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U.S. National Accordion News - 01-Dec-2021
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Titano Accordion Company


Editor’s Note
Accordion Christmas Gift Ideas for Friends and Family
Editor Rita Barnea Begins Her 14th Year as Accordion USA News Editor
Takács Quartet with Julien Labro, bandoneon on Dec. 3
Hector Del Curto Premieres His New Composition “Trace of Time”
Online ATG: Friedrich Lips Workshop
Gene Pritsker: Versatile and Prolific Composer/Musician
The American Accordionists’ Association (AAA) Commissioned Works Project Is Well on Its Way
Sam Reider’s Winter Update
ATG Syllabus Available for Purchase Now!

Voci Armoniche

Reports for Concerts, Masterclasses, Competitions, Festivals, etc.

The Accordion in the Media Spanning the Decades Part 1: The late 1920s to 1960
ATG Wednesday Workshops Presents Joseph Natoli on December 8
Mary Tokarski’s Holiday CD Brings Good Cheer
NAAC Holiday Member Video Series Invitation
World/American Premiere of Orchestration by Zisl Slepovitch
Updates on “Accordions Rising” by Roberta Cantow….Great Holiday Gift Idea
Rachel Bell and Karen Axelrod Perform Live Stream Tunes on Accordion and Piano
Suggestions for: Analyze Why You Experience Stage Fright When You Perform
Seattle Accordion Social on December 13
Litvakus at Rockwood Music Hall 2
Jingle Jamz on December 4 in Louisiana
Oktoberfest Entertainment in Dallas by James and Shirley O'Brien

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Future events

Stas Venglevski Conducts Houston Accordion Retreat January 13-16, 2022
Dr. William Schimmel’s 2022 Performances
ATAM 60th Annual New England Music Festival & Competition April 8-10, 2022
2022 National Accordion Convention Updates
Frank Toscano Performs for LIAA on January 5

Over 2,100 titles of eSheet music, sent to you by email, secure server bank online payment



Editor’s Note

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
2022 Musical Greetings
Rita Davidson BarneaWelcome to the last Accordion USA News publication of 2021. In 2022, you will see an expanded version of the news with even more articles, videos, stories, and information. There is so much happening in the accordion world! Live events are more frequent. Live stream and zoom workshops, concerts etc. are also available.

Although we are still limited by the pandemic, live concerts and events are returning as you will read about in the December publication. It is the holiday season but a much more challenging time for all. The income of professional musicians continues to be greatly impacted by the cancellation of numerous live concerts, festivals, and events.

Please consider this year, more than ever, helping to support our accordion colleagues by purchasing holiday gifts from their online websites. Not only will you be giving a unique musical gift, but, at the same time, you will be helping to support them during these difficult times. In this publication, you will read many articles and you will think of gift ideas. I thank you in advance for your consideration of the people who bring music, light, joy, and positivity to all of us.

It is amazing to me that with this publication, I have completed THIRTEEN wonderful, exciting and fulfilling years as National Editor! Over the years I have produced 168 publications and over 4000 articles! Time flies when you are having fun, as the saying goes. And as the years goes by, I enjoy my position even more. I feel it is both a great honor and huge responsibility to serve as National Editor of sharing with readers all types of information about the accordion.

I have been very fortunate to work with the AWW Editor and Founder, the amazing Harley Jones! Where in the world is he? Always traveling and participating in accordion events all over the globe but never too busy to assist and guide me with publication questions. I have learned so much from him and continue to learn from him. I also want to thank former National Editor Kevin Friedrich for his encouragement and continuing support.

Most importantly I want to thank you, the readers, for helping to become one of the most popular accordion sites (along with the other AWW publications) on this planet!

In 2021, this USA News publication had almost 1 million page views! So we can conclude there is a growing HUGE interest in the accordion!

I would like to encourage you all to continue participation in the accordion world! What is the accordion world? You know what it is. It is a network, a special bonding, an instant friendship, a musical bonding, a sharing of feelings and ideas about the wonderful world of the accordion. As your National Editor, I enjoy presenting the accordion at all levels of accomplishment from beginner to professional. All are worthy of recognition for the great effort involved in learning the instrument. Additionally, the added great benefit is the wonderful people you can meet that ordinarily you would never encounter. The accordion unites us all bonding us with our love of music and the accordion.

Please read the AWW publications especially the USA News. I welcome you all to continue sending me your ideas and comments. I like to present an eclectic, well rounded concept of what the accordion can do. By reading the USA news, you will learn of events, concerts, festivals, performers on the North American continent. With our featured videos, you can actually hear and see the performers. Did you know that ALL of the articles in every publication remain accessible in the permanent archives on these sites. Simply click on “Past News Index” at the top of the page.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season. The holidays are quickly approaching! So much shopping to do. But wait, the holidays are much more than frenzied buying sprees!

It is time to think about others who are less fortunate. You can be generous with whatever musical talents you possess. What about sharing your holiday songs by playing for a senior center, hospital, or family gathering. Even though we may be prevented from actually physically going to these places, you can still entertain, perhaps outside, or on Skype, FaceTime, or other social media sites.

As those of us who have played for people already know… everyone enjoys music and marvels at HOW DO YOU DO THAT? on the accordion? The buttons, the keys, the bellows…. adults and children are always fascinated with the accordion. Playing the accordion is both pleasing to the ear and captivating to the eye. It is never boring!

So, why not be brave and go out there and play whatever you know for someone who doesn't know the accordion! You can be socially distant and people will still hear you!

And…… since you are still going to go shopping anyway…….. please consider supporting the many accordion artists, composers, and writers…… who have created many wonderful musical gifts that you can consider giving as presents. They are inexpensive and you will be giving a gift that is entertaining, educational and, at the same time, supportive of our fellow musicians. Gift ideas include accordion related DVD’s, CD’s, tickets to an accordion event, a new accordion, etc.

Don't forget that while you are making time for shopping, put aside some time for practicing and sharing your music. Make sure you read the 2022 January USA news for a comprehensive list and description of upcoming festivals, concerts, and more! Live events are returning!

A very special thank you to my fiancé, Dr. Leslie Strong, who continues to always encourage my accordion activities and enjoys attending accordion events with me! I greatly appreciate his understanding, support and enthusiasm!

The Accordions Worldwide Family wishes all readers from around the world, happy, healthy, safe and joyful musical festivities this season.

Editor Rita Barnea

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Accordion Christmas Gift Ideas for Friends and Family

by Harley Jones logo
Merry ChristmasChristmas Gift ideas for friends and family at: 2021 Xmas Gift Ideas

These ideas have been compiled to hopefully attract your Xmas gift money to be spent with accordion artists, composers, arrangers and publishers.

Please support accordion artistry and choose from over 2,400 eSheet pieces, 310 CD/DVD’s, 2,000 eTracks, 1,000 plus printed works and numerous books (text) to choose from. 2021 Xmas Gift Ideas

The Ins and Outs of the Accordion by famous accordion repairer and tuner Thierry Benetoux

Editor Rita Barnea Begins Her 14th Year as Accordion USA News Editor

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Accordion USA News header
Rita Davidson, Eugene EttoreVideo above: Rita Barnea introduces her workshop: The Life and Music of Eugene Ettore" with her performance of his "Rhapsodie Espagnol."

With this December 2021 publication of the Accordion USA News, I am beginning my 14th year as Editor. I am enjoying every second of it! I would like to share my life in music with you all:

I had a teacher in elementary school who once told us that “You are the sum of your life's experiences.” That is certainly true for me! After you read about my life, you might conclude that my position as Editor of is a natural outgrowth of everything that occurred in my life. With the December publication, I will begin my 14th year as Editor and I am even more enthusiastic, excited, committed, and loving every moment of this endeavor.

My goal is to ensure that the Accordion USA News is eclectic, accurate, fun, exciting, educational, entertaining and relevant to all that happens in the accordion/musical world. I do not say “accordion world” because the accordion is part of the entire musical world and includes every type of music one might think of. And, as long as you are reading this, I want you to know that you are welcome to submit your ideas and comments to me at or text/call me at 201-675-4861. I am always available and look forward to hearing from you.

Of course, we all want to know how people are introduced to the accordion. My story goes like this: I showed interest and musical ability as a small child which my parents recognized when, at the age of 4, I filled glasses of water to create a musical scale and tapped out little songs with a spoon!! At the time, we lived in a small apartment. Perhaps they may have thought of piano for me but there was no room for one. Fortunately and thankfully, they took me to Major Music in Irvington, New Jersey where Eugene Ettore became my accordion teacher at the age of 9. (My first teacher there at age 8 was Anthony Listopad for one year).

I do not remember asking my parents for the accordion or any specific instrument, but their being European (my mother came to the USA from Germany and my father was a Holocaust survivor from Poland) led them, I am sure, to giving me the accordion for which I am eternally grateful to them!

My personality as a child (and even until today) was one of being very energetic, active, curious, sociable. My feeling is that the accordion was also “good” for me because it made it necessary for me to sit! Anyway, I loved it the minute I was given my little red accordion, and to this day, not a day goes by that I am not either playing the accordion, listening to the accordion, or writing about the accordion! The accordion is and always will be my favorite instrument!

I am truly blessed to have been given the opportunity to learn the accordion. I can say that most of the great friends I have made in my life, were due to being involved with the accordion. And I continue to meet and develop new friends all over the world because of the accordion.

