)

Valery Kovtun - Brilliant Waltz (for solo accordion)

Pintin Castellanos - La Punalada

Finish Polka

Anne Dudley - Jeeves and Wooster

Astor Piazzolla - Four Seasons in Buenos Aires - Score

Astor Piazzolla - Four Seasons in Buenos Aires - Parts

Luciano Fancelli - 10 km. al Finestrino

Luciano Fancelli - Pupazzetti

Georgy Mushel - Toccata

Albin Repnikov - Capriccio

Paolo Pizzigoni - Light and Shadow

Grigoras Dinicu - Hora Stacatto

Eduardo di Capua - O Sole Mio!

Ernesto Lecuona - Malaguena from «Andalucia» Suite

Andre Astier - Grande Valse De Concert

Andre Astier - Divertissement

Andre Astier - Fantaisie En Mi Mineur

Andre Astier, Marcel Azzola - Systeme «A»

Andre Astier, Maurice Larcange - Accordeon Steeple

Andre Astier, Yvette Horner - Polka Satellite

Volodymyr Zubytsky - Ti Amo, Pesaro

Joaquin Rodrigo - Concierto de Aranjuez, Adagio

Antonio Vivaldi - Concerto f-moll from The Four Seasons

Arnstein Johansen - Cornelli (polka)

Medard Ferrero - Averse

Polka Favorites

Latin Favorites

Joey Miskulin - Accordion Styles and Techniques (DVD)

Paris Musette - Freddy Balta and his Accordion

Teach Yourself To Play Accordion

Waltz Favorites

Metodo Per Fisarmonica (Accordion)

Latin American Dances

Richard Galliano - Opale Concerto - Parts

Vladimir Chernikov - Lonely Harmonica - Yablochko

Niccolo Paganini - Caprice No. 24 in A minor

Andrew Lloyd Webber - Memory

John A. Dallas - Helen Waltz

Maurice Larcange & Michel Mercier - Javaccordeon

Franck Angelis - Valse du Cloun

Franck Angelis - Impasse

Ole Schmidt - Toccata no. 1

Astor Piazzolla - Contrabajissimo - Score

Yann Tiersen - La Noyee

Jack Fina - Bumblebee Boogie

Vl. Zolotarev - Conteplating The Dionisian Frescoes of St. Ferapontov Monastery

Heitor Villa-Lobos - Dance of The White Indian

Filippo Marino - Cristina

Tony Murena & Louis Peguri - Joyeux Vagabond

Pietro Frosini - Spic and Span

Hans Brehme - Divertimento in F

Pietro Frosini - Accordion Jitters

Astor Piazzolla - Concerto Aconcagua for bandoneon, chamber orchestra and percussions - Score

Oscar Peterson - Laurentide Waltz (from The “Canadiana” suite)

Con Conrad & Herb Magidson - Midnight in Paris (bolero)

Samuel Barber - Adagio from String Quartet No. 1

Pietro Frosini - Love Smiles

Albin Repnikov - Concertino

Victor Vlasov - The Fest In Moldavanka

Art Van Damme - Boogie-Woogie

Albert Vossen - Brusseles Laces

Yann Tiersen - Les Quatre Pieces

Frank Marocco - Appassionato

Che, bandoneon - 10 essential tango arrangements - Vol. 2

Astor Piazzolla - Cite Tango

Astor Piazzolla - Meditango

Astor Piazzolla - Un dia de paz

Astor Piazzolla - Libertango

Astor Piazzolla - Tres Tangos

Astor Piazzolla - Ave Maria

Astor Piazzolla - Concierto de Nacar - Score

Astor Piazzolla - Tangata del Alba

Accordion in Concert - Part II

Astor Piazzolla - Double Concerto - Score

Argentinian Tango and Folk Tunes for Accordion: 36 Traditional Pieces

Jean Francaix - Concerto for accordion and orchestra

Isang Yun - Concertino for accordion and string quartet

Darius Milhaud - Suite Anglaise

Astor Piazzolla - Adios Nonino for accordion orchestra and piano

Klezmer and Sephardic Tunes

Astor Piazzolla - Concerto Aconcagua for bandoneon, chamber orchestra and percussions - Parts

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Renzo Ruggieri Strings Quartet
Mar., 13, 2007
Renzo Ruggieri Renzo Ruggieri Strings Quartet - NEXT EVENTS


6 February h 19:30 in world transmission for Radio Vaticana the Renzo Ruggieri Strings Quartet (A.Castagna, M.Di Donato, S.Danese, F.Orlando) in concert. email : This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it " href="http://www.ukaccordions.com/mailto: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it "> This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it
Italian frequencies in FM (93.3, 96.3, 103.8, 105) and on www.radiovaticana.org 


22 FebruaryBorgo Spoltino Country House di Mosciano S.A. (Italy) Renzo will be in Duo with Mauro De Federicis (jazz guitar).
- from 27 February to the 3 march Renzo will be present to the biggest italian festival of Sanremo with the famous Antonella Ruggiero.
NEWS
- Important tour of the Renzo Ruggieri Group (M.Manzi, M.Moriconi, P.Di Sabatino) on January 18-19-20 in the theaters of Casalgrande, Castelnuovo Ne' Monti and in Fabbrico with the Antonella Ruggiero. In this occasion they have also recorded the CD "Musica Divina" that also contains the song introduced to Sanremo 2007 with Renzo on the stage of the Ariston Theatre Renzo is also one of the arrangers of the whole CD.
- It's gone out the CD with of Frederic SCHLICK "THREE BROTHER" with Renzo as arranger, conductor of the PICCOLA ORCHESTRA MOPDERNA (with Strings section and Jazz Combo); in this CD there is a composition written to three hands of the two artists with the great Art Van Damme- demo.

ITALIA
PROSSIMI EVENTI 
6 febbraio h 19:30 in diretta mondiale per RADIO VATICANA il Renzo Ruggieri Strings Quartet (A.Castagna, M.Di Donato, S.Danese, F.Orlando) in concerto.
Frequenze italiane in FM 93.3, 96.3, 103.8, 105 e su www.radiovaticana.org


 22 febbraio Borgo Spoltino Country House di Mosciano S.A. (Italia) Renzo sarà in DUO con Mauro De Federicis (chitarra jazz).
- dal 27 febbraio al 3 marzo Renzo sarà presente al festival di Sanremo con la nota Antonella Ruggiero.
NEWS
- Importante tour del Renzo Ruggieri Group (M.Manzi, M.Moriconi, P.Di Sabatino) il 18-19-20 gennaio nei teatri di Casalgrande, Castelnuovo Ne' monti e Fabbrico con la nota Antonella Ruggiero. In questa occasione hanno anche registrato il CD "Musica Divina" che contiene anche il brano presentato a Sanremo 2007 con Renzo presente sul palcoscenico dell'Ariston. Renzo è anche uno degli arrangiatori dell'intero CD.
- E' uscito il CD con di Frederic SCHLICK "THREE BROTHER" con Renzo come arrangiatore e direttore della Piccola Orchestra Moderna (con sezione d'archi + jazz combo); in questo CD c'è una composizione scritta a tre mani dai due artisti con il grande Art Van Damme - demo.

Romano Viazzani - February 18th
Mar., 13, 2007

Romano Viazzani is the special guest artist at this  "One Night Only" production  of "Pennies from Heaven" at The Jermyn Street Theatre  16b,Jermyn Street, London SW1Y 6ST.

Sunday 18th February 2007 - 7.30pm

The play depicts the life and songs of Arthur Tracy (The Street Singer)

Arthur Tracy

Performed & narrated by Steve Ross (The crown prince of New York cabaret - New York Times)  and written & perfomed by Gregory Moore with special guest accordionist  Romano Viazzani.

Tickets are £18.00 and available now by calling the box office on

020 7287 2875

Jermyn Street Theatre 16b, Jermyn Street
London, SW1Y 6ST

Box-office: 020 7287 2875
Admin: 020 7434 1443
Fax: 020 7287 3232
Email:  This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it "> This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

Patron: HRH Princess Michael of Kent

Registered Charity No: 1019755

Karen Tweed @ The Royal Opera House
Mar., 13, 2007

Karen Tweed

Voices Across the World - 24th February 2007

 Royal Opera House
Bow Street
Covent Garden
London WC2E 9DD

DAYTIME EVENTS - Thursday 24 February 2007

Vocal Workshops
11am - 12.30pm & 1.30 - 3pm
Venue: Floral Hall
A fun, participatory workshop looking at a variety of vocal traditions from all over the world, exploring how singers from different continents produce different sounds. The workshops will focus particularly on the vocal styles of the artists involved in the Voices Across the World series. No experience of singing is necessary, just a willingness to take part.

An Introduction to the English Folk Tradition
11.15am - 12.30pm
Venue: Crush Room
Accordionist Karen Tweed gives a practical introduction to the English folk tradition, using live demonstration and recorded examples. You can even have a go!

Cultural Connections - From Brasov to Budapest
1.30 - 3pm
Venue: Crush Room
Dr Peter Mills, Senior Lecturer in Media and Popular Culture at Leeds Metropolitan University will look at the links between Hungarian, Transylvanian and Roma music including films of performances of the above including Muzsicas.

Tickets: £8 adults, £6 concessions (buy one Daytime Event, get second at half price)
All children must be accompanied by an adult

Box Office and Information line 020 7304 4000
Fax Bookings                               020 7212 9460

Please see our website for further information and online bookings:


Birmingham Accordion Centre
Mar., 13, 2007

The Birmingham Accordion Centre

We are pleased to invite all accordion enthusiasts to visit our showrooms, featuring a 500sq ft fully equipped rehearsal and demo room.
You are welcome to try any of our extensive range of new and used accordions, including the fabulous range from Serenellini!

Feel free to visit us during normal working hours at

The Birmingham Accordion Centre

131 Midland Street

Birmingham

Get an online instant - Google Map of our shop location and even "door to door" driving directions from your home! - Please click the postcode below ! 

B9 4DQ

 

Tel/Fax:  0121 753 3709

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fisarmonica is First Again!
Mar., 5, 2007
Fisarmonica with Gary Blair
Fisarmonica - The UKAO owned greyhound has won her 12th race yesterday at The Oxford Stadium. Monica (as she is affectionately known in the kennels) managed to squeeze past the other 5 greyhounds in presto time last night (3rd march) in a 6 bend 595metres race at the posh Oxford Greyhound Stadium ,she won impressively by over 3 lengths in a fast time of  38.00 seconds.Well done Fisarmonica!
Stockport A/C News - March/April 2007
Mar., 5, 2007
Rob Howard
On Wednesday, March 14th, SAC sees the welcome return of Bert Santilly as our Club Night guest artiste.  Bert is a most accomplished and versatile accordionist, with a wide repertoire, and known to many of you as a workshop leader at the Caister and Pakefield festivals.  Admission is £4.   As always, we begin promptly at 8pm, and all are welcome, including those who would like to play a tune or two.  SAC is now based at Woodley Methodist Church, Chapel Street/Hyde Road, Woodley, Stockport, Cheshire SK6 1BL.Early in February we received the terrible news that Anne Kearney had died, after a battle with cancer over the last three years. Anne did not recover from the anaesthetic after an operation for liver cancer.  Anne, originally from Ireland, travelled weekly for several years to practices all the way from her home in North Wales, and was a member of the SAC Orchestra, the Weaver Valley Accordion Band and Chester AC.  She will be missed.  R.I.P.  Soon after learning about Anne came the very sad news that Pete Fitzpatrick, who attended many of our Club Night concerts, had also passed away, aged 72. Pete Fitz, as he was known, was a former All Britain Irish traditional champion on both piano accordion and piano, and had also played the organ in clubs, backing singers.  Pete was a legend on the Manchester Irish scene, and was very well liked by all who knew him.  He attended many of our Club Night concerts, and once played a short spot for us.  R.I.P.We have been without our MDs during February, with Peter Whiteley visiting relatives in Australia and Brian Jenkins laid low through the prolonged effects of a really bad cold. Chris Green and Derek Pritchard ‘drew the short straw’ as stand in leaders.  Conducting is most definitely not a soft option, and the rest of us are grateful for their efforts at keeping us in order and leading us. SAC Vice President John Nixon is playing concertina with a small jazz combo at a pub called The Horseshoe, on Thursday March 1st, 9 till 11pm approx. Admission is free and the Horseshoe (a CAMRA approved pub for its beer) is located in the small village of Lawton Heath End, Staffordshire ST7 3RA - about 6-miles SW of Congleton.SAC members Rachel White and Sarah Hodge entered the NAO North Central Area Accordion Festival in Saltaire, near Bradford, on February 24th. Rachel came first in the Senior Polka, and second in the Advanced Solo Test Piece + Own Choice sections. Rachel and Sarah came second in the Open Premier Duet section. Well done, girls, and good luck at the forthcoming UK Championships, which take place at The Spa, Scarborough, over the Bank Holiday weekend, May 4th/6th. Rachel and Sarah have entered a duet section, and Rachel is contesting the NAO Advanced Championship title.  Our next Club Night concert with Bert Santilly is on the horizon, so I hope you can make it for yet another night of great music.Rob Howard        (0161) 480 8858        email:  This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it "> This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it  
Emily Smith Band - March gigs & news!
Mar., 5, 2007
Emily Smith
Hello folks

I hope you are all well and cheery. Sorry I have been out of touch since the New Year. January was a busy time as always for folkies here in Scotland with Celtic Connections festival taking place in Glasgow.
This year I was involved in 2 shows – one being a concert of Robert Tannahill songs and the other with my fellow songwriters from the Burnsong Song House (the songwriting project I took part in back in Nov 2005.) February being a short month came and went in a flash, I spent most of it on tour....   Emily Smith

As mentioned above I was out on tour with the Burnsong songwriters for much of January. We did a Tune up Tour around Scotland. It was a fantastic time for us to all get together again and resurrect the songs we wrote together in 2005. Our Glasgow show in the City Halls was packed and received top class reviews in the Scotsman and The Herald.
Sell Out Germany Tour
During Celtic Connections I recorded a song for BBC4 which will be shown on one of 2 programmes they have made about the festival. I sang ‘May Colven’, a traditional ballad which will be on my new album and performing with me were regular band mate Jamie McClennan and new guy Ross Milligan on guitar.
The programme will be aired on Saturday 17th March at 9pm.

Farewell to Steve Byrne....and Hello to New Guitarist Ross Milligan
PEEBLES, Scotland
7.30pm, Tickets £11/£9
Box office: 01721 725777
http://www.eastgatearts.com/

Friday 9th March
Rothes Halls
300 Sauchiehall Street, GLASGOW, Scotland
"Two in Accord" - Saturday 10th March
Mar., 5, 2007
Saturday 10th March from 7.30
The Windmill Inn, 42, Mill Lane, Rustington.Littlehampton, West Sussex - BN16 3JN
Tel: 01903 785883 
Dear UKAO
 
I just thought that I would let you know, hoping you will be interested in our gig next Saturday 10th Marchfrom 7.30pm at a very nice large Pub/Restaurant in West Sussex.
 
The Windmill Inn, 42, Mill Lane, Rustington.Littlehampton, West Sussex - BN16 3JN
 Tel: 01903 785883  
 
It is located just near the small bridge off the A27 opposite the Ham Manor Golf Course turning off towards Rustington and is on the left only 2 mins from the main road. 
 
I have heard the food is very good there and the music will be good too!!  
 
It is to be called a 'London Night' so we shall be playing a lot of songs in between some good lively accordion music, including a bit of Austrian and Latin.
 
We look forward to seeing you there!
 
Best wishes
 
Shirley Harvey and Bill Perkins
 "Two in Accord"
 
 
 
 
Finnish Accordion Cruise Attracts 2,700 Participants - Finland
Mar., 3, 2007
The annual Sata-Häme Soi and Finnish Accordion Association cruise was sold out to capacity as 2,700 people travelled aboard the Silja Europa Cruise liner from Turku, Finland to Sweden and back. Director of the Sata-Häme Soi Festival Sirpa Sippola and Public Relations Manager Minna Plihtari opened the cruise by hosting a VIP reception with guests including the Mayor of Ikaalinen, Tero Nissinen, Italian accordion artiste Mirco Patarini (left above), CIA President Kevin Friedrich (middle above) with Kimmo Mattila (right above).

Non-stop activities were offered including accordion music in many styles, a variety concert featuring the music of Finnish composer Paul Norrback (painting right), dancing, instrument displays, music and recordings as well as the highly contested semi-finals for both the Silver and Golden Accordion competitions.

Pictured left are Finnish Accordion Association (SHL) President and newly elected CIA General Secretary Kimmo Mattila and SHL Vice President Seppo Lankinen performing in concert.

The jury comprising Elina Leskelä, Elias Ukkonen, Anne-Mari Kunelius, Markku Lindeman and Mirco Patarini selected the following finalists to appear this summer on a live national TV Broadcast where the jury and television viewers combined choose the winner.

The finalists for the Golden Accordion (Senior) include: Sami Hopponen (Polvijärvi), Henna Tahvanainen (Tohmajärvi), Mari Laskujärvi (Vilppula), Pasi Raukola (Ulvila), Henna-Maija Kuki (Nivala) and Veli-Matti Leppänen (Ulvila).

The finalists for the Silver Accordion (children up to 10 years old) are: Mikko Suihkola (Sievi), Essi Elomäki (Pori), Lauri Tuomisto (Jurva), Minna Ristamäki (Ylöjärvi), Menni Leinonen (Lappeenranta), Eemeli Morander (Somerniemi) and Johan-Antti Kivilahti (Haapajärvi).

The annual Sata-Häme Soi Accordion Festival, expected to attract nearly 40,000 people, will take place from June 25th to July 1st 2007, in Ikaalinen, Finland.
  
Tatiana Lanchtchikova at the Auckland Philharmonic - New Zealand
Contributed by Heather Masefield

On Thursday February 22nd there was a concert by the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra at the Auckland Town Hall. 

After the concert, the audience were invited into the bar where resident orchestra accordionist Tatiana Lanchtchikova was drawing in the crowds by playing Tangos and Hungarian music with a violinist from the orchestra.  The conductor Eckehard Stier, from Germany, then joined in playing jazz piano.

The audience adored the transformation from serious concert music to fun folk and entertainment music to finish off a great night.
Accordion XXL Concert Project in Germany
Mar., 3, 2007
In March 2007 three special accordion concerts take place in the context of the Accordion XXL Co-orchestra Project, which involves the joint participation of several accordion orchestras.

Under the direction of Andrej Baumgard, four orchestras from Stuttgart and district join together to form one big orchestra of approximately 50 players.

This combined orchestra will perform on 3 weekends in March 2007 in their city and of the associations involved. Also involved are their youth orchestras and/or smaller ensembles, such as ‘accordimento’ are taking part of this unusual concept. The concert project will be broadcast on Sunday March 11th and the co-orchestra and ‘accordimento’ can be heard during the SWR4-broadcast ‘Music from the Country’, between 6pm and 8 pm.
New Zealand Accordion Association Website - New Zealand
Mar., 3, 2007
The New Zealand Accordion Association Inc. has been granted funding by the ASB Community Trust to completely redevelop their existing website. Using a sophisticated but easy to use Email Management System, the new online presence will provide a high level of service and communication to current members through a Members-Only section and the ability to easily list events into the online Events Calendar.

Currently, newsletters are posted to members periodically. The Email Management System will open communication to a wider audience and reduce ongoing postage costs with e-newsletters.

NZAA member Robin Hill (left) achieved this substantial ASB grant and site designer is Wayne Knights, accordionist and website professional (right).
NAO North Central Area Festival - UK
Mar., 3, 2007
The NAO North Central Area Festival, a qualifier for the NAO UK Championships in Scarborough (4th - 6th May) was held on 24th February in Saltaire West Yorkshire.

The venue with 5 competitive halls and a large trade area proved to be a great success with over 200 entries in accordion classes and all the adjudicators commenting on the very high standard of performance with special mention of the under 9’s being made. Picture of prize winners, Issac Thompson (3rd), Bonnie Sharples (2nd) and Alexander Bodell (1st).

It was good to see the new initiative in a number of local schools in this area has led to many young accordionists attending an accordion festival for the first time.