Have you also had a similar experience in your life? Please let me know. I am interested.

My formative years as a musician/student years growing up in the accordion studio of Major Music in Irvington, New Jersey began where my parents took me for lessons/band practice at least twice a week. I loved every minute and measure of it! As a young child, we lived in Irvington, NJ. My mother would wheel younger sister in a stroller as we walked to Irvington Center’s Major Music Studio, about a 2 mile walk!

I remember sitting in the waiting room talking to other students who were waiting for their lessons. I loved looking at the accordion displays and the smell of the accordion polish…. my dream was to have a shiny new accordion one day as my parents rented one for me. My lesson room with Eugene Ettore was across the hall from Flora Foscato, remember her? She was a beautiful person, a dedicated accordion teacher. She taught one of my “oldest” accordion friends, Al Terzo who is the Conductor of the New Jersey based Accordion Pops Orchestra. (APO)

My mother would sit with me when I practiced, in the basement of course, who had air conditioning back in the day? I had to practice every day, even in the summer. All the children were outside in the morning playing on the street or backyards. I was in the basement until I finished my practicing. This went on until I internalized the idea of practicing daily and, of course, then did it on my own…….. as a matter of fact, later there were many days when my mother would call me, “Rita, stop practicing, don’t you think it is enough for now?” Well, no, it was not enough and I did practice consistently.

In addition to the weekly lesson, my father drove me once a week to band practice. It was the days of the accordion bands. I began in Freshman moving up to Junior, Junior Symphonette, Senior Band etc etc. until I arrived at the top level which was the Sano Symphony conducted by Eugene Ettore! We performed in many places. We had special white gowns which gave the accordion orchestra class and elegance. In order to be accepted into the Sano Symphony, I had to take a written theory test, audition, and own a Sano accordion! With Eugene Ettore’s expert advice, my parents bought me a Sano Concert Master, the same model that Carmen Carrozza played. I still have mine today and it is in excellent condition. Learning that I was accepted as a member was a truly important highlight in my life at the time (age 13).

I also played the violin since fourth grade, taking lessons in school and participating in the school orchestras in high school. While in high school, I realized that I wanted to be a music teacher, but I needed to play the piano! My parents quickly took me to Alex Chiapinnelli, a well known piano teacher in New Jersey. I have to confess that it was a very frustrating experience for me because I had almost 7 years experience on the right hand and zero experience on the left hand keyboard. I had to start in the beginner books and work my way to equalizing my two hands while at the same time, taking accordion lessons, competing, playing violin, doing homework etc. etc.

Fortunately, I was able to audition on accordion for the University of Connecticut music department and I was accepted as a piano major in music education with a minor in viola. Fast forward a few years and I was employed as an elementary music teacher Pre-K special needs to 5th grade in the West Orange, New Jersey Public Schools where I spent almost 40 very very happy years as a music teacher playing my accordion every day for my classes, to accompany their singing, chorus, sing a longs, international festivals, outdoor programs and more!

It is interesting to me that some people think it is a “new” idea to use the accordion in school music teaching. From day one as a teacher, I used my accordion to accompany the children in the music classes. The accordion is a perfect instrument, especially during the years when I did not have a music room. I carried my accordion and bag of music, etc. to the classrooms. We would move the desks around if space was needed for movement activities. Also…. the children…. ALL wanted to carry my accordion for me so I would choose two or three “Lucky” ones to carry it to the next class!! I was really the lucky one to not carry my accordion around for 8 classes a day on multiple floors of the school.

Additionally, on beautiful warm days, I would take my classes and accordion outside to sit under a tree to teach my lessons. We went to the indoor Mall several times a year for Holidays, etc. where the choir would perform. Sometimes a piano was there and sometimes not, but my accordion was always ready to accompany the singers and, perhaps, stroll around in the audience! Every principal and supervisor I ever had realized the benefits of an accordion playing music teacher!

The children loved to carry my red accordion (decorated by them with stickers ranging from Mickey Mouse, to Star Wars and more!) from class to class! In fact, since they ALL wanted to carry my accordion to the next class, it was a motivational factor for them to behave and participate well in class and then, maybe they would be chosen to carry my accordion! It was really fun to play my accordion for them. I could stroll around the class and, while playing, lean over to my students to hear them sing, all done, of course, in a fun, lively, and positive way! Lots more “accordion in the classroom” stories to come. All I can say is that it was and is of great benefit in so many ways for a music teacher to play the accordion.

I also organized a children's birthday party business. I would go to parties indoors, outdoors, wherever the parents wanted the children to be. I brought my accordion (little red one with stickers!), a bag of musical instruments, hats, balloons, etc. The activities centered around the accordion and being actively engaged in singing, playing instruments, dancing, etc. In recent years, I even gave workshops on how to run a party business. I am willing to share my "secrets"!

Here are a few more stories about my accordion:

“A Nickel A Page”
This is a true story. When I was about 13, we moved to a larger home in Springfield, NJ. where I had my own room, a great place to practice. By that time, I was playing longer and more complicated pieces. As you may identify with, it is so frustrating to play and then have to stop to turn the page! What did I do? I asked (i.e.. bribed ) my younger sister, Lori, who was about 8 or 9, to turn the pages for me. She was not very enthusiastic about doing this. I said to her, “It is quite simple. Sit quietly. When I nod my head, then you turn the page. And I will pay you a nickel a page!” She thought that idea was great! Sounds simple? It was not. As Lori would tell it, “Rita was so intensely involved in the composition that she was nodding her head frequently while playing and it was not when I was supposed to turn the page!” Somehow we resolved the situation and she would turn pages for me for about an hour each time. Perhaps this experience had an influence on her. Today she also is a professional musician. Now. technology has replaced the “nickel a page” challenge.

“Playing for Friends and Family”
Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving with friends and family….. which reminds me of the many times my parents would say when family was over visiting……”Rita, please take out your accordion and play for us!” I remember doing that and feeling very good about it. How many of you have had similar experiences performing for family and friends as a young accordionist. Well, this continues even today. When we have family gatherings for holidays, I will sometimes bring along my accordion and a bag of rhythm instruments. Everyone wants to get into the act! The accordion makes every holiday more festive!

Most fortunate are people who have a mentor in their life, someone who takes a special interest encouraging and guiding them. I was fortunate to have my music teacher, Eugene Ettore, as my mentor since early childhood. Here is the information in honor of his 100th Birthday: June 2, 2021:

“Remembering and Honoring Eugene Ettore on His 100th Birthday”

Today, June 2, 2021, would have been Eugene Ettore’s 100th Birthday. In honor of his birthday, I am posting the link to the website I created to educate all about a unique, versatile and talented individual who made great contributions to the accordion world and musical world in general. I encourage you to visit this page to learn about him:

During this year, I will include articles on his music, musicians who perform his music, and scheduled programs featuring his compositions. If you would like to share memories or information about Eugene Ettore please send it to me at

I was extremely fortunate to be his student. He prepared me for my long career as a music teacher in the public schools. Eugene Ettore inspired all of his students with an approach which included discipline, encouragement, and kindness. Those of you who had a music teacher as a guiding light in their lives will understand the importance of having a teacher/mentor. The lifelong benefits and influence branch out into so many other areas of life.

Eugene Ettore was well known as a gifted composer for the accordion. He performed as both soloist and in the duet team, “Concert Duo” with Carmen Carrozza, his great friend. As a Renaissance man, Eugene Ettore also played the French Horn, and wrote method books for the accordion and French Horn. He was an artist, inventor and Braille transcriber etc. He was President of the AAA (American Accordionists’ Association) three times!

I presented a lecture/concert workshop, “The Life and Music of Eugene Ettore” at the 2018 AAA Festival in Alexandria, Virginia. In honor of Eugene Ettore’s birthday, I am offering a free download of the recording of his original compositions:

If you would like to see recent performances of some of his works, please visit:
1. Rita Barnea Workshop "PRELUDE & SCHERZO”:

2. Eugene Ettore: “Spanish Holiday”, for Accordion:

3. Rita Barnea Workshop "Accordion Miniatures”:

4. Rita Barnea Workshop "Five O'Clock Rush”:

If you wish to learn his music, please email me and I will send the music to you as a free download.

I would like to express my gratitude and thanks to AWW Founder and Director Harley Jones for his years of kind support, encouragement, and technical instruction in how to be a successful editor. I continue to enjoy our camaraderie and friendship! I also want to express my great appreciation to Kevin Friedrich, the first Editor of the USA news who taught me the technical procedures involved in being editor. His patience and great sense of humor made me feel comfortable and confident.

I hope that you enjoyed learning about me and Eugene Ettore. He deserves to be remembered and recognized for his important contributions . I welcome any comments to be sent to me, Rita Barnea:

Lower picture: Rita Barnea performing at the 2018 AAA 80th Anniversary Festival.
Rita Davidson Barnea

Titano Accordion Company

Takács Quartet with Julien Labro, bandoneon on Dec. 3

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Julien Labro

Video 1: Michael Kondziolka, UMS’s VP of Programming and Production, introduces Takács Quartet members Harumi Rhodes and Ed Dusinberre in a discussion about the process of learning new works with bandoneón virtuoso Julien Labro. Julien then joins Ed and Harumi to reflect on the new sonic world they discovered upon their first rehearsals coming out of the pandemic.