Picture right of orchestra directors Harry Hinchcliffe (Festival Organiser) and Larissa Brincat. The event ended with the very popular ceilidh held in the evening with Scottish accordionist Gary Blair. Results may be found at www.accordions.com/nao
Hussong, Stefan: Some Thoughts on Repertoire
Mar., 1, 2007
Some Thoughts on Repertoire
by Stefan Hussong First of all, I'm not sure that the music I really want to play -- contemporary music -- is the kind that my audience likes the most. That is why I try to put together, as best I can, a concert program that will let the audience -- which may be meeting the accordion for the first time -- experience all the different facets of the instrument. However, that does not mean that I just string together a bunch of different pieces, but instead I try to develop a program along a certain fundamental theme, within which I present various things. For example, in my present concert program, I play two pieces in succession that were both written in D minor: one by the 20th century composer, John Cage, and the other by the 17th century composer Giralamo Frescobaldi. It is interesting to me, when doing so, that I almost feel Frescobaldi's work is much more complicated and "evolved" than is Cage's piece, at least from a harmonic point of view. Moreover, while Cage's work places great emphasis on symmetry and spatiality, making it the kind of music where the sound expands into the distance, Frescobaldi's music gives us the impression of being "closer" to us, focused as it is towards a single point with its four voices. There are other interesting parallels in my program, such as that between two pieces separated in time but based on the same text: Gubaidulina's De Profundis and Bach's chorales BWV 147 & BWV 659. I really think it is interesting to show audiences the juxtaposition between "new things" and "old things." Creative music never loses its value, although the era may change. But we cannot elicit that creativity just by repeating such music through the old way of performance. Instead, we have to jump in the middle of such music and "recreate" it. For instance, I believe that Bach's pieces for the harpsichord, somehow, contain certain parts that are almost impossible to be performed on that instrument. I'm not saying that Bach was a fool. He had his reasons. I mean to say that Bach, as an excellent composer, did not want to be confined within the boundaries of "what I can do now with the instrument before me." If one merely thought about limits, one could no longer search for the musical possibilities that lay beyond. And so, Bach demanded more from his instruments than they could give him. That goes not just for his harpsichord pieces, but also those for unaccompanied violin and cello. What I'm trying to say is that the different colors and power lurking in a piece of music may not have necessarily been fully discovered as of yet. And I feel that an important job of those of us living today is to bring those things out and express them. Fortunately, given that some composers are still alive, we can do that job "jointly" with them and I have the opportunity to exchange views, and that's one process by which a piece can develop. Instead of trying to fit oneself in a ready-made work, this open and progressive process enables music to develop. The accordion is able to do precisely what we need today -- namely, it delivers its expression "directly" to the listener. This instrument directly absorbs the movement and breathing of my body as I play it, amplifying them as it gives expression. As a result, the accordion is able to give a highly "direct" impact -- aurally and visually -- to both the audience and the composer. Indeed, modern composers are gladly responding to the call to produce works for the accordion. Not only that, but they are facing the problem of not being able to do much else with other instruments such as the piano, whose possibilities have almost been thoroughly explored and "squeezed out." In contrast, the accordion, as a new instrument, still has plenty of possibilities left, and can do many things that are not possible with existing keyboard instruments. For example, a single note on the accordion can be modulated in many ways as it is being played. And so, the last two decades or so have seen a huge increase in the repertoire for the accordion. Before, there were only a few pieces for me to play, but now I can choose from a broad selection. That's the kind of era we live in -- .the accordion is the instrument of the 21st century. Meanwhile, as a relatively new instrument, the accordion has not been completely accepted by the public. That is why I must prove to my audiences that this instrument has the capacity to play many different types of music. This is a kind of "challenge" or "fight" for me. A violinist who gives a bad recital, for example, is assigned individual responsibility for the results, while the violin itself is left blameless. However, when an accordionist gives a bad recital, people tend to blame the instrument. I am forced to be flexible. So, in my program, I take a four-century trip of music. Four centuries may seem extremely limited from a human point of view, but in the area of music it offers an experience full of a sense of expansiveness, one that transcends the limitations of reality. As in the case of dreams my trip transposes chronological order (i.e., the pieces of the program are not arranged chronologically), so that the audience may lave the concert hall imbued with the memories of certain cosmic or spatial images. This article reprinted with permission from The San Francisco Bay Area Accordion Club
Klucevsek, Guy: Accordion Misdemeanors -A Musical Reminiscence
Mar., 1, 2007
Accordion Misdemeanors: A Musical ReminiscenceGuy Klucevsek
My first memory of the accordion is seeing one on television when I was 5 years old. In the early '50's, the accordion was incredibly popular, reflected by the television success of Dick Contino on The Horace Heidt Show and the Ted Mack Amateur Hour, and the weekly Lawrence Welk broadcasts. I coaxed my dad into buying me my first instrument, a 12-bass accordion. My first teacher was Joe Macko, who came to our house to teach. I remember learning In a Little Spanish Town, along with other popular standards. After my parents got divorced in the early 50's, I moved to western Pennsylvania, to be raised by my aunt and uncle. Purely by chance, they found me one of the best accordion teachers in the country, Walter Grabowski, an intelligent, well-read man whose bookshelves were lined with volumes of Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Bertrand Russell. He told me he memorized Beethoven symphonies by playing recordings of them in his bedroom while he slept. From the beginning, my training with Grabowski was both high-brow and low-brow: I was learning transcriptions of opera overtures, piano and violin concerti, and solo piano pieces; but I was also playing novelty pieces like Dizzy Fingers, Flight of the Bumble Bee and Carnival of Venice; and polkas and waltzes by Frank Yankovic, the hero of my Slovenian-American community. Grabowski stressed musicianship above all else: he could abide the occasional wrong note, but was unforgiving when I failed to honor the composer's intentions with regards to expression. He also gave me a solid grounding in harmony: by the time I was 16, I knew all the major, minor, seventh and diminished chords by memory. In the early 1960's, Grabowski introduced me to pieces by Paul Creston, Nicolas Flagello, Alexander Tcherepnin, Elie Siegmeister and Henry Cowell, which had been commissioned by the American Accordionists' Association. These pieces were written expressly for the accordion and they instantly felt and sounded natural on my instrument. And I was young enough to be open to the new vocabulary which these composers used. During all my excitement over original accordion compositions, I was still playing pop music, too. I had a band called "The Fascinations," made up of accordion, tenor saxophone, guitar and drums, which played for weddings, parties, club dates and dances. We had no singer, so we covered a lot of tunes by my favorite instrumental band, the Ventures --Telstar and Walk, Don't Run; along with instrumental versions of The Lion Sleeps Tonight and When I Fall in Love; and Slovenian-American polkas and waltzes. I was transcribing tunes from the radio and records and began writing my own polkas, which became my introduction to the world of composition. In 1967, Grabowski introduced me to the "free bass" accordion. Up until that time, I was playing a standard, or "stradella bass," accordion, on which the left hand buttons contained 2 rows of bass notes and 4 rows of pre-set chords--you could push one button and get a 3-note chord. The free bass accordion had a left hand system with all single tones and a range of over 4 octaves. With this instrument, I was able to play Bach and Scarlatti pieces directly from the keyboard manuscripts, with no transcription involved. And modern composers were using the left-hand buttonboard of the free bass as an equal melodic partner to the right-hand keyboard. I spent the years 1965-72 studying music at several colleges, universities, and conservatories. Because the accordion is not accepted as a classical instrument in most universities in the United States, I majored in music theory and composition and got heavily involved in electronic music. Although I don't use electronics in my works now, working with electronic music for 3 years stressed to me the importance of timbre as a primary musical element and developed in me a love of drones. The recordings I heard in college that I listened to the most were of works by Xenakis, Penderecki, Ligeti, Partch, Nancarrow and Feldman; but it was not until Morton Subotnick introduced me to Terry Riley's Rainbow in Curved Air and Steve Reich's Come Out that I realized I wanted to be a composer, not just a performer. The Reich piece, especially, made a huge impact on me: I was amazed and inspired by the idea that a composer could take a single, spoken phrase and make an entire 15-minute composition out of it without introducing any new material. I began, in 1971, writing solo accordion pieces in which subtle harmonic shifts took place over long periods of time and in which tones would slowly cross-fade between the left- and right-hand keyboards. Often times I used analog or digital delays to cover the changes of bellows, thus providing a continuum. The only piece which has survived from this time is Toronto: Sevenths (1972), for one or more accordions. From 1972-75, I taught part-time at the Acme Accordion School in Westmont, New Jersey. The director of the school, Stanley Darrow, introduced me to the European avant-garde literature for accordion, through the scores of Per Norgaard, Arne Nordheim, Ole Schmidt, Torbjorn Lundquist, et.al., and the recordings of Mogens Ellegaard and Hugo Noth. It was from studying these scores and hearing these recordings that I learned about extended techniques for the accordion, which I incorporated into my composing and performing vocabulary. In 1977, I began working with the Philadelphia-based ensemble, Relache, as performer, composer and music advisor. We specialized in what I call "performer choice" pieces--compositions for classically- trained performers in which all-or-part of the material for the piece is provided, but a good deal of decision-making is left up to the performers. A good example is Terry Riley's In C (1964), containing 53 melodic patterns which all the performers play in sequence, with each performer deciding independently how long to spend on each pattern, resulting in an infinite variety of phase-shifting. We created a repertoire of these kinds of pieces by collaborating with Pauline Oliveros, Malcolm Goldstein, Daniel Goode, Joseph Kasinskas, Thomas Albert and Mary Jane Leach. This was a very exciting process: we were creating a new kind of improvisation designed for performers who were not improvisers in the traditional sense. I composed The Flying Pipe Organ of Xian (1985) for Relache using this technique. In 1984, I heard John Zorn for the first time at New Music America/Hartford, performing his game piece, Rugby. This performance challenged every idea I ever had about ensemble playing: here was a situation where every decision in the piece was being made by the performers, guided by a set of instructions provided by Zorn. I was so excited by what I heard and saw that I ran up to Zorn on stage, introduced myself, and told him if he ever needed an accordion player in a future project, I wanted to do it. The next year, Zorn took me up on my offer by inviting me to join the Cobra big band. With Cobra, Zorn was able to do for the '80's what In C did for the 60's: create a classic piece for open instrumentation for performers who wanted to be part of the creative process of realizing a piece. Cobra codifies just about every aspect of free improvisation: instructions are provided which enable individual ensemble members to determine orchestration, dynamics, density, types of material, endings, even the ability to call back events which happened earlier in the performance ("memory systems"). And, in a quintessentially American move, Zorn provides "guerrilla systems" for those independents who don't like taking instructions from anyone. The Cobra band was made-up of people whom I was meeting for the first time: Elliott Sharp, Bill Frisell, Bobby Previte, Wayne Horvitz, Zeena Parkins, Carol Emanuel, Arto Lindsay, Christian Marclay, and Anthony Coleman. I had no contact whatsoever with the free improv scene before, but I have since collaborated on numerous projects with many of these same people. During the tour of Cobra, I asked Zorn about the possibility of writing me a solo accordion piece. He said that he had never written a piece in which he did not perform himself, but would be glad to give it a try. The result was Road Runner, which he finished in January of 1986, and which we first realized as a recording project for my cassette-only release, Blue Window (zOaR, out-of-print, reissued on Manhattan Cascade, CRI). I was so encouraged by the results of the Road Runner experience that I continued commissioning solo accordion pieces from Lois V Vierk, Mary Ellen Childs, Anthony Coleman, John King, Aaron Jay Kernis, Stephen Montague, Somei Satoh, William Duckworth and Alvin Lucier. There seemed to be a healthy, nurturing balance between my own composing and performing pieces by my colleagues. My own music took an abrupt shift after meeting Zorn: up until 1985, my pieces were definitely out of the minimalist mold, concentrating on limited material which I would put under an intense musical microscope. My first solo piece after working with Zorn was Scenes from a Mirage (1985), a set of variations on a theme which sounds vaguely ethnic. I put the theme through the stylistic ringer, with references to flamenco guitar, Tex-Mex accordion, Balkan bands and Henry Cowell-like tone clusters. This was the first time since high school that I drew on popular music and the first piece I ever wrote using more than one genre. Although the piece sounds nothing like Zorn, its episodic structure and mixture of popular music sources with art music techniques came directly out of my experiences with Cobra and Road Runner. Also in the mid '80's, I was invited to compose my first score for modern dance. I continued drawing on forms from popular music for this project, Waiting Room. I wrote a march based on a traditional Shaker melody; a cover version of Sentimental Journey, which I had Bill Frisell play over a drone; a middle-eastern-sounding tune called Fez Up; a jazzy, chromatic piece in 11/4, Urban Rite; and my first polka in 20 years, The Grass, It Is Blue (Ain't Nothin' But a Polka).The Grass, It Is Blue gave me the idea for my next project. My thought was, if I can write a polka without giving up my avant-garde credentials, why don't I ask other composers to try to do the same? I invited composers from a broad cross-section of the alternative music scene: free improv--Fred Frith, Elliott Sharp, Tom Cora, Christian Marclay, John King, Nicolas Collins, Anthony Coleman; new classical music--William Duckworth, Carl Stone, Thomas Albert, Peter Zummo, Mary Jane Leach, Rolf Groesbeck, Aaron Jay Kernis, David Mahler, Joseph Kasinskas, Peter Garland, Daniel Goode, Guy De Bievre, Mary Ellen Childs, Lois V Vierk, Bill Ruyle; jazz, pop, rock--Bobby Previte, Carl Finch, David Garland, Robin Holcomb, William Obrecht, Steve Elson, Phillip Johnston. I gave the composers only the following criteria: try to write a piece under 3 minutes that can be played either solo or with a band. The result was a collection I call POLKA FROM THE FRINGE. I have spent most of my creative life since 1985 writing music for dancers. There are so many things I like about writing for dance: the act of collaboration with someone outside your own discipline can create naive, outrageous, impractical demands--leading to improbable, surreal and inspired solutions; dance seasons are 3-6 days long, so you get to perform the pieces several times over a short period, polishing and refining the composition and performance; the audience is broader, less specialized, but at the same time more exposed and friendly to new music than concert music audiences. I have now written about 20 pieces for dance and it continues to be one of my favorite and most fulfilling activities. For a 1992 dance project called Passage North, I put together an acoustic band of accordion, violin, cello and bass. I recently recorded the material and was so taken by the sound of that ensemble that I have decided to make it a working band. I'm now writing and arranging material for the group, to be called the Bantam Orchestra, and intend to tour and record with that combination for the next few years. The most amazing thing about being an accordionist for 40 years has been to experience the dramatic shifts in public opinion about the instrument. As I said, I began playing in 1952, when the accordion was the most popular instrument in America. By the late 50's, however, the guitar had replaced the accordion in popularity: kids watching television at that time were more likely to see Elvis Presley playing guitar than Dick Contino playing accordion. During the 60's and 70's the accordion was decidedly and totally out-of-fashion. Not only were fewer people playing it, but the future of the instrument seemed relegated to camp and nostalgia. But by the late '80's, low-and-behold, the explosion in world music brought the accordion back into vogue again--you could now see accordions not only in bands from Texas, Louisiana, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, South Africa and Madagascar--but in pop culture again, with Paul Simon, John Cougar Mellencamp, Los Lobos, Ry Cooder and Tom Waits. Now in the '90's, the accordion shows up frequently in television commercials, the ultimate capitalist compliment. I've continued playing the accordion through all these attitude adjustments. People often ask me why. I used to explain that I made the choice when I was a 5-year-old, but that always made it sound like, had I been a sensible adult instead, I would have known better. Would I have made the decision knowing the negative image that came with the instrument? I don't know. I'm just thankful that I made the choice at an age when we act first and foremost on our instincts. In 1988, I was asked to perform on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, a long-running, children's television show. The producers explained to me that they wanted to show children that the accordion could be used as a classical instrument. For me, it was like coming full-circle. Now I had a chance to play accordion on television and just maybe there would be one child out there watching for whom the accordion would spark an interest, and perhaps even a life, in music. About the Author