Video 2: Mark Jacobson, UMS’s senior programming manager, joins Julien Labro for an extended discussion of the works performed, and a demonstration of the bandoneón and the members of the accordion family.

The performance of the Takacs Quartet with Julien Labro takes place on Friday, Dec.3, 2021 8:PM
Rackham Auditorium
915 East Washington Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Please note: Masks and COVID-19 Vaccination (or negative COVID PCR test within 72 hours) required for attendance.

With 25 UMS performances since its 1984 debut, the Takács Quartet returns for a special collaboration with the extraordinary French-born accordion and bandoneón virtuoso Julien Labro.

Together, they will perform the world premieres of new pieces by Clarice Assad and Bryce Dessner, both co-commissioned by UMS through the Music Accord consortium of 11 presenters nationwide, as well as a new piece by Julien Labro. The Quartet will also perform Ravel’s "String Quartet", while Labro’s incredible musicianship will be on display during a solo set.

The program includes:
Bryce Dessner Circles" 
Julien Labro "Meditation No. 1
Dino Saluzzi "Minguito"
J. S. Bach (arr. Labro) "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 645"
Julien Labro "Astoración"
Maurice Ravel "String Quartet in F Major"
Clarice Assad "Clash" *
* UMS co-commission / World-premiere performance

New! UMS Connect:
UMS Connect, a new digital series, invites audiences to dig deeper into the program through casual conversations with the artists and creators.

Explore the Takács Quartet's upcoming program with bandeón virtuoso Julien Labro, which includes two world premieres and UMS co-commissioned works by composers Clarice Assad and Bryce Dessner. Part I of this episode features Takács Quartet members Harumi Rhodes and Ed Dusinberre in a discussion about the process of learning new works with bandoneón virtuoso Julien Labro.

Thank you to the supporters of this performance:
Permanently Endowed Support
Ilene H. Forsyth Chamber Arts Endowment Fund
Carl Cohen, whose bequest will establish an endowment to support a Chamber Arts performance in perpetuity.
Patron Sponsors
Joel Howell and Linda Samuelson

Call the ticket office at 734-764-2538

Voci Armoniche

Hector Del Curto Premieres His New Composition “Trace of Time”

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Hector Del Curto
Video: Premiere of "Trace of Time" by Hector Del Curto with the Apollo Chamber Players streamed live on November 20, 2021.

The Apollo Chamber Players share, “Welcome to Piazzolla Centennial! What makes a truly great teacher, one that inspires students so fully that it changes the course of their lives? Tonight we explore this compelling question as we celebrate a hundred years of Argentinian tango master Astor Piazzolla, the eightieth birthday of renowned composer Adolphus Hailstork, and the arresting genius (and fiftieth birthday) of bandoneonist and composer Hector Del Curto.”

Program Notes by Hector Del Curto: “Trace of Time” is a single movement piece which cycles through some of the most culturally relevant rhythms from the Rio de La Plata: the tango, the milonga and the waltz. It also follows traces le by the composers and musicians I greatly admire, such as Osvaldo Pugliese, Astor Piazzolla, and the former pianist of the latter, Pablo Ziegler with whom I have been sharing the road of music for the past 30 years.

“Trace of Time” was commissioned by Apollo Chamber Players in 2021 during the pandemic which for many people including myself, seemed to have stopped time on March 12, 2020. This piece perhaps will serve me as a trace to find myself in the future when recollecting this challenging time for human history.

Praised by the New York Times as a “splendid player,” Grammy-winning musician, composer, recording artist and educator Héctor Del Curto is one of the world’s most sought after bandoneonists. He has performed with many renowned artists across musical genres, and appeared with the world’s leading orchestras, including the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Mr. Del Curto’s recent engagements include a recorded performance of Piazzolla’s bandoneon concerto “Aconcagua” with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Thomas Wilkins, a performance of Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, and a performance with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, which included Del Curto’s composition, Paris to Cannes.

His 2021-2022 season highlights include performances with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra and a world premiere performance of his newly commissioned work for Apollo Chamber Players.

Buenos Aires-born Del Curto is a fourth-generation bandoneonist who won the title “Best Bandoneon Player Under 25” in Argentina at age 17, and was subsequently invited to join the orchestra of the legendary Osvaldo Pugliese, the “Last Giant of Tango”. In 1998, Mr. Del Curto became music director of “Forever Tango”, a Broadway hit that continues to tour the world. Soon after, he founded the Eternal Tango Orchestra, a ten–piece ensemble that debuted at New York’s Lincoln Center, as well as the Hector Del Curto Tango Quintet. Both are featured on his self- produced albums, “Eternal Piazzolla” and “Eternal Tango”, which were produced by BBC News and Public Radio International.

Mr. Del Curto has appeared on recordings with such artists as Osvaldo Pugliese, Astor Piazzolla, Paquito D’Rivera, Tito Puente, and Plácido Domingo. As part of the Pablo Ziegler Trio, he received a 2018 Grammy award for Jazz Tango. Dedicated to the education, outreach, and the preservation of tango, Mr. Del Curto co-founded the Stowe Tango Music Festival in 2014, and continues to serve as its artistic director. The premier tango music festival in the United States, it draws the most talented tango musicians and dancers, as well as fans, from all over the globe. He also produced the festival’s awarding-winning album: “Live at the 2016 Stowe Tango Music Festival”.

For further information:

Accordion Jazz Chords

Online ATG: Friedrich Lips Workshop

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
ATG Logo
Friedrich LipsThe Accordionists & Teachers Guild, International (ATG) will present a special one-time online workshop by Professor Friedrich Lips (Moscow, Russia) on December 12, 2021 at 2:PM Central Time, US. Professor Lips will discuss the role of the accordion in today’s general music culture. Globally, how does it interact with other instruments and groups?

Excerpts from his website: Friedrich Lips was born on November 18, 1948, in the city of Yemanzhelinsk near Chelyabinsk to Russian parents of German descent. In 1967, he completed his education at the Glinka Music School in Magnitogorsk, majoring in bayan and conducting under the tutelage of E. Kudinov. Subsequently, he studied at the National Gnesin Institute for Music Education, where he became master student under Sergey Kolobkov, passed his examinations in bayan and conducting in 1972, and became assistant professor in 1974.

Even before completing his studies, Lips started teaching at the Gnessin Institute in 1971. In 1980, he was named assistant professor and in 1989 full professor. ‘Since 1996, he has been director of the Folks Instrument Department – to which the bayan-accordion belongs – a well-known institution that since has been renamed the Russian Music Academy. As guest professor, he teaches at numerous institutions and academies at home and abroad (for example, in Irún, Spain, and Groningen, Netherlands). His international seminars, master classes, and educational courses are highly esteemed. In addition, lie serves as juror at the most important international music competitions. ln 1989, he founded the international music festival Bayan and Bayanists in Moscow, serving as its artistic director to the present time, and initiated the famous Moscow Music Prize for Bayan-Accordion Soloists.

During his activities as educator, he has been instrumental in helping countless people in the former Soviet Union, Russia, and various other countries become first-class musicians, many of whom have been winners in all age groupings of national and international competitions, famous concert musicians, and educators. Among them are: Iñaki Alberdi, Aleksey Antonov, Aleksey Artemev, Boban Belic, Christine Bonnay, Max Bonnay, Judith Borto, Mikhail Burlakov, Vladimir Dolgopolov, Valery Dubovik, Aydar Gaynullin, Aleksandr Gataullin, Peter Gerter, Yevgeny Grekhow, Irina Yarosh, Yuri Kalashnikov, Vladimir Korol, Aleksandr Kovtun, Ilya Kurtyev Jean-Luc Manca, Dusan Michailovic, Vitaly Muntyan, Sergey Nayko, Yuri Prokhorov, Dmitry Sakharov, Pavel Zaytsev, Aleksandr Shmykov, Enver Seyt-Abdulov, Tatyana Semichastnova, Aleksandr Sevastiyan, Aleksandr Chernikov, Vladimir Chugunov, Aleksandr Ushakov, Sinisa VoIjavec, Sergey Voytenko, and Sasha Zvetic.

As a concert artist, Friedrich Lips won first prize in 1969 for his brilliant performances at the world famous Internationale Competition in Klingenthal (GDR). In 1970, the state concert agent Goskontsert started him on his highly successful career as concert and chamber musician, which is unequalled in the bayan – accordion scene. In the following 30 years of continuous concert activity, he has performed hundreds of concerts all over the world (including such countries as Austria, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States) in the leading concert halls (such as the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Santori Hall in Tokyo, Lincoln Center in New York, and J. F. Kennedy Center in Washington) working with the most outstanding soloists (among others Vladimir Igolinski, Gidon Kremer, Yo-Yo Ma, Mark Pekarsky, and Vladimir Tonkha) and the most important composers (for example, Sergey Berinsky, Mikhail Bronner, Yevgeny Derbenko, Edison Denisov, Sofia Gubaydulina, Alexandr Kholminov, Vladimir Podgorny, Efrem Podgaits, Alfred Schnittke, Kirill Volkov, and Vladislav Zolotaryov).

For his exceptional accomplishments, Lips received the national distinction “Worthy Artist”. In 1993 he was awarded the “Silver Disc” of the festival “Bayan and Bayanists”. In 1994 Russian President B.N. Yeltsin presented the distinction of a “People’s Artist of Russia” to Friedrich Lips in the Kremlin, and in 2001, due to a decree by Russian President V.V. Putin “the order of friendship” was given to him. In 2001 Lips was named "Musician of the Year" by the newspaper "Musical Review“.

Over the years, Friedrich Lips’ renown has extended beyond the bayan-accordion music scene. As interpreter, he has appeared with increasing frequency – especially during the last decade – as guest at the world’s most important music festivals, such as in Amsterdam, Boston, Huddersfield, Lockenhaus, Moscow, Portogruaro, Schleswig-Holstein, and Turin. His influence extends as well to other instruments played in chamber music and symphony orchestra performances. Working with various chamber music ensembles and performed with famous orchestras, he has played under the batons of such conductors as Oleg Agarkov, Yuri Bashmet, Dmitry Liss, Lev Markis, Luka Pfaff, Timur Mynbayev, Yuri Nikolayevsky, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Vladimir Spivakov, and Yuji Takahashi,

Friedrich Lips’ exceptional influence on developing music and culture for the bayan-accordion can be described as having historical significance. With un interrupted engagement, he has endeavored to introduce the bayan-accordion instrument to the broadest circle of internationally established composers and musicians. Thus, a large number of new pieces for bayan-accordion (alone and with other instruments) written by well-known composers can be ascribed to his efforts and continual influence. Many works have been dedicated to him personally. He has played the première performances of more than 50 important pieces. More than 100 compositions appear on over two dozen CDs he has prepared and published in various countries in America, Asia, and Europe. View all Friedrich Lips Albums/CDs. His CD Seven Words, published in Moscow, won the “CD of the Year” prize in 1991 and was distinguished with the “Diapason d’or” award in Paris.

Not content to leave creative accomplishment to others, Friedrich Lips has arranged countless pieces of classic and modern music for the bayan-accordion in such a way that the instrument can be expressed in an ideal manner. Furthermore, he is the author of many articles and books dealing with music theory that have achieved worldwide importance. Perhaps the best known among them is the book he wrote on playing the bayan artistically. First appearing under the title Iskusstvo igry na bajane in Moscow in 1985, it was translated and published in German, Catalog kslips01 as Die Kunst des Bajanspiels (Kamen, 1991), and later in English as Catalog kslips00 The Art of Bayan Playing (Kamen, 2000), Catalog kslips03 The Art of Arranging Classical Music for Accordion, Catalog kslips02 Die Kunst der Bearbeitung klassischer Musik für Akkordeon

The importance of Friedrich Lips’ personality and musical creativity will undoubtedly be evaluated during the course of history. However, it can already be recognized that he, more than any other single person, has revolutionalized the music scene, developed young artists, inspired established composers, and propelled accordion and bayan players into the limelight. These accomplishments have been made possible by his exceptional openness, liberalism, and inner tolerance to contrary ideas. Avoiding the danger of becoming one-sided, he steadfastly continues to develop his musical ideas and convince others of the merits that can be derived from his well-considered path.
For details, view the website ATG or email:


Gene Pritsker: Versatile and Prolific Composer/Musician

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News

Gene PritskerVideo 1: ''Traffic Signals” for Accordion an Vibraphone by Gene Pritsker performed by Peter Jarvis & William Schimmel at William Paterson University 'New Music Series'

Video 2: “Revisited Residue” (accordion and string quartet): Dedicated to Miloš Katanić

Gene Pritsker is a musician with diverse talents. His interests vary widely and he is constantly performing, composing, and expanding the boundaries of musical composition. Composer/guitarist/rapper/Di.J. Gene Pritsker has written over 800 compositions employing an eclectic spectrum of styles.It is difficult to place him in any specific category because he is so multifaceted.

Gene is the lead orchestrator of “The Matrix Resurrections” which will premiere on December 22, 2021 in theaters and on HBO MAX. Gene shares, “The team I work with on films & TV shows, for over 15 years now, did an amazing job! The music is composed by Johnny Klimek and Tom Tykwer. We have been working on this project for 2 years. I started in Aug. of 2019, while at the Outreach Music Festival in the Austrian Alps, and due to the pandemic it took a while to get it all done - but we did it. And had a great time doing too, - recording at Abbey Road Studios (once in real life the rest virtual), traveling around the world to work with the team including Canary Islands (multiple times), London and Berlin. It's a very hip film - and the music Johnny and Tom wrote I think is excellent. We use the Don Davis original music as a starting point but then they take it to other more melodic places, which I enjoy a lot. At the start of the process I did a lot of my own interpretations of music of Stravinsky, Adams, and other composers from the past century, which then got chopped up and used in various places throughout the movie.”

Composer Gene Pritsker has written over seven hundred compositions, including chamber operas, orchestral and chamber works, electro-acoustic music and songs for hip-hop and rock ensembles. His compositions employ an eclectic spectrum of styles, that are influenced by his studies of various musical cultures. He is the founder and leader of Sound Liberation, an eclectic hip hop-chamber-jazz-rock-etc. ensemble. He also Co-Directs Composers Concordance. Gene's music is performed all over the world at internationally recognized festivals and by highly respected ensembles and performers.

Gene co-founded the Grammy-nominated Absolute Ensemble with Kristjan Jarvi and has been a composer in residence and guitarist since its creation in 1993.  He worked closely with jazz fusion legend Joe Zawinul and has orchestrated major Hollywood movies, including 'Cloud Atlas', for which he wrote additional music and composed his ''Cloud Atlas Symphony’. He is also the lead orchestrator for such TV series as Babylon Berlin, Netflix's Sense8 and Messiah.
Gene shares, “My music is extremely eclectic, from orchestral music to chamber music to hip-hop, rock, opera, electronic to incorporating my studies of various world cultures. Music has no bounds - I view the world of music as one big genre. My motto for my art is  “ending the segregation of sound vibration” He is also a guitarist/rapper/Di.J./ and producer and incorporates each of these musical attributes to create music that is  “not designed for easy listening or to melt into the background. It is insistent. It demands attention and curiosity." - New York Newsday. 

You can learn more about Gene and his upcoming performances from his Facebook page. Recently, I was able to interview him:

Q. When were your first professional concerts?
I was playing at an early age with my fathers band on guitar, so I don’t remember my first professional concert but I was young, for sure early teenage years. 

Q. How has your musical career impacted on your personal life?
Well I live and breathe music, so for me music is part of my personal life. I wake up every morning and write music, produce and perform concerts and everything else revolves round these activities

Q. Who are your favorite musicians and musical groups?  Which musicians or musical groups of today or the past do you like and why?"
As a composer I have by top 3 which are Stravinsky, Mendelssohn and Zappa. But also you can add to that list Bach. Big influences on me is 70-80’s Metal, late 90;s early 2000’s hip-hop, Thelonious Monk and other American composers form the mid 20th century, and music from all cultures around our big great world. 

 Q. What are your favorite types of music?
I am very eclectic, as you can see from the list above, so i really listen to the world of music. For me there is no ‘types’ it’s all just a big planet with various people around it creating and organizing sound to achieve the sublime. I listen to everything, but being busy with my own music I am really mostly focused on the music I am producing, since I am writing exactly what I want to hear. 

Q . List some of your most interesting and important performances.
It’s of course hard to pinpoint just one or two concerts from a lifetime of concerts. But, the premiere of my Cloud Atlas Symphony in Leipzig Germany by the MDR symphony, 7 years ago was a highlight, also my 40th birthday concert with my band Sound Liberation at the Bremen MusikFestival (on my actual birthday) was a highlight and recently I produced a concert in NYC called ‘Gene@50’, a 2 hour event of my music performed by some of my closest musical collaborators and friends.

Q. Describe your most "unusual" or "humorous" performance situation?
One funny situation was the premiere of my bass concerto by the Adelaide Philharmonic, before the concert I was invited on stage to do an interview with the moderator. The concert was outdoors and the audience was about 30 thousand people. During the interview I said a funny joke or comment and all of a sudden 30 thousand people chuckling was an amazing surprise, I loved the high of it and continued the interview trying to make everyone laugh, cause this was a special feeling. 

Q. What other interests and hobbies besides music do you have?
Truthfully not many :) music basically consumes me

Q. What do you regard as your greatest achievement? What musical achievements are you most proud of?
I have written over 800 compsitions and growing. I am always trying to learn and experiment and stretch my sensibilities and abilities. I guess I am most proud of this.  

Q. What musical advice do you have for aspiring accordionists/musicians/composers
Do things. don’t sit aorund waiting for good things to happen to you musically, make them happen for yourself. 

Q. Is there any teacher or artist to whom you would like to pay particular tribute, for their inspirational effect on your musical career.
My main composition teacher was Giampaolo Bracali at Manhattan School of Music, he was very supportive and was the best possible type of composition teacher one can have. I treasure the time I had with him. 

Q  How long have you been playing accordion?
I do not play accordion but I do work with lots of great accordion players for whom I write accordion music.

Q Please include your education credentials: College degree, honors, rewards, etc...... I saw your posts on Facebook.
You can learn more about me on my website -

 Q. Was your family musical and did your parents play an important part in your early music education?
They were and are - my mother is a pianist and plays the Domra (a traditional Russian instrument) and my father is a clarinetist/saxophonist and now leads a big band in NYC 

Q. What role did your parents play in your early music education?
They gave me my start (at age 4 on the  violin) and later when i switched to guitar they were very supportive and guided my early musical education.