GUY KLUCEVSEK has created a unique repertoire for accordion through his own composing and by commissioning over fifty works from composers including Mary Ellen Childs, Anthony Coleman, William Duckworth, Fred Frith, Aaron Jay Kernis, John King, Jer ome Kitzke, Alvin Lucier, Stephen Montague, Somei Satoh, Lois V Vierk and John Zorn.He has composed over 20 dance scores for choreographers including Karen Bamonte, Angela Caponigro, David Dorfman, Anita Feldman, Victoria Marks and Mark Taylor. Klucevsek also composed the music for Chinoiserie, an evening-length music/theatre piece written in collaboration with Ping Chong and Company, which was presented on the 1995 Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where it ran for 5 s old-out performances. His solo performances include the Berlin Jazz Festival, New Music America, Serious Fun! at Lincoln Center, Bang on a Can, and the children's television show Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. He has also performed and/or recorded with Laurie Anderson, Anthony Braxton, Bill Frisell, Fred Frith, Robin Holcomb, the Kronos Quartet, Pauline Oliveros, Bobby Previte, Relache and John Zorn. In 1987, Klucevsek commissioned Polka From the Fringe, a collection of 32 post-modern two-steps by such composers as Carl Finch, Fred Frith, Christian Marclay and Elliott Sharp, which he presented at the 1988 Next Wave Festival, and has performed a round the world with his group, Ain't Nothin' But A Polka Band. He has released eight recordings as soloist/leader, including Polka Dots & Laser Beams and ?Who Stole the Polka?, which were chosen as the best recordings of 1992 by John Schaefer on the nationally-syndicated radio program New Sounds, and Transylvanian Softwear, which was cited as a 1995 Recording of Special Merit in Stereo Review. He can also be heard on the recent compilations Planet Squeezebox on Ellipsis Arts and Great Jewish Music: Burt Bacharach on Tzadik. Klucevsek received a 1995 New York Dance and Performance Award (BESSIE) for his score for David Dorfman's Dance, Hey, and was awarded a "Listen Up" prize for "Best Original Score of 1996" by Publishers Weekly for his music accompanying the Audio Book version of E. Annie Proulx's novel, Accordion Crimes.
GUY KLUCEVSEK
composer / accordionist DISCOGRAPHY SOLOIST/LEADER Altered Landscapes, Evva
Stolen Memories, Tzadik
Citrus, My Love, RecRec/Swiss
Transylvanian Softwear, John Marks Records
Manhattan Cascade, CRI
Polka Dots & Laser Beams, Evva
?Who Stole the Polka?, Evva
Flying Vegetables of the Apocalypse, XI
Scenes From A Mirage, Review
Blue Window, Zoar (out-of-print)COMPILATIONS Great Jewish Music: Burt Bacharach, Who Gets the Guy?, This Guy's in Love With You, Tzadik
Planet Squeezebox, The Grass, It Is Blue, Ellipsis Arts
Legends of Accordion, Awakening, Rhino
The Composer-Performer, Samba D Hiccup, CRI
Koroshi No Blues, Sukiyaki Etoufee, Maki Gami Koechi, Toshiba EMI
Norwegian Wood, Monk's Intermezzo, Aki Takahashi, Toshiba EMI
Music by Lukas Foss, Curriculum Vitae, CRI
Here and Now, Oscillation No. 2, Relache, Callisto
A Haymish Groove, Transylvanian Softwear, Extraplatte
A Confederacy of Dances, Vol. I. Sylvan Steps, Einstein
A Classic Guide to No Man's Land, Samba D Hiccup, No Man's LandWITH JOHN ZORN The Big Gundown, Nonesuch Icon
Cobra, Hat Art
Lost in the Stars: The Music of Kurt Weill, Der Kleine Leutnant Des Lieben Gottes, A&MWITH RELACHE On Edge, Mode
Open Boundaries, Parterre, Minnesota Composers Forum McKnight Recording
Pauline Oliveros: The Well and The Gentle, Hat ArtWITH OTHERS Laurie Anderson: Bright Red, Warner Bros.
Anthony Braxton: Four Ensemble Compositions, 1992, Black Saint
Mary Ellen Childs: Kilter, XI
Anthony Coleman: Disco by Night, Avante
Nicolas Collins: It Was a Dark and Stormy Night, Trace Elements
Fast Forward: Same Same, XI
Bill Frisell: Have A Little Faith, Elektra Musician
David Garland: Control Songs, Review
Robin Holcomb: Rockabye, Elektra Musician
Guy Klucevsek/Pauline Oliveros: Sounding/Way, private cassette release (out-of-print)
Orchestra of Our Time: Virgil Thomson, Four Saints in Three Acts, Nonesuch
Bobby Previte: Claude's Late Morning, Gramavision
Martin, Richard: The Harmonica: AMouthful of Music
Mar., 1, 2007
THE HARMONICA: A MOUTHFUL OF MUSICRichard Martin (Reprinted with permission from The Harmonica Educator) This article is from a research paper that I wrote about the harmonica. Actually, I wrote the paper for a college English class in 1988. Since I had access to a lot of resource material about the history and origin of the harmonica, I was able to write the research paper without too much trouble. I have updated the original research paper with the addition of new information and pictures. I think harmonicists, who desire to know more about the history and origin of the harmonica, will find this article interesting.The Harmonica The harmonica is like a "portable pocket piano" capable of producing a mouthful of music for millions of people around the world (Gaskill 191). The harmonica is really a Western mouth organ, which has grown in popularity since its invention, in 1821, by Christian Friedrich Ludwig Buschmann. With the advent and perfection of the chromatic harmonica by the Hohner Company, harmonica enthusiasts all over the world are now able to play a wide range of music on this instrument. Many "harmonica aficionados" may not be aware that the Eastern mouth organ is "the immediate ancestor not only of the Western mouth organ but of all European free-reed instruments." (Marcuse 731).Basic Classification of Instruments Eastern and Western mouth organs are classified as free-reed instruments. According to the Encyclopedia of Musical Instruments of the World (p.14), free-reed instruments are part of a family tree of musical instruments that are classified under the general heading of Aerophone Instruments.Aerophones Aerophones are constructed so that the vibration of air in the instrument will produce a musical tone. Family tree members include instruments with blow holes (e.g., panpipes), whistle mouthpieces (e.g., recorders), single reeds (e.g., clarinets), double reeds (e.g., oboes), cup mouthpieces (e.g., trumpets), free aerophones (e.g., humming tops), and free-reeds (e.g., Eastern and Western mouth organs, concertinas/accordions, and harmoniums). (See Figure 1)Eastern Mouth Organs Eastern and Western mouth organs have very different constructions. Modern Eastern mouth organs are constructed with 17 different sized bamboo pipes arranged in a semi-circle, and inserted into a circular shaped wind chamber within a metal bowl. Only 14 pipes can produce musical tones. The other 3 pipes are mute. Each one of the 14 pipes has a single air stop hole and a copper reed plate mounted near its end. About one inch from the end, one half of the pipe wall is cut away. The other half is tapered where a copper reed plate is mounted. Prior to mounting the reed plate, a short rectangular cut is made into the plate in the shape of a tongue. To produce a musical tone, a player holds the instrument with both hands, and covers some of the air stops while blowing or drawing air through the mouthpiece. Air passing through the mouthpiece into the wind chamber (blow and draw) causes the metal tongue to vibrate like a free-reed. Air vibrating over each free-reed produces a different musical tone. (See Figures 1 & 2)Western Mouth Organs Western mouth organs are constructed in the shape of a wooden or plastic box cut with different sizes of channel openings. The box is called the comb. Metal reed plates (top and bottom) are attached to the comb. Each reed plate is cut with rectangular reed slots of different sizes. Free-swinging brass reeds are mounted to cover each corresponding reed slot on the plate. Depending on the mouth organ model, reed plates may contain from 8 reeds (e.g., the Little Lady harmonica) to as many as 384 reeds (e.g., the 48 chord harmonica). The top and bottom reed plates have metal covers attached to them. One side of each cover has an open space between the reed plate and the metal cover. This side is towards the back of the instrument. The other side of each cover is closed and touching the reed plate. This side is towards the mouthpiece. The mouthpiece may have as few as 4 single hole openings (Little Lady harmonica), or as many as 96 double hole openings (48 chord harmonica). Air blown or drawn, through a number of hole openings in the mouthpiece, causes free-reeds to vibrate, and produces different musical tones. (See Figure 1)History of the Western Mouth Organ The history of the Western mouth organ can be traced back to the Eastern mouth organ called the Sheng. This instrument was invented in China. There was a primitive mouth organ in use among the Chingmiau tribes (non-Chinese people related to the Thai-speaking people of Haenan) near Anshuenn, Gueyjou Province, China (date unknown) This mouth organ resembled the Sheng, and it had 6 bamboo tubes of various sizes. (See Figure 2[b] & Figure 3 [item 2]) The bamboo tubes were held in place with strands of bamboo. The tubes were then fitted into and around a wooden wind chest with a mouthpiece (Wallesz 136). The copper reeds were tuned, with blobs of wax, to the scale D F G A C D. Figure 2 Diag A & B show how the oriental mouth organ works. The more sophisticated mouth organ is the Sheng (sometimes spelled Cheng) (Ward 863). The word Sheng means "sublime voice" (Gaskill 192). This mouth-organ was invented by the female sovereign Nyn-Kwa in 3000 BC (Figures 3[3] & 4) "The Sheng was formed to imitate the shape of the Phoenix bird and it is probably under the influence of this tradition that it is being used to this day in China in funeral processions" (Buchner 16) Modern Shengs are made of 17 bamboo pipes of different sizes. There are 14 pairs of various sized pipes, with 3 pipes of the same length. 14 pipes are fitted with free-swinging metal reeds, and into each pipe is cut a round air stop hole. Three pipes are mute. All 17 pipes are placed in a half circle configuration, and seated into a circular wind chamber of a metal bowl with a long metal mouthpiece. The pipes are secured in place with a strip of bamboo. A player holds the instrument upright (or at a slight right angle) in both hands while blowing or drawing air through the mouthpiece. An air stop hole must be blocked off to allow air to pass over a particular reed to produce a particular musical tone. Single tones, or a combination of tones (chords), can be heard by blocking off different holes with the fingers and thumbs of both hands. (Figure 4) The Sheng's 14 reeds may be tuned to a number of different pitches of the primitive pentatonic scale (e.g., G" F#" E" C#" C" B' E" G" C#" B" A" D"' D" A') (Sadie 278). The marks above the notes represent pitches of the pitch spectrum above middle C on the piano. Therefore, the tone B' sounds one octave above middle C, the tone C#" sounds two octaves above middle C, and the tone D"' sounds 3 octaves above middle C (Christ 15).Eastern Mouth Organs Today Today, Eastern mouth organs can be seen and heard in many oriental countries. The Encyclopedia of Musical Instruments of the World (p.78) indicates that, in addition to China, different sizes and shapes of mouth organs are played, in such countries as Borneo (Figure 2[a] & Figure 3[1]), with bamboo pipes placed into a gourd wind chamber. In Laos, (Figure 2[c]) another primitive type has up to 16 bamboo pipes seated into a wood or ivory wind chamber. The instrument is made into three sizes with the pipes of the largest size reaching 10 feet in length. Japan's mouth organ, called the shô, is constructed with bamboo and wood. It is similar in shape, but larger than the Chinese Sheng. In the past, the influence of the Chinese Sheng had "radiated to Korea and Japan, through all of Indochina and Bengal over to Persia." (Marcuse 734). As a result of this influence, travelers brought oriental mouth organs to Europe as early as the 17th and 18th centuries. In France, Louis XIV heard Persian mouth organs played along with other instruments in his court in 1648 (p.734). According to Brad Harris, Harmonica Historian, some say that the instrument described "could scarcely be anything other than" a mouth organ. Others say that this is a misunderstanding, and that the Persian organ was something similar to a mouth bow, jaw harp, or panpipe. John Wilde, the inventor of the nail violin, learned to play a Sheng during his stay in Saint Petersburg, Russia from 1741 to 1764 (p.734). (Figure 5)
















Early Experimentation With The Free-Reed Harmonica Historian, Brad Harris, says that although the mouth organ was present in the west by the middle of the eighteenth century, experimentation with the free-reed did not begin until a Sheng was sent to Paris by a Jesuit missionary in China, Father Amiot. The Sheng arrived in Paris in 1777, and apparently was then sent to Saint Petersburg. This Sheng was studied by a Danish physicist named Kratzenstein, and he suggested to an organ builder that the free-reed be used in the development of a new organ stop. As a result, experiments were undertaken on the use of free-reed stops in piano-organs and pipe organs. Unfortunately, the use of free-reed stops in keyboard instruments was not popular with the public, and as a result, most pipe-organ builders discontinued the use of free-reed stops in their keyboard instruments (Marcuse 734)Incorporating Free-Reeds in a Western Mouth Organ The idea of incorporating free-reeds in a Western mouth organs not realized until the 19th century. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians credits a number of Europeans with the development or manufacture of the harmonica. In 1821, the first harmonica was created by a German clock maker, Christian Friedrich Ludwig Buschmann (M. Hohner 1975, Sadie 163). Buschmann's invention (called aura) was probably a metal plate with 15 reed slots covered with corresponding free-reeds. Primarily, he designed the aura as a tuning instrument rather than a musical instrument (Sadie 163). In 1825, Fr. Hotz began producing mouth organs in his factory in Knittlingen, Germany (Scholes 864). Another German, Christian Messner, acquired some of Christian Buschmann's auras. He set up shop in his clock-making firm in Trossingen, in 1827, and began manufacturing instruments that were similar to Buschmann's "aura." Messner called these instruments "mundaeolines." (Scholes 864, Sadie 164). Two years later, an Englishman, Sir Charles Wheatstone, patented a type of mouth organ. He constructed his instrument "using brass reeds controlled by a small button keyboard, which he called a 'symphonium'." (Sadie 164). Some authorities have called Wheatstone's construction an Aeolina (Gilmore 32), or the mund-aeoline (M. Hohner 1975). (Figure 6) During the year 1829, J. W. Glier began manufacturing mouth organs at his factory in Klingenthal, Germany (Sadie 164). In 1855, the German, Christian Weiss, started producing mouth organs (164). Finally, in 1857, a firm in Trossingen Germany began mass-producing harmonicas for the public. At the head of this company was the famous Matthias Hohner (p.164). Today, the manufacture of harmonicas in Europe is in the sole domain of the Hohner harmonica factory at Trossingen. Apparently, the manufacturing of mouth organs by other European firms has been absorbed into the Hohner organization (Ward 864).The Harmonica Has Many Names The harmonica, or mouth organ, has many names in many different languages. It is referred to in German as "Mundharmonika," in French as "harmonica á bouche," in Italian as "armonica a bocca," and in Spanish as "armonica." (Ward 440, Apel 366). In the English language it is referred to as "harmonica, mouth organ, French harp, and harp." (Licht 9). Brad Harris, Harmonica Historian, says the name originally goes back to the accordion. In 1829, in Vienna, Cyrill Demian was granted a "privilege" to make the "akkordion," meaning he had exclusive rights to the instrument. Several people copied his accordion anyway, but because of Deminan's privilege, they had to use a different name. They chose to call it the "handharmonika." Because of the close relationship between the two instruments, the mouth organ began to be called the "mundharmonika." As it common in the English speaking world, the spelling was anglicized. As "akkordion" became "accordion," so "harmonika" became "harmonica."When Hohner First Began Producing Harmonicas When Hohner first began producing harmonicas, in 1857, his factory produced a mere 650 harmonicas. In 1879, he increased his production to over 700,000 harmonicas. At the turn of the century, the company was producing five million harmonicas annually (Hohner 1975). Since that time, the Hohner company has expanded their production to over 50 diatonic and chromatic harmonica models, and since 1979, "some 40 million people in the U.S. play the harmonica, as well as nearly 5 million in Canada." (Hohner, 1975, 1979)Diatonic and Chromatic Harmonicas Diatonic and chromatic harmonicas are constructed with different tonal arrangements. Diatonic harmonicas are tuned with only the natural tones (e.g., C, D, E, F, and etc.), and with no half steps in between each tone (e.g., C, C#, D, D#, E, F, and etc.). The natural tones of the diatonic harmonica are like those played on the white keys of the piano. The half step tones (black keys) are not used in the tuning of diatonic harmonicas.Diatonic Harmonicas Diatonic harmonicas are available in three different types of reed tuning: single reed tuning, tremolo tuned, and octave tuned. The first type, the single-reed diatonic harmonica, is constructed with single holes in the mouthpiece, and 1 "blow and draw" reed in each hole. Each reed is tuned to a different tone (e.g., hole 1: CD, hole 2: EG). There are a number of Hohner single reed models available to the public. For example, a Hohner catalog indicates that one model is available in the keys of C and G. It's one complete octave range is contained in 4 holes. Another model, is available in the major keys of A, B, Bb, C, Db, E, Eb, F, F#, G, and Ab. A tonal range of 3 octaves can be played on this 10 hole instrument. There is a model that is tuned in the minor keys of C and G, and has a musical range of 3 octaves in its 10 holes. For the blues player, there is a 10 hole model available in a number of different keys, and has a 3 octave range. The tonal arrangement of a typical single reed, 10 hole harmonica, is as follows:
McMahan, Robert Young: The AccordionWorks of William Grant Still
Mar., 1, 2007
The Accordion Works of William Grant StillRobert Young McMahan Quietly tucked inside the music section's regular "Hemidemisemiquavers" column of the Saturday, April 24, 1960, issue of the "New York Times" is the following modest announcement: "William Grant Still's `Aria for Unaccompanied Accordion,' the eighth work commissioned by the American Accordionists' Association, will have its first performance at Town Hall May 15." (1) The previous seven commissions were by no less significant names in American music. The first contract is dated March 10, 1957, and was awarded to Paul Creston, whose ebullient Prelude and Dance, Op. 69, was published by Pietro Deiro, a well established accordion publisher, in 1958, and premiered by concert virtuoso Carmen Carrozza in Carnegie Hall, May 18,1958. (2) Compositions which followed, in order of commissioning, were, in1958, Wallingford Riegger's Cooper Square, Op. 70, and Creston's Concerto for Accordion and Orchestra, Op. 75 (one the instrument's major and most virtuosically challenging works); and, in 1959, Virgil Thomson's Lamentations, Carlos Surinach's Pavana and Rondo, Robert Russell Bennett's Four Nocturnes, and Henry Cowell's Iridescent Rondo. Still's Aria was contracted in 1959 also, on December 1. All of these pieces were published (in the case of Aria, by Sam Fox, in 1960), had successful premieres in New York, Boston, or Chicago, in such places as New York's Town Hall and Carnegie Hall, Boston's Symphony Hall, and the Arts Club of Chicago, and received generally positive reviews, particularly in the New York Times, New York Herald Tribune, and Christian Science Monitor. (3) The American Accordionists' Association was founded in 1938 by twelve of the truly first accordion virtuosi in history. Significantly representing the first generation of these pioneers was Pietro Deiro (1888-1954), who, like his contemporary and fellow A. A. A. founder, Pietro Frosini, had left Italy for America where he introduced the accordion for the first time on the vaudeville stage. He also collaborated with accordion manufacturers to refine the instrument to concert quality (beyond its numerous primitive nineteenth century ethnic prototypes) and create the familiar piano accordion of today. (4) Important second generation co-founders were Charles Magnante, often called the Heifitz of the accordion, and his brother-in-law Joseph Biviano. All were successful in radio and recording studio work and had also given frequent recitals and workshops which included transcriptions of past masters' works and original classical compositions, usually in nineteenth century style, which they had written for their instrument. The stated goals of the A. A. A. included engaging "in activities for the advancement of the accordion, without pecuniary profit," to "hold competitions and to promote the study and improvements of the accordion," and, important to this discussion, "to publish literature to be of service to accordionists." (5) Regarding the last point, however, nothing is specifically said about building an actual original literature for the instrument. A then outsider to the organization was to eventually address that all important issue. In the mid-1940s a young, newly married college girl from Detroit, Elsie Bennett (nee Blum), arrived with her groom, Mortimer Bennett, to his family's original home, Brooklyn, New York. Elsie had studied the accordion in her youth and was in the midst of pursuing a degree in music theory at Wayne University when they moved to Brooklyn. To finish the degree she elected to take courses in orchestration and composition at Columbia University, with the intention of transferring the credits to her would-be alma mater, from which she finally did graduate in 1945. Her composition teacher at Columbia was Otto Luening, who was eventually to be commissioned by the A. A. A. as well. When she decided to pursue a Master's Degree at the Columbia Teachers' College, she requested that the accordion be accepted as her major instrumental emphasis. This was allowed, and Columbia assigned her the task of finding a good teacher. She approached Charles Magnante, who, not liking to teach, recommended Joseph Biviano. He consented to this arrangement and was consequently appointed the official accordion instructor of that school. (6) Elsie's required degree recital had to represent all major musical style periods, including the twentieth century. She had no difficulty selecting literature from the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic periods, since by this time, accordionists had published and performed many transcriptions of works by such masters as Bach, Mozart, and Mendelssohn. Deiro's accordion concertos were also firmly representative of Romantic era music, though they were composed during this century. But the twentieth century was virtually devoid of any significant solo works by aclaimed, non-accordionist composers. She discovered a number of ensemble works which included accordion, such as Hindemith's Kammermusik Nr. 1 and Virgil Thomson's curious opera Four Saints in Three Acts, as well as a brief moment in Berg's opera Wozzeck. But for a solo recital, she had very little to go on in 1946. Nevertheless, she was able to give the recital and received her Master of Arts degree in that year. To combat this dearth of original works for the accordion in the future, Otto Luening eventually suggested to his student that composers needed to be commissioned and paid to write for the accordion if it were ever to gain a prestigious original repertoire. By 1953 Ms. Bennett was deeply involved as an official in the A. A. A. (the result of Biviano's and Deiro's invitation to her to join the organization around the time of her graduation from Columbia). That April she invited Luening to address an open meeting about this very issue. His eloquent and convincing plea for commissioning works resulted in that organization's establishment of the Composers' Commissioning Committee, with Elsie as the chair, a position she continues to energetically hold today, despite her seventy-six years. (7) Since Still's Aria, forty-two more commissions have been made, two of which were assigned to the writer recently. Names of particular distinction, in addition to those already listed, include Henry Brant, David Diamond, Lukas Foss, Ernst Krenek, George Kleinsinger, Paul Pisk, Elie Siegmeister, Jose Serebrier, Alexander Tcherepnin, and most recently, Pauline Oliveros, who, herself, is an accordionist and holds a bachelor's degree in that instrument from the University of Houston. (8) (Unfortunately, at least as many composers of this rank turned down A. A. A. commissions over the years as well.) (9) Other similar organizations, such as the Accordion Teachers' Guild and various European groups, in addition to individual performers, have also commissioned or had works voluntarily written for them in all forms over the past half century--solo, concerto, chamber, etc.--so that today, the repertoire stands at well over five-hundred compositions and is constantly growing. (10) It can be claimed, nevertheless, that Ms. Bennett and the A. A. A. were at the forefront of this effort and that William Grant Still is one of the early and important contributors. Bennett first wrote to Still for the commission probably early in1959, and sent him some information on the accordion and a copy of Creston's Prelude and Dance. The first surviving letter of the Bennett/Still association is from the composer to the commissioner, dated March 12, 1959, thanking her for the materials and stating that he is very impressed with the accordion's apparent capabilities. Bennet replied in a May 21 letter*GIVE CONTRACT DATE, LETTERS, ETC., RE BEGINNING OF STILL COMMISSION. In a feature article by Elsie Bennett on Still's commission which appeared in the February 1961 issue of Accordion and Guitar World, she indicates that, since the composer lived on the other side of the continent, in Los Angeles, she asked the famed accordionist Myron Floren, of the immensely popular Lawrence Welk Orchestra and television show, to explain the instrument to Still and help edit the work. Unfortunately, Floren does not mention his visit with Still in his 1981 autobiography (written with his daughter Randee Floren), Accordion Man. But correspondence between him and Bennett (in the Bennett files) reveal the following: Bennett was advised by Carmen Carrozza to request Floren's assistance, and she wrote to Floren about this, and to ask that Floren arrange to have a publicity photograph made of him and Still, on December 11, 1959. Floren responded in a January 11, 1960, letter that Still had contacted him, they had the photograph taken (see Fig. 1; it appears in the above cited Accordion and Guitar World article), and they had met to work on the already composed Aria. At this meeting, Floren reports the following: "His [Still's] wife [Verna Arvey] played the Aria on the piano first and then we began working from the beginning and I would play each phrase with different switches until he heard the sound that he had had in mind in writing the piece." *MSS Still was clearly impressed with both the instrument and the artist, as a Christmas Eve, 1959, letter to Bennett which was quoted in the article attests: "My association with Mr. Floren made me realize what the instrument can accomplish in the way of virtuosity and in sustained and flowing melodies. One can no longer speak simply of 'the sound' of an accordion, because of the variety of its tonal effects. After hearing some of the striking and appealing things that can be done on it, I would say that it not only has many resources, but it could very well be used with marked effectiveness in the orchestra. I am interested enough to want to again write for the accordion, and I am sure that as other composers listen to and study the instrument carefully, they, too, will share my enthusiasm for it." Still also revealed that he had worked with Sidney B. Dawson, one of the founding members of the A. A. A. (see n. 4), a few years earlier in arranging a spiritual for accordion and chorus (title unknown), but it was not until later, when he heard a recording of Magnante playing his own transcription of Bach's organ Toccata in D Minor, an item Ms. Bennett gave to all potential commissionees, that he "really began to understand what the instrument [could] do in the hands of a true artist." (11) Floren confirms this part of Still's Christmas Eve letter in a letter to Bennett: "He had listened to the records you [Bennett] had sent him and was especially impressed with some of the concert work of Magnante." Still's daughter and strong promoter of her father's music, Judith Still Headlee, has little memory of Floren's visit, as she explains in a recent letter to the writer: "I have no memories of Myron Floren, except that I came downstairs one afternoon and found him (or some gentleman) in the living room, demonstrating the accordion. He was instructing my father in the instrument." (It should be mentioned here that Ms. Headlee would have been about sixteen years old at the time. Floren remembers her appearance that day, however, and that it was one of "many meetings" he had with Still, as recently reported in a letter to the writer.) She continues, explaining that her father was "very private in his composing" and "never discussed a piece unless my mother was writing words for it. Moreover, he stopped writing in his diary in 1959, so there may be no record [of Floren's visit or of his impressions of the accordion] there." Ms. Headlee also offers further explanation for the lack of further comment by her father on this matter: "In the [19]60s he was tired, discouraged and less optimistic, so that his music had a wistful, lyrical quality, and he was less likely to indulge himself in learning new instruments such as the organ and accordion. . . Just think what he could have done if he had discovered the accordion in 1921, when he began the composition of Levee Land?" Floren was very pleased with the piece, reporting to Bennett that he "found the Aria to be a beautiful number with many interesting color changes." He apparently feels the same about it three decades later, as can be observed in the letter to the writer cited above: "I think the Aria fitted the accordion very well and was a beautiful piece of music. Very lyrical." Furthermore, his opinion of Still as a human being echoes that of practically everybody who knew and consequently loved him: "I thought he was a very fine gentleman, very quiet and unassuming." (12) Fulfilling the New York Times announcement, the world premiere of Aria did indeed take place on Sunday afternoon, May 15, 1960, at 2:30, as part of the Sano Accordion Symphony concert at Town Hall. Participating artists were Eugene Ettore, veteran accordionist and the conductor of the accordion orchestra, guest artist Myron Floren, who, as planned, performed Aria as well as Bennett's Four Nocturnes (at Elsie Bennett's request), and Judy Procida, who served as narrator for a musical novelty tribute by Ettore (with words by his student Rosemarie Gerber [now Cavanaugh]) to Floren entitled Hey! Myron. The rest of the program consisted of accordion orchestra transcriptions of such works as Moussorgsky's A Night on Bald Mountain, Donizetti's overture to Don Pasquale, and the finale of Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony. Floren requested from Elsie Bennett and was given about one hour of stage time. (13) In addition to the Still and Bennett pieces, he performed Fughetta, by accordionist John Gart, various transcriptions (Vittorio Monti's Czardas, Claude Debussy's Clair de Lune, Aram Khachaturian's Sabre Dance, Sir Arthur Sullivan's The Lost Chord, and Ferde Grofe's "On the Trail," from the Grand Canyon Suite), and "selected old time dances," (Clarence "Pinetop" Smith's "Original" Boogie Woogie, Les Brown's Sentimental Journey, Thomas Haynes Bayly's Long, Long Ago, and Tolchard Evans's inescapable Lady of Spain). (14) Despite this motley assortment of selections, Francis D. Perkins, of the New York Herald Tribune, gave a favorable review, saying that the two original works (the Still and Bennett pieces) possessed "melodic appeal and variety of mood," and that they "revealed their composers' understanding of the accordion's requirements and resources." (15) Over the next few years, Aria was to enjoy further momentous, mainstream exposure. Carmen Carrozza, a brilliant "third generation" virtuoso, who, though a student of Deiro, was younger than such "second generation" artists as the aforementioned Magnante, Ettore, and Biviano, included it in his many recitals and appearances in general contemporary music concerts, particularly in New York. Being apparently more at ease with contemporary music than his older colleagues, he was responsible for playing the premieres of most of the A. A. A. commissions, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s. On February 11, 1961, he gave a recital of all-commissioned works, including Aria and two other pieces by Cowell and Hovhannes similarly commissioned by the Accordion Teachers Guild, at the Arts Club of Chicago. The capacity audience received the new music, played on this new instrument, very enthusiastically, according to Carrozza (there is no review, unfortunately). (16) About two months later, on April 17, 1961, he participated in the final concert of the season for the National Association of American Composers and Conductors, at Carnegie Recital Hall, playing the earlier mentioned solos by Thomson and Creston, as well as the Still piece. Francis D. Perkins once again had kind words for the commissioned works in his New York Herald Tribune review, saying that all three pieces were "engaging and instrumentally grateful." Eric Salzman, writing for the New York Times, was more specific about each piece, describing Aria as "mild, modal, [and] wandering." (17) Other noteworthy performances include a May 6, 1962, Town Hall recital of all A. A. A. works, including Aria, performed by Carrozza which got glowing reviews from John Gruen, of the New York Herald Tribune, and from the New York Times; (18) a February 21, 1964, co-operative program of all-commissioned works by Cowell, Kleinsinger, Siegmeister, Bennett, Diamond, Luening, Creston, Brant, and, of course, Still, performed by four young and promising accordionists, Janice Simon, who played Aria, Joseph Soprani, Robert Conti, and Kathy Black, at the Donnell Library, in New York, and which was broadcast over WNYC radio; (19) and another Carrozza recital, again including Aria, presented by the American Festival of Negro Arts at Aronow Hall, City College, New York City, on February 22, 1965. (20) In addition to these and many other performances, Aria was included with other commissioned pieces in two A. A. A.- sponsored teacher/student workshops in New York on September 22, 1964, and September 27, 1969, and has been selected as the test piece for the A. A. A. national and regional competitions many times, as has his second accordion piece, Lilt, beginning at least as early as 1967. (In fact, the writer recalls the first time he ever played Aria was as the required test piece for one of those contests in that period.) (21) In addition to these mostly New York performances, the celebrated and, sadly, recently and prematurely late, Danish concert artist, Mogens Ellegard, performed Aria and other A. A. A. works at the University of Miami's third annual Festival of American Music, May 4, 1962, and throughout Europe and Israel (including some radio and television broadcasts) in 1965. (22) Back in the United States there were many other recitals and broadcasts which featured it outside of New York. The writer knows of at least six occasions first hand between 1975 and today in which he included it, and, in some instances Lilt also, in recitals at St. John's College (in Santa Fe, New Mexico), Johns Hopkins University, the Peabody Institute, Morgan State University (in Baltimore), Trenton State College (in New Jersey and where he presently teaches), and on a Morgan State University radio program on black music hosted by the well-known authority on that subject, Dominique de Lerma. This performance history is probably fairly representative of that of many other concert artists regarding the inclusion of the Still pieces on their programs. (23) So grateful was the A. A. A. for this delightful little piece that Mr. Still was honored on June 25, 1962, at the Annual A. A. A. Dinner Dance, at the Commodore Hotel in New York. Unable to attend, he sent his good friend, composer Kay Swift (perhaps most acclaimed for her 1930 Broadway hit, Fine and Dandy), to receive a special plaque for him. (24) Later that summer, Ms. Bennett writes in her article about him in the special May 1975 festschrift issue of The Black Perspective in Music, that she visited the Stills in their Victoria Avenue residence in Los Angeles, and they all became close, life-long friends. (25) In an undated letter from Mr. Still to Ms. Bennett which must have been received sometime during early 1960 the composer describes the form of his piece as a rondo which breaks down into the following eight subdivisions: 1. Theme I / 2. Theme II (extended by development) / 3. Theme I / 4. Here a codetta takes the place of a transition / 5. Theme II (strongly contrasted and extended by development) / 6. Re-transition / 7. Theme I / 8. Coda (26) Years later, Still gave another description of Aria in a letter to Ms. Bennett. He wrote in the third person so that Ms. Bennett could more fluently include it in a future article about him. As it turned out, the quotation was never used (although an accompanying one about Lilt was; see below). "The composer's love for opera led him to write a broad, soaring melody reminiscent of operatic music. This appears at the beginning and end of Aria, the sections separated by a Scherzo-like movement demanding nimble fingers and a clear sense of rhythm. The piece employs many of the unique resources typical of the accordion as an instrument." (27) The piece may be more readily perceived as a large A/B/A1 form, however, because Still's designated items 1 through 4 seem to be all of one fabric, owing to the slow but rather rubato tempo and a fairly faithful adherence to the Aeolian mode in the main double period portion of the principal theme; item 5 (the "Scherzo-like movement" mentioned in the second quotation above) is in a sprightly, faster tempo, and a considerably chromaticized but clear F major key, and presents a strong contrast to what came before despite its disguised derivation from the earlier "Theme II"; and, following the section 6 bluesy, slow retransition, a truncated, but nonetheless lengthy, return of the opening section's main theme and, very importantly, slow tempo and A minor tonality, prior to the dramatic coda. (See analytical diagram, Fig. 1.) The mood of the entire work is very peaceful and poetically fragile, with characteristically Stillian touches of modal, pentatonic, and quartel writing moderately imposed upon an otherwise frankly tonal and post-romantic style. Though the fingerwork of Aria is easily rivaled by the heavy virtuosic requirements of such other A. A. A. commissions as the Creston Concerto and Krenek Toccata, the writer has played few pieces that make as high a demand on the performer's expressive abilities--and expose performance mistakes so clearly! It nevertheless comes quite close to what Ms. Bennett requested of Still in her first letter of invitation for a commission, some six months before the official contract was sent: "We would like something ranging from medium to difficult to perform since we would like the number to be featured on concert programs. If the number were suitable it might also be used by contestants in our various accordion contests. This is not a prime consideration, however, we are more interested in getting a good pice of music that has something to say." (28) In this same letter, Still was offered the usual A. A. A. remittance of $200, to be paid jointly by the A. A. A. and his publisher. Typical of many of the A. A. A. commissions of the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s, Aria calls for the traditional piano accordion with the standard, so called "stradella," "120-bass" left-hand manual, consisting of one octave of single notes (extendable to other octaves by means of registral switch changes), and preset major, minor, major-minor seventh, and diminished chord buttons, all of which allow composers to come up with some very inventive polytonal or tone cluster structures, often performed at high speeds, which are difficult or impossible to obtain on other keyboard instruments. Many later A. A. A. works allow the performer to use the more recently invented and added three- to four-octave single-note arrangement of the "free bass" manual, which is available in two different