Gene’s releases in November / December:
1. What We Got Here Now (single)
2. ChristMess Blues (Single) - feat. Lara St. John - Violin  -  to be released first week of Dec.
3. The Music Between Us (Poetry by Robert C. Ford set to music) to be released Dec. 3rd
on composes concordance records

Gene Pritsker’s accordion music includes:  

-  Memories Are Not Enough (solo accordion) 

- Revisited Residue (accordion and string quartet) 

- I'm Going Extinct Heart First (violin, Domra, bass balalaika, accordion)

- If Her Waters Flow Not In Perpetual Progression (guitar, cello, accordion) 

- Traffic Signals (accordion and vibraphone)

For further information:

Gary Dahl eSheet music, sent by email, secure bank server system

The American Accordionists’ Association (AAA) Commissioned Works Project Is Well on Its Way

by Robert Young McMahan CCC Chair, Professor Emeritus, The College of New Jersey Music Department
In the previous month of the Accordion USA News, it was announced that my series of 21 articles discussing the history and the descriptions of the AAA commissioned works that originally appeared in the annual American Accordionists' Association Festival Journal from 1997 through 2019 (excepting 2007) would be updated, expanded and made available worldwide through the AAA website. However, this is only part of a larger endeavor that encompasses not only the mission to

1) re-present the articles in greater length and detail along with an increase in pertinent photographs and the new addition of musical excerpts, but also

2) to enhance the AAA list of commissioned works with links to recorded performances by a wide array of outstanding accordionists, and

3) ultimately make scores of the works, whether they are out of print or still available for purchase, available to the public for performance.

This is a lengthy and very involved process which is projected to take at least two years to fully realize; but a surprising amount of progress has already been made during this, its first month of endeavor, the evidence of which is already on the AAA webpage, as follows:

The 1998 article on the first of the AAA commissioned works, Paul Creston’s Prelude and Dance (1957) has been expanded as described above and is now available for online reading at: It is also possible that the revised 1997 introductory article to the series will be available by the time of this publication as well. Regarding presently unrevised articles, scans of the original printed ones in the AAA Festival Journal Issues will be temporarily available until replaced by their revisions as they are gradually completed and added.

The listing of commissioned works at on the AAA webpage as of this writing, has links to recorded performances of at least 28 of the present 62 compositions, with more on their way. (Look for them in red in the publishers’ column of the page.)

So if you are interested in the AAA’s role in the advancement of the accordion in the contemporary classical music realm, be sure to frequently revisit the above links. I will report on the progress of this project in future AWW issues. Your comments, views, and input are welcome at

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Sam Reider’s Winter Update

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Sam Reider

Sam ReiderVideo 1: Sam Reider and the Human Hands play "Trio Sonata: I. Reel" by Sam Reider featuring:
Dominick Leslie - mandolin
Duncan Wickel - violin
Recorded live to tape at The Creamery Studios in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Video 2: Sam Reider and the Human Hands play "Del Boca Vista"
"Del Boca Vista" by Sam Reider, 2019 featuring:
Eddie Barbash - alto saxophone
Alex Hargreaves - violin
Dominick Leslie - mandolin
Roy Williams - guitar
Dave Speranza - bass
Recorded live to tape at The Creamery Studios in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Versatile musician Sam Reider returns to the East Coast. Excerpts from his website: Following the release of their critically-acclaimed record Too Hot to Sleep (2018), Sam and the Human Hands have appeared at major festivals and venues throughout the US and the UK and performed live on the BBC. Irresistible melodies, fiery improvisation and otherworldly sounds collide in what Songlines Magazine has dubbed "mash-up of the the Klezmatics, Quintette du Hot Club de France and the Punch Brothers.” Too Hot To Sleep features Eddie Barbash (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Jon Batiste and Stay Human), Alex Hargreaves (Turtle Island Quaret, Live From Here, Sarah Jarosz), Dominick Leslie (Hawktail, Ricky Skaggs Band, Deadly Gentlemen), Roy Williams (Stephane Wrembel), Grant Gordy (David Grisman Quintet) and Dave Speranza.

Reider grew up in San Francisco, the son of a musical theatre composer and klezmer musician. He began performing at a young age, and was interviewed on Marian McPartland’s “Piano Jazz” on NPR when he graduated high school. At Columbia University, he fell in love with American folk music. While writing his senior thesis comparing the songwriting of Woody Guthrie and Ira Gershwin, Sam began studying bluegrass and old-time, transcribing the fiddle melodies for the accordion and learning to sing the songs. This set him off on a journey that has taken him from back porches and dive bars to concert halls and major festivals in practically every state in the country.

Representing the U.S. Department of State as a musical ambassador, Sam has travelled to China, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Estonia, Turkey and Azerbaijan, carrying his accordion on his back everywhere he goes and collaborating at with international artists. Sounds and stories from these travels frequently serve as the inspiration for Reider’s compositions, which together form an ongoing musical travelogue.

As a side-man, collaborator and recording artist, Reider has worked with artists including Sierra Hull, Jorge Glem, Phoebe Hunt, Courtney Hartman, Jon Batiste and Stay Human, T-Pain, David Amram, Nellie McKay Ranger Doug, the Brother Brothers and more. A passionate educator, Reider leads ongoing performances for public school students throughout the New York City area in partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center. He has designed curricula and taught courses at the Stanford Jazz Festival, San Francisco Jazz, and other private institutions around the country.

Sam Reider says, “It seems like fall is just flying by. I’ve had my head down, studying and composing music, as well as spending some quality time with friends and family. It’s hard to believe it’s already time to send out an email blast again, but I’ve got some exciting performances on the horizon that I wanted to make sure to share with you.

In the Bay Area, at the end of this month, I’ll be joining bluegrass legend Laurie Lewis and a big crew of her friends for a night of music at the Freight and Salvage.
In early December, I’ll be heading back to the east coast to perform with the Human Hands at the Robbie Collomore concert series in Chester, CT. December 5th is my birthday, and there’s nothing I’d rather do to celebrate than jam with my buddies!

Following that, I will be performing in New York City on December 10th with my long-time collaborator, Jorge Glem. Our duo record, Brooklyn Cumaná is slated for release in Spring 2022. It was recorded way back in January of 2020, right before the pandemic. I’m so excited to dust off these tunes and try them out for a live audience. We’re doing two sets at Chelsea Table + Stage on December 10th.

After the New Year, I will be back on the East Coast performing in New Hope, PA at the Concordia Chamber Players Winterfest with the Human Hands. At the end of January, I’ll be giving a solo piano recital online, hosted Temple Beth El (based in Northern California) on January 22nd. I’ll be debuting new music that I recorded just this past August.

Ticket links for all these concerts and more are live on my website or send me an email. Lots of announcements about spring tour dates, new recordings, and collaborations coming up. Please stay tuned!”

Sam shares, “ Music lesson packages make great holiday presents! I teach piano, accordion, and composition/music theory. Lessons are mostly online, but if you are in the SF Bay Area, I have begun teaching in person a couple times a month. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions!”

2021 and 2022 Upcoming Concerts:
November 27th | Berkeley, CA - Freight and Salvage w/ Laurie Lewis and Friends
December 5th | Chester, CT - Robbie Collomore Series w/ The Human Hands
December 10th | New York, NY - Chelsea Table + Stage w/ Jorge Glem, playing music from “Brooklyn Cumaná”
January 14th | New Hope, PA - Cradle Valley Farm; Concordia Players Winterfest
January 22nd | *Online Concert - Temple Beth El; Solo piano

For further information:

James O'Brien eSheet music, emailed to you, secure bank server

ATG Syllabus Available for Purchase Now!

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
ATG Syllabus
The ATG Syllabus Committee, chaired by Professor Joan Cochran Sommers, is pleased to announce that the 2021 Syllabus is now complete and ready for distribution! Please see the ATG website: for more information and to order your copy.

The ATG Syllabus is an outline of both the Practical and Written requirements for completion of nine different levels related to the study of the accordion. This includes the requirements for solo performance, the building of technique in both hands, aural and sight-reading skills, as well as general musical knowledge.

There are suggestions for accomplishing these requirements but there is room also for own choices to be made in the many selections of solos, exercises and studies. The works of many composers and arrangers from several different countries are included in these lists.

The price is $30 for ATG members and $50 for non-members.

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

Reports for Concerts, Masterclasses, Competitions, Festivals, etc.

Titano Accordion Company

The Accordion in the Media Spanning the Decades Part 1: The late 1920s to 1960

by Joan Grauman, AAA Historian
Joan GraumanPreface by Joan Grauman (picture right).

I have been a collector of “ephemera (written or printed items of short-term usefulness or popularity)” for several decades. Luckily, I focused this goofy obsession of mine on my other obsession: the accordion! I hope you enjoy this trip through memory lane with printed ads, stories and cards that celebrate, or ridicule, our beloved musical instrument.

The Accordion in the Media Spanning the Decades
Part 1: The late 1920s to 1960

Mass media was, and is today, a very important mirror of who we were and who we are as a society. While this form of communicating and promoting thoughts, facts, events and ideas has changed monumentally over the past 100 years, one thing has not changed: mass media clearly reflects our past and our present.

Over the decades, the accordion in the media has been "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly…. and the Good again". Part 1 of this article will focus on "the Good"; Part 2: "the Bad, the Ugly … and the Good again."

Benjamin Franklin, one of our US Founding Fathers, is credited with creating the first printed advertisements in a magazine, "General Magazine", in 1741. By the early 20th century, printed advertisements were in newspapers, periodicals and posters. These ads attracted people to what was being sold by featuring popular and attractive people, scenes and objects.

Stories of the glamorous Vaudeville, Hollywood and radio celebrities were also featured in the magazines. Soon the beautiful and intriguing “new” musical instrument, the accordion, was in ads and stories everywhere.

Read the full article with all the historic pictures at: Media1 by Joan Grauman, AAA Historian
Media Montage

Larry Malmberg eSheet music, sent by email, secure bank server

ATG Wednesday Workshops Presents Joseph Natoli on December 8

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Workshops Presents Joseph Natoli
Register chartLucite accordionOn December 8, 2021, 7:PM CT (8:PM EST), Joseph Natoli will present a workshop on “Using Accordion Registers Effectively” This workshop to be presented by Joe Natoli is an attempt to get newbie and experienced accordionists alike to understand and have a greater appreciation for the right-hand and left-hand register switches on their instruments. These amazing color combinations can be used extremely effectively to truly “orchestrate” your compositions or arrangements. Some examples will be provided to provide motivation for further exploration and exploitation of these registers. So many people, especially newbies, think that the Master switch is the only color on the accordion. This workshop will give you a detailed explanation why and how to consider all the other register switches for maximum musical effect.

Photo of Register Chart to be used in the workshop.
Photo of lucite accordion from YouTube that Joe will show in his presentation as he is discussing cassotto ("in the chamber") reeds:

Joseph Natoli, is not only a professional accordionist and composer, but also past President of ATG and co-organizer along with Michael Soloway of the International Digital Electronic Accordion Society (IDEAS) which holds an annual Symposium each year in November for digital accordionists from all over the world. Joseph Natoli has been a performer and advocate of the accordion since the age of seven. Joe’s education includes Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in music theory and composition from the University of Toronto Faculty Of Music in Toronto, Canada, where he was the first student accepted there to use the free bass accordion as an applied major instrument, studying with renowned Canadian accordionist, Joseph Macerollo. 

Joseph Natoli started his musical career mostly as a performer, but had always been interested in composition, and has focused on his compositional craft even more in recent years. Joe has written many original pieces in all musical styles and genres for standard and free bass accordion, all of which are available by inquiries to , including his ensemble piece “Child's Play” (for 2 accordions, cello, & percussion), and “Smooth” (a Latin jazz piece for solo or accordion quintet), as well as solo accordion pieces “Nine Children’s Pieces” for free bass accordion, “Variations On a Well-Known Melody,” “Sonata in F Major (in the Classical Style),” “Children’s Suite”, “Kinetic Tango”, among many others.

Joseph Natoli is realizing a lifelong dream, having recently retired from his Information Technology (IT) career, in order to dedicate himself to music (both performance and composition). Joe always maintained a fairly active schedule for both disciplines even during and in spite of his years as an IT manager. However, since retiring recently from that very demanding and stressful profession, Joe has stepped up his game in the music arena and is enjoying composing more than ever before. 

Joe is a very accomplished composer and musician. At the same time, he maintains a demeanor of humility, modesty, and friendliness. He is a great listener and always available to discuss musical topics with enthusiasm appropriate to a person’s level of skill. Joe is a prolific composer always creating beautiful compositions inspired by meaningful events in his life. We all look forward to Joe’s future compositions, never very far in the future.

Sign up for one of the ATG new 30-minute online Wednesday Workshops. Workshops are free to ATG members, $15 for non-members

To request a Zoom link, email:

For further information:

Gary Daverne CD's and eSheet music available online

Mary Tokarski’s Holiday CD Brings Good Cheer

by Pamela Tom
Christmas CDMary TokarskiMary Tokarski is a renowned international solo concert accordionist. She is also a former U.S. national champion and two-time US delegate to the Coupe Mondiale (World Championship). She is past president of the American Accordion Association (AAA).

Mary produced a timeless solo accordion CD that brightens your holiday season and beyond. Her technique is flawless and textbook perfect. Her interpretations and arrangements bring sparkle to classical and contemporary yuletide favorites. The studio recording is excellent and her music serves as a model for crisp clean playing, dramatic expression and humor. Practically every key and switch of her Titano Emperor accordion are represented on her CD. Mary notes, “In my music I use almost all the registers on the treble side and most of the bass registers as well. Training from my early years I guess!” The titles include:

1. "March of the Toys" – V. Herbert*
2. "Moon River" – H. Mancini*
3. "On Thin Ice" – J. Gart
4. "Shopping Center Suite" – G. Daverne
* "Let’s go Shopping"
* "In the Bookstore"
* "Super Market"
* "Coffee Shop"
* "Arcade"
5. March from “The Nutcracker” – P. Tchaikovsky*
6. "Polonaise in A Major" – F. Chopin
7. "Ave Maria" – Bach/Gounod*
8. "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" – L. Jessel*
9. "O’ Holy Night" – A. Adam*
10. "Slippery Slope" – M. Bridge**
11. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" – Martin & Blane*

*Arranged by Mary Tokarski
**An original composition by 16-yr old Michael Bridge (2009)

In addition to Have Yourself a Mary Merry Christmas CD, she released two other CDs:
1. "Music with Mary, For My Friends!"
2. "Music with Mary, With My Friends!" Classic and modern composers include: Daverne, DeBussy, Deiro, Ettore, Liszt, Piazzolla, Schimmel, Tacca, and more. For further details on the CD titles and more about Mary’s accomplishments, visit: .

The CDs sell for $15 plus $4 shipping and handling.
Payment can be forwarded through PayPal using Mary’s email address: .

4 Music Books by Stas Venglevski

NAAC Holiday Member Video Series Invitation

by Gabe Hall-Rodrigues
NAAC LogoHappy Holidays! Whatever you are celebrating this season, we would love to hear what it sounds like. We will be accepting video submissions for our Holiday Member Video Series now through December 12, 2021.

A few important things to remember when sending in your video:

1. Downloadable file format only. (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.)
2. All skill levels are encouraged to participate
3. Please keep videos under 10 minutes. 
4. No inappropriate content. (drugs, violence, language)
5. Must have a NAAC member in the video. 

Send your videos to 

Submissions will be accepted now through Dec. 12.
New videos will be posted as we receive content. 

Please include:
- Your name and where you’re from
- Name of any other performers in your video
- Title and composer of your piece
- A brief description of less than 100 words.
It is always a privilege to share and receive musical gifts. Please show us what your gifts are this holiday season. 
Gabe Hall-Rodrigues and the NAAC team

For further information:

Amy Jo Sawyer CD titled According to Amy

World/American Premiere of Orchestration by Zisl Slepovitch

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Dr. Zisl Slepovitch
Zisl slepovitchIvan FilipchyckVideo: D. Zisl Slepovitch - איך האָב געזען "Ikh hob gezen (I Saw)"
from the vocal cycle "SYLL-ABLE – Soviet Yiddish Literati" (2017).
World and American Premiere of Orchestration by Zisl Slepovitch

Ivan Filipchyk, bayan (button accordion)
Lev "LJOVA" Zhurbin, fadolín
D. Zisl Slepovitch, vocals, clarinet.

October 29, 2021 was the Night of the Murdered Poets (Ноч растраляных паэтаў), the night of the executed Belarusian literature. On October 29, 1937 NKVD (Soviet secret police) executed a group of prominent Belarusian authors, among them two great Yiddish poets, Meyshe Kulbak and Izi Kharik. Sharing a song from my cycle SYLL-ABLE (Soviet Yiddish Literati) set to the poem איך האָב געזען “Ikh hob gezen” (“I Saw”) by Zelik Akselrod (1940). Akselrod who witnessed the massacre of his friends and colleagues, was arrested and executed in the early 1941. He kept pushing for the development of Yiddish literature in the Soviet Union, not having fully realized that the game was over. This poem is his longing for and final farewell to “a friend” (or friends) and to the world. Recorded at Barbès Brooklyn, New York, on October 18, 2021.

Translation of "Ikh hob gezen – I Saw" by Zelik Akselrod.Translation by Shane Baker.
I saw the sun set,
at first like an apple, red,
then it became like a half an apple,
A moment later––foam on the ground.
There’s such a beauty in that
when the sun goes down behind the black sea.
You look at the horizon
because it reminds you of a friend.
The red stripe, the cool shine,
from grapes a clear wine,
as one sits down together, full glasses in hand.
But your friend is not here,
it’s a great black sea,
with waters rocking back and forth, the great wave now silent ––
the world is ever thus:
what you have and what you don’t.

Dr. D. Zisl Slepovitch, a native of Minsk, Belarus, is an ethnomusicologist (Ph.D.), klezmer, classical, and improvising woodwind and keyboard player; conductor, composer, educator, founding member of critically acclaimed bands Litvakus, Zisl Slepovitch Trio, and Zisl Slepovitch Ensemble. Dr. D. Zisl Slepovitch is the musician in residence at Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University. Slepovitch’s theatre, film, and television work includes multiple productions by National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish (off-Broadway), Rejoice (dubbed “Eternal Echoes” CD, Sony Classical) with Itzhak Perlman and Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot (PBS, Sony Classical), Defiance movie, and many others. Dr. Slepovitch has taught Yiddish language and culture at The New School, has been a guest artist and visiting lecturer at many universities and cultural organizations worldwide. 