formats, one of which is chromatically arranged and the other following the circle-of-fifths layout of the stradella system (see the left-hand manual diagrams in Fig. 2). In a feature article on Still in the November 1963 issue of The Music Journal we find him still saying good things about the accordion: ". . . I know this instrument has wonderful possibilities and there are always fine accordionists who would like to see more music composed specifically for their instrument." (29) Elsie Bennett and the A. A. A. eventually followed up on this notion personally for Mr. Still by asking him to write another accordion solo. The expressed goal of this commission, as stated in a letter from Ms. Bennett to the composer dated February 21, 1965, was "to write a simple piece that could be used for teaching purposes." (30) The contract was sent to Still the following summer, on July 5, 1966, and the resulting piece, indeed easier technically, but, typically, not expressively, was entitled Lilt. It joins other intermediate level student commissions, such as Jose Serebrier's Danza Ritual, Creston's Embryo Suite, and Tcherepnin's Zigane, all commissioned around the same time. According to A. A. A. contract records, it constitutes that organization's twenty-ninth commission (see n. 3). An article in the Fall 1968 Accordion Horizons magazine announced the publication of Lilt by Deiro and the fact that it had been chosen as a test piece for both the A. A. A. Eastern Cup and New York State regional competitions that year (see n. 18). In addition, Still is quoted as describing his new piece as a "jaunty, good-humored little tune with an easy, infectious rhythm. The middle section, also melodic, offers a sparkling contrast to the basic theme." (31) (But the rather brief middle section is not as strongly contrasted to the outer A sections, at least regarding tempo, as are the principle segments of Aria to each other.) Like Aria, Lilt is written for the standard piano/stradella accordion, and is similarly serene and tonal (A minor / A major / A minor, with the usual modal and pentatonic leanings), and follows a similar rondo plan, framed within larger A/B/A sections (see Fig. 3). And, as may be expected for a student level composition, it is melodically, harmonically, and formally simpler and more "popular" in nature than was its lengthier and more serious predecessor. Curiously, if one is to go by the chronological listing of works in the book William Grant Still and the Fusion of Cultures in American Music, edited by Robert Bartlett Haas, both accordion pieces were written in times of seeming inactivity for the composer. It appears that Lilt was the only work completed in 1966; and Aria, along with the orchestral tone poem Patterns and the "Lyric" string quartet, all purportedly completed near or during 1960, followed the Third Symphony and the opera Minette Fontaine by a year, with nothing showing for the bulk of 1959. The years between 1960 and 1966 are furiously busy, however, with at least sixteen works listed in the chronology, including the opera Highway 1, U. S. A., the orchestral works Los Alnados De Espana, Preludes, and Threnody: In Memory of Jan Sibelius, and the Folk Suites, Nos. 1 through 4, for various chamber ensembles. (32) What is more remarkable is that, to the best of the writer's knowledge, William Grant Still is the only published African American composer to have written for the accordion to date. A former classmate of the writer's at the Peabody Institute, the late Ronald Roxbury (an African American who grew up in Salisbury, Maryland), wrote an excellent and highly idiomatic set of four atonal Preludes at about the same time Still's Lilt was published. The writer had the pleasure of premiering that composition at Peabody not long after its creation, and is happy to report that the A. A. A. is presently looking into having it published posthumously. (33) A few years later, Roxbury promised to write two works for New York accordionist William Schimmel, a concerto for accordion and strings and a duet for accordion and guitar, but they never materialized. (34) Finally, Ulysses Kay accepted a contract from the A. A. A., dated November 24, 1961, which he regrettably soon returned to Ms. Bennett, explaining that he had tried but felt that he could not succeed in writing something fitting for the instrument. (35) Be that as it may, the accordion world feels very privileged to possess these two little gems by Still which show every evidence of having been written from the heart and with the same effort and enthusiasm that he had put into his more celebrated major works. They are, in the writer's opinion, thoroughly good Still, and a delight to perform. Notes: The writer heartily thanks Elsie Bennett and accordionist Stanley Darrow for generously opening their extensive accordion archives to him for hours and days on end and for their invaluable and unrestrained assistance in many other ways. (1) "Hemidemisemiquavers," New York Times, April 24, 1960, p. 11, col. 6. (2) "Concert, Recitals Today," New York Times, May 18, 1958, p. 8, col. 3; Accordion and Guitar World 23, n. 3 (June 1958): 19. (3) American Accordionists' Association contracts in files of Elsie Bennett. A full list of these contracts and some manuscripts or published copies (where contracts cannot be found) follows, chronologically arranged and numbered through the present. The two Still pieces (in bold) are nos. 8 and 29, commissioned in 1960 and 1966 respectively: 1) Paul Creston, Prelude and Dance (see n. 2); 2) Wallingford Riegger, Cooper Square, April 9, 1958; 3) Paul Creston, Concerto for Accordion and Orchestra, July 11, 1958; 4) Virgil Thomson, Lamentations, April 15, 1959; 5) Carlos Surinach, Pavanna and Rondo, June 11, 1959; 6) Robert Russell Bennett, Four Nocturnes: no contract found, but an article by Elsie Bennett in Accordion and Guitar World ("Robert Russell Bennett Joins Ranks of Composers for Accordion," vol. 24, n. 11 [February, 1960]: 9, 36) indicates that he wrote the Four Nocturnes sometime after May 1959 and that it had already been completed and published by Chappell by the time of printing for that issue of the magazine; and a New York Times review (John Briggs, "4 Works for Accordion Played In Premieres to Aid Repertory," November 22, 1959, p. 85, cols. 4-5), announcing its premiere performance by Carmen Carrozza, narrows the period of composition to some five months in the middle of 1959; 7) Henry Cowell, Iridescent Rondo, July 14, 1959; 8) William Grant Still, Aria, December 1, 1959; 9) Henry Cowell, Concerto Brevis, February 4, 1960; 10) Otto Luening, Rondo, June 23, 1960; 11) Paul Pisk, Salute to Juan, October 28, 1960; 12) Alexander Tcherepnin, Partita, November 1, 1960; 13) Henry Brant, Sky Forest, for jazz accordion quartet, November 7, 1960; 14) Elie Siegmeister, Improvisation, Ballade, and Dance, November 10, 1960; 15) David Diamond, Night Music, for accordion and string quartet, December 8, 1960; 16) Louis Gordon, Aria, Scherzo, and Finale, for accordion and orchestra or band, August 5, 1961; 17) Paul Pisk, Adagio and Rondo Concertante, for two accordions and orchestra, November 10, 1961; 18) David Diamond, Sonatina, January 15, 1962; 19) George Kleinsinger, Prelude and Sarabande, January 18, 1962; 20) Ernst Krenek, Toccata, April 2, 1962; 21) Robert Russell Bennett, Quintet ("Psychiatry"), for accordion and string quartet, September 15, 1962; 22) Normand Lockwood, Sonata Fantasy, January 3, 1964; 23) Nicholas Flagello, Introduction and Scherzo, March 20, 1964; 24) Alexander Tcherepnin, Invention, March 24, 1965; 25) Paul Creston, Fantasy, for accordion and orchestra, or accordion solo, July 17, 1964; 26) Carlos Surinach, Prelude of the Sea, March 25, 1965; 27) David Diamond, Introduction and Dance, March 17, 1966; 28) Jose Serebrier, Danza Ritual, March 17, 1966; 29) William Grant Still, Lilt, July 5, 1966; 30?) Jose Serebrier, Passacaglia and Perpetuum Mobile, for accordion, strings, brass, and percussion; no contract found, but MS is dated 1966; 31) Alexander Tcherepnin, Tzigane, February 14, 1967; 32) Paul Creston, Embryo Suite, July 11, 1968; 33) Joel Brickman, Prelude and Caprice, April 11, 1972; 34) William Schimmel, Fables, August 5, 1974; 35) John Franceschina, Scaramouche, June 16, 1975; 36) William Schimmel, Variations in Search of a Theme, June 17, 1976; 37) Timothy Thompson, Growth Cells, July 17, 1976; 38?) Karen Fremar, Introduction and Allegro, for accordion and synthesized tape; no contract was found, but published score (Deffner) is dated 1976; 39) Lukas Foss, Curriculum Vitae, November 12, 1976; 40?) Timothy Thompson, Keyworld; no contract was found, but MS dated 1976-77; 41?) Timothy Thompson, Rossiniland; no contract was found, but MS dated 1977; 42) William Schimmel, The Spring Street Ritual; no contract was found, but the published score (Deffner) indicates it was jointly commissioned by the American Accordionists' Association and the Accordion Teachers' Guild in 1979; 43) John Franceschina, Concerto for Accordion and Orchestra, May 22, 1985; 44) Joseph Biviano, Quintet in G, for accordion and string quartet; 45) William Schimmel, Remembering a Legend; Charles Magnante, April 7, 1987; 46 or 47) Jose Halac, Accordion Shadow, April 30, 1993; 46 or 47) Dave Soldier, Sontag in Sarajevo, April 30, 1993; 48 or 49) Robert Young McMahan, Incantations, for 'cello and accordion, December 28, 1993; 48 or 49) Robert Young McMahan, Apparitions, for flute and accordion, December 28, 1993; 50) Pauline Oliveros, [work in progress], 1995. Various New York Times and New York Herald Tribune reviews, as well as some from other newspapers and journals, will be cited below. The topic of the Christian Science Monitor was the world premiere of Creston's concerto, given by Carmen Carrozza and the Boston Pops Orchestra, Arthur Fiedler conducting (Harold Rogers, "Carmen Carrozza Soloist in Concerto for Accordion," May 11, 1960, p. 11, cols. 6-8). (4) John C. Gerstner, "The Passing of Pietro [Deiro]," Accordion World 20, n. 1 (November 1954): 4, 16; "Pietro Deiro Dead; Accordionist Was 66," New York Times, November 4, 1954, p. 31, col. 4. The minutes of the first A. A. A. meeting are reproduced, along with a photograph of nine of the twelve founders, in the American Accordionists' Association Fiftieth Anniversay Souvenir Journal and Program, 1988: 10-11 ("Minutes of the First Meeting [March 9, 1938]"). The full list of founders are (in order of appearance in the photograph) Pietro Frosini, Abe Goldman, Sidney Dawson, Anthony Galla-Rini, Charles Magnante, Pietro Deiro, Sr., Charles Nunzio, Gene von Hallberg, Joseph Biviano, and, not in the photograph, John Gart, Sam Roland, and Byron Streep. (5) The Credo of the A. A. A. may be read in full in the 1963 Annual of the American Accordionists' Association, 1963: 5. Additional articles of interest in the same publication are Theresa Costello (A. A. A. Secretary), "Our Silver Anniversary, 1938-1963" (p. 1) and Eugen Ettore (A. A. A. President), "An Open Letter from Eugene Ettore, President American Accordionists' Association" (p. 3). (6) The material in this and the next paragraph is from an interview with Elsie Bennett at her Brookln, New York, home and music studio, February 26, 1995. (7) Luening's talk is extensively described and quoted in "Otto Luening Addresses A. A. A. at Open Meeting," American Accordionists' Association News 4, n. 2 (April 1953): 3, 6. (8) See n. 3 for a full chronological list of composers and their commissions. (9)Composers who Ms. Bennett's files reveal turned down commissions by either saying no at personal interviews or by not returning signed contracts include Marc Blitzstein, William Schuman, Darius Milhaud, Paul Hindemith, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Carlos Chavez , Douglas Moore, Aaron Copland, Roger Sessions, Samuel Barber, Vittorio Giannini, Vincent Persichetti, Gian-Carlo Menotti, Luigi Dallpiccola, and others. Sometimes other obstacles hampered the increase of A. A. A. commissioned repertiore. For example, when Ms. Bennett approached Igor Stravinsky, Robert Craft shielded him from her, and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco signed a contract but unfortunately died before he could get around to writing the piece (interview with Elsie Bennett; [Elsie Bennett:] "Intervi ews or In Person Talks," TS in Bennett files [n. d.]). (10) For a full international list of original works for or including accordion as of 1980, see Joseph Macerollo (accordion instructor, Royal Conservatory, Toronto), Accordion Resource Manual (Canada [no city given]: Avondale Press, 1980). It is hoped that this valuable resource will be updated eventually. . Johann Sebastian Bach, Toccata in D Minor (for organ), arranged for accordion by Charles Magnante (New York: Pagani, 1941). (11) Elsie Bennett, "William Grant Still Writes for Unaccompanied Accordion: Aria for Accordion," Accordion and Guitar World 25, n. 11 (February 1961): 21. The letter from Still to Bennett is dated on Christmas Eve, 1959. Unfortunately, Floren does not mention his visit with Still in his autobiography (written with his daughter Randee Floren), Accordion Man (Brattleboro, Vermont: Stephen Greene Press, 1981). But correspondence between him and Bennett (in the Bennett files) reveal the following: Bennett was advised by Carrozza to request Floren's assistance, and she wrote to Floren about this, and to ask that Floren arrange to have a publicity photograph made of him and Still, on December 11, 1959. Floren responded in a January 11, 1960, letter that Still had contacted him, they had the photograph taken (it appears in the above cited Accordion and Guitar World article), and they had met to work on the already composed Aria. At this meeting, Floren reports the following: "His wife [Verna Arvey] played the Aria on the piano first and then we began working from the beginning and I would play each phrase with different switches until he heard the sound that he had had in mind in writing the piece." Floren also confirms part of Still's Christmas Eve letter: "He had listened to the records you had sent him and was especially impressed with some of the concert work of Magnante." Still's daughter, Judith Still Headlee, has little memory of Floren's visit, as she explains in a letter to the writer (April 14, 1995): "I have no memories of Myron Floren, except that I came downstairs one afternoon and found him (or some gentleman) in the living room, demonstrating the accordion. He was instructing my father in the instrument." (It should be mentioned here that Ms. Headlee would have been about sixteen years old at the time. Floren remembers her appearance that day, however. [Letter from Myron Floren, May 9, 1995.]) She continues, explaining that he was "very private in his composing" and "never discussed a piece unless my mother was writing words for it. Morevoer, he stopped writing in his diary in 1959, so there may be no record [of Floren's visit or of his impressions of the accordion] there." Ms. Headlee also offers further explanation for the lack of further comment by her father on this matter: "In the [19]60s he was tired, discouraged and less optimistic, so that his music had a wistful, lyrical quality, and he was less likely to indulge himself in learning new instruments such as the organ and accordion. . . Just think what he could have done if he had discovered the accordion in 1921, when he began the composition of Levee Land?" (12) Letters from Myron Floren to Elsie Bennett, January 11, 1960 (Bennett files), and the writer, May 9, 1995. (13) Letter from Myron Floren to Elsie Bennett, March 30, 1960 (Bennett files). (14) These selections are listed in a letter from Floren to Bennett, April 27, 1960 (Bennett files). (15) Francis D. Perkins, "Sano Accordion Symphony Plays At Town Hall," New York Herald Tribune, May 16, 1960, p. 12, col. 4. This review and the earlier cited Christian Science Monitor one (see n. 3) were reprinted in a thematic catalogue of A. A. A. works published in June, 1961. (16) [Elsie Bennett], "First Concert of All-Commissioned Works Presented by Carmen Carrozza at Arts Club of Chicago," A. A. A. press release TS, May 1961; in Bennett files. The writer is indebted to Diane Haskell, librarian at the Newberry Library, in Chicago, for the precise date of the concert, a copy of the program, and acknowledgement of there being no reviews. The Accordion Teachers' Guild commissioned works on the recital were Hovhannes's Suite and Cowell's Perpetual Motion. The remaining A. A. A. compositions were Cowell's Iridescent Rondo, Bennett's Four Nocturnes, Riegger's Cooper Square, Thomson's Lamentations, and Surinach's Pavanne and Rondo. (17) Francis D. Perkins, "Conductor-Composer Unit In Season's Final Concert," New York Herald Tribune, April 18, 1961, p. 19, cols. 1-2; Eric Salzman, "Brass Music Played by Composers Group," New York Times, April 18, 1961, p. 42, cols. 3-4. Both this and the above cited Chicago concert were also acknowledged in Pan Pipes of Sigma Alpha Iota 54, n. 2 (January 1962): 72. Regrettably, such major Afro-American newspapers and serials as the Chicago Defender, New York Amsterdam News, Jet, Ebony, and Black Digest, made no mention of any of the Still accordion performances. (18) John Gruen, in "Week-End Events," New York Herald Tribune, May 7, 1962, p. 12, cols. 6-7; H. K., "Carrozza Presents Accordion Recital," New York Times, May 7, 1962, p. 39, col. 4. Unfortunately, neither review makes any mention of Aria, due partly to space given to the world premiere of Luening's Rondo in the same recital. The full program is given, however, in "Carmen Carrozza," Accordion and Guitar World 30, n. 3 (December 1965/January 1966): 8. (19) [Elsie Bennett], "American Music Festival Features Accordion Works," A. A. A. press release TS, March 5, 1964; in Bennett files. (20) Announced in "Music Notes," New York Times, February 22, 1965, p. 14, col. 2, and recalled in "Composers Commissioning," by Elsie Bennett, Accordion Horizons 2, n. 4 (Summer 1966): 13. (21) For example, a September 14, 1968 letter from Bennett to Still indicates that both Aria and Lilt will be used as test pieces in different age groups for the Fall 1968 A. A. A. Eastern Cup Competition. Another letter, dated June 26, 1968, reports that Lilt was used as a required test piece in the sixteen-year-old division of the Fall 1967 A. A. A. Eastern Cup Competitons, and that the New York State Regional Competition also used it on May 5, 1968. Finally, Bennett states to Still in a letter of November 25, 1971, that "Aria is used at practically every contest that our [state] organizations have and I am thrilled when I see it has been picked. Also Lilt has been used." She goes on to write that Lilt was used in the November 1969 Eastern Cup Competition. The workshops are reported in "A. A. A. Seminar--Workshops Successful," by Elsie Bennett, Accordion Horizons: 1965 Convention Issue 1, n. 4: 12, and "Robert Dumm to Analyze Sept. 27 Seminar," Accordion and Guitar World 29, n. 4 (August/September 1969): 4. (22) Review of Miami concert: Doris Reno, "Artist Turns Accordion Into a Concert Triumph," Miami Herald, May 5, 1962, p. 4-B, cols. 1-3 (the writer is indebted to Lynn Downing, at the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, for this information). Ellegard doubtlessly played this work in many other programs in the United States and elsewhere, as did certainly numerous other artists not recorded here. News of the European and Israeli tour is relayed by Bennett to Still in a letter of February 21, 1965. Bennett had, in turn, heard about the tour in a letter received from Ellegard (Bennett files). (23) Dates and locations of the McMahan performances: Garret Room of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library, Johns Hopkins University, April 25, 1975; Leakin Hall, Peabody Institute, May 11, 1975; Collegium Musicum program, St. John's College (Santa Fe, New Mexico), July 20, 1975; Murphy Auditorium, Morgan State University (Baltimore), November 3, 1977; Bray Recital Hall, Trenton State College (New Jersey), February 6, 1993; and "Melodies, Lyrics, and Notes," Dominique-Rene de Lerma, host, WEAA-FM broadcast (Morgan State University radio station), November 1977. None of these performances received reviews although some concerts were mentioned in Accordion Arts Bulletin ("Performances" [Summer/Fall 1975]: 6), Accordion Arts Magazine ("Performances," vol. 1, n. 2 [Winter 1978]: 12), and a feature article on the writer in the Baltimore Evening Sun (Carl Schoettler, "Low Instrument Esteem Irks Accordion Virtuoso," April 17, 1975, p. B-1, cols. 1-6; port.). De Lerma sent a cassette recording of the radio program to the Stills (with a letter, dated October 25, 1977; copy in possession of the writer) which would have joined earlier tapes they had received from Bennett of Ellegard and another unnamed artist (probably Carrozza) playing Aria (as mentioned in an August 21, 1962, letter from Still to Bennett; Bennett files). (24) Letter of invitation from Bennett to Still, June 11, 1962 (Bennett files); also mentioned in "William Grant Still and the Accordion," by Elsie Bennett, The Black Perspective in Music 3, n. 2 (May 1975): 193-95. (25) Bennett, "William Grant Still and the Accordion," 95. (26) [William Grant Still]: TS (n. d.); Bennett files. (27) Letter from Still to Bennett, June 23, 1968 (Bennett files). In her letter to Still (June 20, 1968; Bennett files) preceding this reply Bennett asked for his descriptions of both Lilt, which he had recently completed, and Aria for her upcoming article announcing the completion and publication of the former (see n. 28). (28) Letter from Bennett to Still, May 27, 1959 (Bennett files). (29) Joyce Lippy, Walden E. Muns, "William Grant Still," Music Journal 21, n.8 (November 1963): 34, 70. (30) In Bennett files. (31) This is Still's description, which accompanied his description of Aria in the earlier mentioned letter to Bennett (June 23, 1968; see n. 24). It appears in Bennett's unsigned article "William Grant Still Writes Second Work for Accordion," Accordion Horizons 4, n. 4 (Fall 1968): 11. (32) "William Grant Still--Catalogue of His Works," in William Grant Still and the Fusion of Cultures in American Music, Robert Bartlett Haas, ed. (Los Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, 1972), 144-45, 153-55, 158-62, 164-65. Partially supporting this statement, Still's wife, Verna Arvey, wrote in her book about "Billy" and herself that the Serenade for Orchestra and "two subsequent commissions by the American Accordionists' Association were the only [works] completed during this period" (Verna Arvey, In One Lifetime [Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Press, 1984], 174). Ms. Arvey's account, which gives no exact parameter of years, is considerably inaccurate, however, though Haas indicates that the Serenade was completed in 1957 and merely premiered in May, 1958 (p. 153), and Aria was completed by early 1960. Lilt, as has been shown above, was not commissioned and composed for another six years. (33) Ronald Roxbury, Four Preludes for Accordion (1968). The original MS of this work is in the possession of accordionist William Schimmel; but the writer sent a photocopy of the photocopy of the MS which the composer had given him for the premiere to the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where it is included in the Ronald Roxbury Papers, housed in the Peabody Music Library Archives. The Preludes were among the works on Roxbury's Bachelor of Music degree composition recital, which took place in the Peabody Concert Hall, on Tuesday, March 26, 1968 (program copies in the Peabody Archives and in possession of the writer). They were originally written for Roxbury's and the writer's classmate, the late Raymond Bitzel, an oboe and music education major at Peabody as well as an active accordionist who had studied with Baltimore accordionist and "second generation" accordion pioneer Frederick Tedesco. Bitzel was unable to perform the Preludes at the time; so Roxbury asked the writer to do them instead. (34) These works were announced in Accordion Art: International Bulletin of the Accordion Arts Society 1, Issue 2 (second half, 1975): 12. Schimmel recently informed the writer that the works were never completed (or even possibly begun; no known sketches survive). He had once been a member of Eric Salzman's avant-garde group QUOG, and Roxbury joined this venture through his acquaintance with the accordionist. Schimmel was also instrumental in introducing Roxbury into the Philip Glass Ensemble. He is listed among the singers in the CBS recording of Einstein on the Beach, and is partially visible in the one of the photographs in the accompanying thirty-three-page booklet and libretto (Philip Glass, Robert Wilson, Einstein on the Beach, Philip Glass Ensemble, CBS M4K38875 [1984]). Telephone interview with William Schimmel, April 1995. (35) Bennett files
About the Author Born in Washington, D. C., in 1944, Robert McMahan earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Robert Hall Lewis, Jean Eichelberger Ivey, and Stefan Grove'. He also holds a master's degree in the Great Books program at St. John's College. His accordion studies were with Louis F. Coppola (three-time AAA national winner), and he won many first place awards in the Senior and Virtuoso divisions of the AAA competitions during the 1960s and early 1970s. Throughout his entire career Dr. McMahan has unswervingly promoted the accordion's great potential as a serious instrument (particularly in mixed ensembles) through performance on many fronts, his compositions, and unofficial commissioning of other composers (including his former mentor, Robert Hall Lewis, who included it in two of his symphonic works). From 1964 to 1991 he lived in the Baltimore area and served on many theory and composition faculties there, including Towson State University, Morgan State University, College of Notre Dame, University of Maryland Baltimore County (where he taught accordion and graduated Baltimore's first accordion major), Essex Community College, and the Peabody Preparatory School (of the Peabody Institute), where, in addition to being head of theory, he also established an accordion major. Now a New Jersey resident, he is assistant professor and head of theory, composition, ear training, and electronic music studies at The College of New Jersey (formerly Trenton State College). Honors in composition include awards from the Annapolis Fine Arts Composers' Competition, the Contemporary Recording Society, and Peabody Institute. Dr. McMahan is also a recognized authority on the American composer Carl Ruggles, and has published articles in American Music, Sonneck Society Bulletin, and the New Grove Dictionary of Opera. He is presently working on a book on the life and works of Ruggles, commissioned by Scarecrow Press. Prior to these literary ventures, he was commissioned by the Library of Congress in the 1980s to write and record two accordion courses for the blind. Besides his writings, he has been featured in articles by others in Keyboard Magazine, High Fidelity, The Baltimore Sun, Accordion Arts Magazine, Contemporary American Composers, and Who's Who in American Composers: Classical. Dr. McMahan has given many full or partial recitals of new music for or including accordion in the mid-Atlantic area and was for many years the regular accordionist for the Baltimore Symphony and other respected local ensembles. He has also performed in many shows at Center Stage (Baltimore), the Kennedy Center, and Arena Stage (Washington), and has worked with such popular artists as Sting, Maureen McGovern, Georgia Brown, Bobby Rydel, and Theodore Bikel. He has also performed under the batons of Gunther Schuller, Sarah Caldwell, Julius Rudel, Frederik Prausnitz, Murry Sidlin, Sergiu Comissiona, Rob Fisher, Peter Schickele, and Les Elgart. In the 1970s he recorded Ernst Krenek's Toccata on the Orion label (at the composer's request). As a composer, Dr. McMahan is more interested in combining the accordion with other instruments than in producing solo literature. To date, he has written several large chamber works and a symphony including the accordion and, more recently, Sonata da Chiesa, for oboe and accordion, which he and renowned oboist James Ostryniec recorded on the CRS label. In 1994 he was commissioned by the American Accordionists' Association to compose two works, soon to be published, Incantations, for 'cello and accordion, and Apparitions, for flute and accordion. Dr. McMahan lives in Titusville, New Jersey, with his wife Anne, a middle school music teacher, and their two children, Anna Beth, a student at Bryn Mawr College, and younger son, Benjamin.
Schimmel D.M.A.. William: WhatConstitutes a Classical Accordionist in America
Mar., 1, 2007
What Constitutes a Classical Accordionist in AmericaWilliam Schimmel D.M.A. © 1994 by William Schimmel