Ivan Filipchyk is a New York-based artist and musician. He graduated from the Russian Gnessin Academy of music in Moscow with a Master's degree in music. As a musician (accordion, piano) he participated in various competitions and gave concerts performing (as a soloist and participant in an ensemble) on the stages of Russia, Japan, USA, and Canada. Ivan is actively combining music (as a teacher, performer, and composer) with painting. 

For further information email:

Titano Accordion Company

Updates on “Accordions Rising” by Roberta Cantow….Great Holiday Gift Idea

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Roberta“Accordions Rising" looks at the past, presents the present and considers the future of the accordion in our culture. It features a wide variety of players and styles, celebrates all and suggests that the musical possibilities are endless. In the words of one Amazon Reviewer:

"Hours after watching the terrific "Accordions Rising," I find myself with a heightened awareness and a reconsideration of everyday things -- always-present things I've paradoxically neglected in life. Such is the impact "Accordions Rising" has beyond the musical instrument it champions -- it encourages a wider rethink and a re-invigoration of interest in all things ignored or maligned.

These engrossing human interest stories and the sincerity and enthusiasm with which they’re told are interwoven with loads of music, which is now heard anew with freshly educated and reconditioned ears. We're listening now, not just passively hearing and selectively ignoring.”

“Accordions Rising” is a wonderfully conceived and executed film which, by transcending its highly engaging subject matter, reminds us that we simply need to pay better attention -- period -- and afford things a preemptive curiosity and respect beyond what our knee-jerk inclinations may assume. Heavily recommended."

The film is available on DVD from the website: where there is also more information about the featured players and musicians.  In addition to all  the streaming options listed on the purchae page,  it is available now on Apple TV as well. Blu Ray copies are available on-line at  Barnes and Noble, Amazon and Best Buy.

"Accordions Rising" has won awards internationally and nationally including  two different Awards of Merit in the Documentary Category and one other: Global Accolade Competition – Award of Merit, November, 2015; Indie Film Fest, August, 2016 – Award of Merit;  Bare Bones International Music and Film Festival – Best Movie Poster, April, 2016. The film has been a winner at several accordion festivals across the country and in Wales, the UK and Germany.

Roberta Cantow was recognized with her first film grant from The American Film Institute while still a graduate film student at NYU. Through the years, The New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts and others provided grants for the completion and distribution of 4 film works and videos. She received a NY Area Emmy for her film, "Clotheslines" about the symbolic and artistic role of laundry in women’s lives, as well as many others.

Roberta's work has been exhibited in many of the venues for independents, including a presentation in the Cineprobe Series of the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Her four 16mm films were selected for archival preservation by the Donnell Media Center, New York City, in 2001. All of her film and video work will be archived in the newly named Special Collections of Smith College.

For further information:

Jeff Lisenby CD A Spy In Tortuga

Rachel Bell and Karen Axelrod Perform Live Stream Tunes on Accordion and Piano

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Rachel Bell
Rachel BellVideo: Peregrine Road: “Blue Heron” performed by Peregrine Road:
Karen Axelrod, piano
Rachel Bell, accordion
Filmed by Louise Bichan

Accordionist Rachel Bell and pianist Karen Axelrod will present a live stream concert of tunes on the accordion and piano on December 2, 2021. They are all original jigs, reels, waltzes, mazurkas, and more from Rachel’s new tune book, "This Part of the World.”

The program consists of Jigs, Reels, Waltzes, Mazurkas, Bourrees, and more by Rachel Bel performed by Peregrine Road:Karen Axelrod: piano & accordion and Rachel Bell on accordion. You can go to Rachel Bell’s Facebook page for the Live Stream. If you would like to support the show: Once the live stream starts, hit share to share it with friends. Suggested donation: Sliding scale $10-$20 or pay what you can.

Rachel Bell is performer, tunesmith, and teacher who is sought after for concerts, contra dances, French bal folk dances, English country dances, workshops, and festivals–all in virtual form during the pandemic. Rachel dreams every day of the time when all of these activities can resume as joyous, in-person, community experiences. She plays with Eloise & Co., Peregrine Road, Alchemy, and Old World Charm School. Her playing spans an enormous range of emotion, from nuanced and sensitive to exhilarating and powerful. Excerpts from her website: Over a decade of musical travel has landed her smack-dab in the middle of some of her most exciting projects ever. A vibrant and versatile collaboration with Karen Axelrod, exquisite violin and viola sounds from Eric Martin, a rich and energetic contra dance band called Seaglass, and a slew of French-focused music and dance adventures with Susan Kevra are just the tip of the iceberg. A recent addition has been a joyful musical partnership with Becky Tracy, and other combinations often round out the mix.

Rachel shares, “Ever since I released my book, I've been wanting to do a series of online events based around the book. Haven't had time until now. So here it is! The beginning of my little series. This Thurs, Dec 2, 2021: Tunes from the tune book with Karen Axelrod and Thursday, Jan 6, 2022: Tunes from the tune book with Andrew VanNorstrand, as well as tunes from his tune book! Hope you'll join us to hear some of the tunes we love to play all the time as well as some of the tunes that have been buried a little deeper in the book, some you might not have heard just yet. And we'll premier a couple brand new tunes that came into the world after the book was published. We made even take a request or two partway through. Hope to see you there!”

For further information:


Suggestions for: Analyze Why You Experience Stage Fright When You Perform

by Sharon Seaton, Ed.D.
NAA Logo
Dr. Sharon Seaton]Week #40 of the 52 Week Challenge: Analyze why you experience stage fright when you perform. Believe it or not, we are now in Week 40 of our year of challenges! One of our members suggested some guidance in handling stage fright. Surely this is an issue that has affected, or still does affect, almost every one of us who perform musically. What can we do about it?

I wish I had an all-purpose answer to give you, but I don’t, and I don’t think there is one. I am challenging you to think about specific instances that you can recall in which you have suffered from stage fright:
What kind of occasion was it?
Who were the people in the audience?
Did you know these people, or were they strangers to you?
What kind of music were you playing and was it a piece(s) you knew quite well or something you had recently learned?
Had you ever performed this music before?

It’s interesting to note how differently people respond to the question of who they are performing for. Some people say they would feel more comfortable playing for friends. Others would rather play for strangers! Perhaps some of us feel that playing for folks they know is threatening. In other words, they might make some mistakes and their friends (musician friends, especially) will judge them for it. What do you think? Would you feel more comfortable playing for a small group of people, or a really large audience? And why is that?
For those who are relatively new at performing for others, I do have a caution: If you do not have experience performing or perhaps you are new to playing the instrument, choosing to play a piece that you have just learned can be risky! Seasoned performers know from experience what kinds of issues to expect when under pressure. Less-experienced players do not. And those who are used to “the stage” realize from experience that you must know that piece very well: You know any trouble spots that have shown up when practicing, and if you have not corrected them, you can count on having them show up in your performance!

For Week 41 Challenge Stage Fright, I received suggestions concerning dealing with stage fright, how to recover from mistakes or forgetting your piece while performing.  I am now passing some pointers on to you that I received. I hope there are some that will be helpful to you.

The first items are from a reader who credits her mother for most of these wise hints:
1. If you make a mistake or your memory blips, just keep going. 99% of the people listening won't know.
2. If you are performing, just remember that if those people out in the audience could do better, they would probably be up there instead of you.
3. A trick when you find yourself in deep water and can't find the melody you were playing is to sustain a chord then transition to another piece you DO remember. (PS: This is more difficult to do if you are playing in an ensemble, but, if you can, you can ask your trombone player to "Take it!")
4. My mother always said, "Just take a deep breath, and go out there and do the best you can. You might have played better yesterday or could do a better job if you had another week to work on it, but, for now, all you can do is your best. Then let it go..."
5. Preparation is key. Next is confidence. Next is guile. [Sharon says, “I love the guile part!]
6. Remember, even if you're a soloist there is nothing wrong with using music, esp. on a Manhasset stand.
7. Last suggestion is this: if you're a soloist, you can always slow the tempo as if you meant to do it... repeat the phrase (which is sometimes like walking back thru the doorway to remember what you went into the kitchen for) OR close your eyes, repeat the phrase, sustain a chord and ritardando a broken chord either up or down the keyboard....

I received the following from Murl Allen Sanders (Seattle). Murl is not only a great accordionist but also a professional educator/teacher, specializing in accordion:
 1. Generally speaking, people in the audience want the performer to do well.
2. If you are playing solo, people are much less likely to know you have made a mistake if you don't react to your mistake. You can practice not reacting to your musical errors. Hard to do, but work on it daily every time you practice. Let your mistakes go by and keep playing. Tell yourself it will be better next time! Mistakes have no meaning or power unless you give them meaning or power. The only thing that matters is your personal expression of the music you play and the emotion and intellect you bring to it.
3, If you are playing with a group, people are much less likely to notice an error. Yes, the people on stage with you might notice, but they are usually willing to forgive the mistake even if they notice. They're busy playing their parts, too!
4, ”Over prepare" for every performance. Practice your set list in order many times! And then play it again! Try playing your program for family and friends if they will listen. Play it for your teacher if possible.
5. Drop any song from your list that you are truly nervous about playing. Play only songs that you truly love to play. If you connect with the music emotionally yourself, your audience will notice and respond positively.
6. Walk onstage confidently as if you know you are going to do well.
7. Murl also adds: “Teaching non-reaction to errors is a big one and most people need some help with it. Also, "refrain from back-tracking" (going back a measure or more to repeat and correct) is a difficult issue for a lot of people. Thanks so much to these two readers for their input! I want to make one comment of my own regarding recovery from mistakes. A good knowledge of music theory can be quite helpful in emergencies. When you encounter a surprise as you play, being able to improvise with harmony or little variations in the melody can sometimes get you over the glitch. This may be what the first reader was saying in a couple of points. (Unfortunately, this might not work too well if you are playing Bach!)