Walk into any GAP [a trendy clothing store] and you will see classic jeans, classic T-shirts, classic Kakais -- classics! It's a funny word today. It's overused -- all the more reason to constantly check it and re-define it. I consider myself to be a classical accordionist simply because the more I study about the past the more I continue to learn. The more I learn, the more I have to teach to my students. I also enjoy my American identity. Not nationalistic by any shape, but truly catholic and diverse in its tastes. We're noted worldwide for our "pop" culture and this includes the accordion. I enjoy recalling the delight on Sofia Gubaidulina's face as I played my piano accordion with quint converter version of her De Profundis. I did it in gothic horror movie style. She loved it. She also took delight in the fact that it was the very accordion that backed up Tom Waits and other rock stars. Alexander Schurbin begged me to do his Sonata No. 2 as "performance art!" I only had a few days to learn it so I asked him could I work the page turns into the performance? He said "Please! Please!" At the performance he sat behind me on sta ge -- part cheerleader, part nemesis -- performance art! I consider myself a missionary as well as a mercenary. A missionary due to the fact that I have something wonderful to share. A mercenary because I get paid to do it. At present, I have no university affiliations except as a guest. I'm entirely freelance even my school The Institute for Private Studies operates entirely on its own -- no grants, no funding, etc. As a missionary/mercenary, I'm sometimes paid to win someone else's war which I do because that's what I'm paid for. I sometimes have to put my own ideas on hold in order to do this well. I think this is part of the North American psyche -- a part of it. In many cases I work for someone who's recent new work is an extension of something I single-handedly started many years ago. I watch them gather much more aplomb than I could have ever dreamed up for myself. The payoff for me is that I usually end up with a fresh new angle that I take with me as I go back to my own work. This is a way of improving my art. A number of European artists have come to me for training and coaching. They come to get "loosened up." I also learn from their training and I use it to "tighten up" my students who need that extra polish. This is a way of learning from everything. What's classical about all of this? It takes a lot of training to be a second or third banana. I think it's easier to be a first banana. It's a strange paradox. I've accepted a kind of limitation and in this limitation new frontiers open up to me all the time. And I have to be well-trained and ready to meet these challenges. I like to think that my accordion work is about the accordion than around the accordion. It's not much about me anymore. My own compositions (realities) explore other works. My recent accordio-shinto work explores our American accordion ancestors such as Deiro, Frosini, Ettore, Contino, Palmer, Pino and yes, Lawrence Welk. I've explored the tango as classical music. With the Tango Project, we ushered in a whole new era of neglected art such as tango, palm court, semi-classics and danceable modernism and post-modernism. Leadership can sometimes take the form of a "back-seat driver" that functions much like Jiminy Cricket did for Pinnochio -- a conscience. In my messy/vital/American/democratic/diverse way, I work for the accordion and its continuing evolution. I stumble, I fall, I succeed, but I continue to learn.About the AuthorDr. William Schimmel earned his doctorate of Music from Julliard. A composer, author, lecturer, philosopher and virtuoso accordionist, he performs in a wide variety of styles from classical to pop and has appeared with many major symphony orchestr as and recorded with such noted performers as Sting and Tom Waits, who said, "Bill Schimmel doesn't play the accordion, he is an accordion." An authority on Kurt Weill, Dr. Schimmel has recorded all of Weill's music with accordion. He is a prolific composer from the concert stage to Broadway theater and is founder of the renowned Tango Project. In 1992 he was named "Best Accordionist" by Keyboard Magazine and recognized as the figure who has done the most to elevate the accordion's otherwise tawdry image.

Sredzienski, Gary: From Romania With Love
Mar., 1, 2007
From Romania With Love
by Gary Sredzienski Editor's Introduction: Piano accordionist Gary Sredzienski began his professional career at age 9. At age 10, he traveled throughout New England performing with a vaudeville act called The Hog Hollow Hooters. He has performed with Ballet New England, the Polish Cultural Arts Foundation in San Antonio, and at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Most of the music Sredzienski plays was written during hard times in his ancestral country, Poland. Sredzienski revives the spirit of the Old Country by playing traditional music, and has transposed Slavic, Yiddish, Balkan, Celtic, and Scandinavian folk music on the piano accordion. Sredzienski is a New Hampshire artist-in-residence, and regularly presents educational programs in New Hampshire schools. He is also the host of a Saturday morning 1950s style radio show called "Polka Party" in Durham, New Hampshire. He was nominated by Congressman John E. Sununu to represent New Hampshire in a free performance on the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage on May 10, 2000. Sredzienski recently completed a tour of Romania with Bill Zecker, an outstanding musician in the contra dance tradition who plays the bass, guitar, piano, fiddle, and mandolin. The trip was funded by the New Hampshire state governor, the state department, and the Smithsonian Institute. The following is an informal description of his tour. How and where could I possibly begin to tell you about our adventure. Bill and I will never forget our first images of Bucharest flying into the airport. Tall grass growing up in the pavement, airplanes blown out and disassembled along the runway.......workers in green uniforms digging ditches then all stopping to watch us taxi along the runway. Cars intermingled with horse-drawn carriages. A poor man on crutches...tattered rags wrapped around his missing legs begging for money in the middle of a busy intersection. The Embassy dropped us off at the hotel with a man with a sub-machine gun standing in front. We were travelling for 22 hours and were told to get some rest......begin the road trip tomorrow morning. Leaving the lowlands of Southern Romania driving north to Transylania....and the Carpathian Mountains. The countryside is immensely beautiful......as a former forester I was so amazed that they have all the same trees and plant life as New Hampshire. People are poor in the country......there seem to be 2 classes in Romania....upper and lower.....no in-between. you drive for miles through winding roads at very high speeds....passing stray dogs, cattle, horses, goats, donkeys and slow moving vehicles. By the way, we were very, very fortunate to have 2 people accompany us. Nic was our driver/body guard......a former captain in the Romanian Army. He is so warm and loveable......and plays accordion!!! Our translator was a brilliant woman by the name of Ruxandra. She loves music, artists and really educated us about history, culture and Romanian life. Before our first gig in the 13th century city of Brasov.......we dined in a traditional Transylvanian mountain house.......wild boar, cow brains, boar sausage, bear, chicken, oven brick baked bread, beer and a very strong drink made of plum wine and laurel leaf......called 'polinka' Not sure of the spelling, but it is THE Romanian drink.....their pride and joy. The gig in Brasov was a July 4th celebration. There were supposed to be over 500 people......only about 100 showed up. It's funny what some think of America!! men in cowboy hats yelling "HEEEEHAAAW". Bill and I did a set after the speeches then came on a traditional Romanian and German dance group. There is a strong German and Hungarian population in these cities........even though they came to these towns in the 1700's, they still retain what is German. Interviewed by Brasov Television and then had to hurry for a 3 hour drive to the next gig. We arrived in a poorer city called Sibiu. Brasov is beautiful with orthodox and medieval structures, while Sibiu had a more 'communist' era feel about it. In front of the hotel waited this real sweet guy with a small US flag in his hand. He was the festival organizer. I asked "where are all these people walking to????" "To see you Americans play!" We immediately proceeded to the park. They had only one microphone in the gazebo.......a microphone probably from our 1970's......the kind that you use in a cassette player!!!!! So Bill and I decided to sit in a blown-out circular water fountain that was probably working during the iron-curtain days. People gather around us....... hundreds. they absolutely loved it.....it really didn't matter what we played......we played everything. Little children with thick accents yelling...."we lov yoo....wee lov yooo." Can you believe it.....we were signing autographs. Met a photographer there from San Francisco.....was travelling through. He followed us back to Bucharest. made many friends in Sibiu.......couples my own age who will now be keeping in touch with me via email. Ate in a wine cellar that evening.......perch. The next day wandered in the streets of Sibiu.....We took pictures because a section of this town looks identical to market street in Portsmouth, NH........they should be sister cities!!! It was sad to see everywhere stray homeless dogs......no one could afford to spay or neuter the animals.....$50 can feed a family for a month! Off to Targoviste We arrived at a factory in Targoviste. A party in the outdoor square of the factory. Speeches.......I must admit that both the U.S. and Romanians were flinging the bull and the people knew it!! They had us play immediately after the speeches...the Romanian speaker said " We have waited 50 years for the Americans to come.....now they are here!!" our translator said...."What a bunch of b.s." Bill and I played......The people were somewhat offended by the speeches that when we played....no one gave us the time of day!!! So we persisted.......I finally saw one man's legging tapping way out of beat to our music, so I decided to sit next to him and play for him, eye to eye, not stand above him. WELL......they absolutely lit up.......and then all went nuts. Then everyone wanted us to sit at their table to play. The gig went from 0 to 200% Some people were put out that we didn't make it to their table.......we were supposed to only play for a half hour.......ended up playing for over 2 hours. They were pulling me out of my chair to dance to 'Ricky Martin'.......I just couldn't so I pulled her on my lap and bounced her up and down......her husband immediately bolted over.....became good friends with them both - top marketing people in Romania. A highlight was back in Bucharest on July 4th. Just as we have 'Good morning America'.......Bill and I were special guests on their national TV show called "Breakfast Romania". They played my rock band cd's......and get this.....we had to lip synch with the music. I never had to lip synch the accordion before!!!!!!!!!! We were sat down and interviewed with our translator. My poor, poor partner Bill. They asked him what stood out in his mind the most about Romania.......he went blank! I stared at the TV monitors.....he's blank...Bill.....Bill......he finally shouted....."THE DONKEY IN THE ROAD" the donkey in the road????? what do you mean???? In Romanian..........it translated to "stupid person or ruffian in the road" it was so embarrassing for him......that we believe people thought that it was funny. They are going to send us a copy of the TV show. Took a bath before the Embassy gig.....flipping through their TV channels........very, very impressive. They have stations dedicated to the preservation of their folk music......so diverse. Gypsy (more politically correctly known as 'Roma') musicians. Of course.....every one lip synching!!! but it was so beautiful. Even master classes for cello on TV. of course....MTV and CNN. But old American jazz videos.......stuff we never see here!!!! I love TV in Bucharest!! The embassy gig......met Ambassador James Rosapepe. Never have I played in front of 4000 people before. Top notch sound system there. Had to play "America the Beautiful" The marines love us.......played lots of old New England reels.....told me that it was the best bluegrass accordion he had ever heard!! As we played we were being televised on this giant sport stadium television screen. We have pictures. All the Romanian army guards wanted to shake our hands. A warm highlight at that gig was that we met many of the Romanian performers from last summer's Smithsonian festival. We all greeted each other with big warm hugs.....my Romanian accordionist counter-part brother.....the gypsy dulcimer player......dancers. Earlier we brought photos of Romanian artisans and managed to find some of them and gave them their pictures. Our translator and driver was very moved by this. Got back at the hotel at 9:30 PM .....drank our gift of elderberry wine and stayed up all night to pack cause we were picked up at 5 am. We are back and I barely scratched the surface!!!!! P.S......my dog's picture will be on a label for a new flavor beer brewed by Smuttynose Beer! That's every dog owner's dream!!
Alessandro Mugnoz, Accordion; and Claudia Menghi, piano:   Repertoire for Free-Reed Instruments from the 19th and 20th centuries (cd review)
Mar., 1, 2007
CD Review: Repertoire for Free-Reed Instruments from the 19th and 20th centuries
Alessandro Mugnoz, Accordion; and Claudia Menghi, piano
tracks: 12
total time: 59:49
released: 2006
Includes 24-page booklet with scholarly notes
  in Italian and English.
Imported from Italy.
review date: October 2006

Order from: The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. eBay Store. Repertoire for Free-Reed Instruments
from the 19th and 20th centuries   SelectionsBernhard Molique: Flying LeavesAngelo Panzini: BallataCesar Franck: Prelude, Fugue and Variation, op. 18Adamo Volpi: Two DivertimentiGianFelice Fugazza: Dialoghi senza tempoAstor Piazzolla: L'evasionRichard Galliano: Tango pour ClaudeItalo Salizzato: Danza eroticaPeppino Principe: Cecilia
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