Best wishes as you go into the holiday season! And remember that we are only about 3 ½ months away from NAA Convention 2022!
For further information:

Seattle Accordion Social on December 13

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Seattle SocialThe Seattle Northwest Accordion Social takes place on December 13, 2021 7:30-9:30pm PDT at:
Senior Center of West Seattle 
4217 S.W. Oregon St. Seattle, WA

A Holiday Potluck: Featuring Bonnie Birch. Play along with Bonnie Birch for the Sing a Long Jam

Admission is $5.00.

For further information: Bonnie Birch at 206-622-4786

The International Trio, CD Available online, secure server

Litvakus at Rockwood Music Hall 2

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Litvakus at Rockwood Music Hall 2

Video 1: “Freylekhs far di vayber פֿריילעכס פֿאַר די ווײַבער (Freylekhs for Women)” at Brooklyn Folk Festival, November 12, 2021
Zisl Slepovitch, clarinet, arrangement
Ljova, fadolín (6-string violin)
Joshua Camp Music, accordion
Taylor Bergren-Chrisman, double bass
Sam Weisenberg, poyk

Video 2:”Es Vet Zayn Sheyn Un Fayn (It Will Be Swell and Fine” from Lviv Klezfest in Ukraine, 2017

The Litvakus Klezmer Band bids farewell to 2021 with its first and only public concert at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 on Lower East Side on December 27, 2021 at 9:PM, where klezmer music and Yiddish songs used to be mainstay for many decades. Old and new pieces, all equally enjoyable, will make you feel like dancing! Litvakus is New York Belarusian Jewish roots / HIP / acoustic punk klezmer band.

Litvakus excerpts from their website: Litvakus, founded and led by the clarinetist, vocalist, and composer Zisl Slepovitch, is a critically acclaimed klezmer collective, the first to focus exclusively on the music and culture of Litvak Jews and their neighbors in Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, and parts of Ukraine. Litvakus features a uniquely distinct sound, a mix of drones from Belarusian bagpipes and stings, with a recognizably Jewish idiom, and high-energy, “shtetl-disco” music, along with traditional Eastern European Jewish vocals. The band’s repertoire also includes contemporary klezmer pieces written in the spirit of roots music. Litvakus equally fits chamber and large open-air settings, plays at festivals, concert venues, clubs and private events.

Litvakus first performed in 2008 in the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s production of Gimpel Tam after I.B.Singer. Among group’s programs are Traveling the Yiddishland with Michael Alpert (2012), Raysn: The Music of Jewish Belarus (2014); and GoyFriend with Sasha Lurje (2018).

Buy tickets online or at door (subject to availability):
$20 + service fee.
Doors open at 8:PM. The show starts at 9:PM.

For further information:

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Jingle Jamz on December 4 in Louisiana

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Jingle JamzChubby CarrierJingle Jamz happens on December 4, 2021 from 11:AM to 10:PM at Landon Memorial Park in Cankton, Louisiana.

There will be live bands all day. You can follow the events on Facebook.
Photo Right: Chubby Carrier

There will be local gift vendors, arts and crafts, food, kids activities, photos with Santa, live entertainment!

Entertainment includes Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, Junior Dugan on the Bayou plus more bands!

For more information:
Jenn 337-654-1612
Josh 337-258- 0830

Over 2,100 titles of eSheet music, sent to you by email, secure server bank online payment

Oktoberfest Entertainment in Dallas by James and Shirley O'Brien

by Harley Jones
O'BriansAccordionists Shirley and James O'Brien (Obrien) provided music for the Oktoberfest at the Dallas Retirement Village, in Dallas, Oregon recently.

James P. O'Brien has many arrangements available for purchase online including popular Christmas selections and Christmas collections.

The O’Brien’s, who are summer residents on the Oregon Coast, played many polkas for the guests as well as popular songs from the 1940s and 50s.

Over 100 residents joined the celebration, which included the traditional Oktoberfest meal with brats, sauerkraut, apple strudel and beer.

In the midst of a continuing pandemic, it was great fun to celebrate harvest with spirited accordion music, good food and an appreciative audience.

The Ins and Outs of the Accordion by famous accordion repairer and tuner Thierry Benetoux

Future events

Gary Dahl eSheet music, sent by email, secure bank server system

Stas Venglevski Conducts Houston Accordion Retreat January 13-16, 2022

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Stas Venglevski
Houston Youth EnsembleThe Houston Accordion Orchestra Retreat 2022 takes place from January 13-16, 2022. The January 15th Orchestra Concert will be live-streaming. Thirty five musicians from all over the USA including seven youth Ensemble members will perform. The concert begins at 6:30 PM CST at the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 18220 Upper Bay Rd., Houston, TX. The concert will feature the music of Russia, France, Moldova, Finland, Azerbaijan, and the World Premiere of a new orchestra overture by Stas Venglevski. The orchestra will also perform “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Freddie Mercury performed by the orchestra.

Youth Scholarship Awarded Artists include: Ashley Frye, Charlotte Peck, Ellina Musatov, Gabrielle Peck, Lorelei Peck, and Sonora Sherman.

Stas shares, “This will be my 4th year as a music director and conductor for the Houston Accordion Retreat in Houston, TX. It’s always good to see wonderful accordionists from across the USA and to conduct the orchestra. This time the featured artists will include Ali Haghshenas, (Azerbaijan), accordion; Gail Campanella, (USA), accordion; Shirley Johnson, (USA), vocals. It’s rewarding to have scholarship students joining the orchestra and performing as a youth ensemble music by W.Mozart and A.Piazzolla! January 15th, “A Spectacular Collage of European Music” performed by Houston Accordion Retreat Orchestra. (Livestream). January 16th will be my solo performance.

Stop to see me/us if you are in the Houston area!"

Concert tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door.

For further information contact Organizer Meg Hada:
Houston Accordion Orchestra

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

Dr. William Schimmel’s 2022 Performances

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Bill SchimmelDr. William Schimmel’s versatility is evident by the many musical projects that he is involved in. He has devoted his life to musicianship particularly utilizing the accordion.

William Schimmel holds a BM, MS and DMA degrees Doctorate from The Juilliard School. He performed with virtually every ensemble in New York from The New York Philharmonic, The Metropolitan Opera, Jazz at Lincoln Center, most contemporary ensembles, Broadway as well as numerous European tours.

His Tango Project CDS have reached #1 on the Billboard charts along with Stereo Review Album of the Year and Grammy nominations. He has performed in many movie soundtracks and can be seen and heard in “Scent of a Woman” starring Al Pacino (who received an Oscar). His current CD, “The Theater of the Accordion” features trumpeter Wynton Marsalas and has reached #2 on the Amazon charts (They perform a 6 minute version of Mahler 9). He has performed with rock stars as diverse as Sting and Tom Waits who stated: “Bill Schimmel doesn’t play the Accordion, He IS the Accordion”. NPR regarded him as “The World’s Greatest Accordionist” and The New Yorker named him: “Gotham’s Happy Warrior of the Accordion”

Dr. Schimmel resides in Manhattan with his wife, Micki Goodman, a dancer/choreographer and video artist. Together they have produced numerous videos that can be seen and heard on YouTube. Dr. Schimmel’s works are currently being archived at the Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library.

His 2022 future performances include:

January 15 - Composers. Concordance Concert of Graphic Scores - Machiko Studios, New York. - premiere of Dr. Schimmel’s “King Akkong” for Accordion and mixed ensemble

January 24. - Lincoln Center , New York - “Not Entirely Schubert” - curated by Dr. William Schimmel - more information later

Performances in “Hamlet” by Brett Dean. - The Metropolitan Opera - Lincoln Center, New York May 13, 18, 21, 26, 31, June 4 and 9

“The Seminars 2022 - Too Much Information, So Little Time But We Do It Anyway” Sponsored by The Accordion Global Association - July 29, 30 and 31 - Venue to be

For further information:

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

ATAM 60th Annual New England Music Festival & Competition April 8-10, 2022

by Anna Latulippe
ATAMThe ATAM 60th Annual New England Music Festival & Competition takes place April 8-10, 2022 in Newton, MA & Virtual. The New England Music Festival is an annual musical competition sponsored by the Accordion Teachers Association of Massachusetts, Inc.

Typically there are more than 3000 entries and 800 contestants from all across New England.

Competitive and noncompetitive categories for contestants of all ages including solo categories for all instruments and voice, duets, Battle of the Bands, entertainment categories, virtual categories and more!

All accordionists are eligible to particiatpe in the virtual competition.

For further information contact Chairperson Peggy Falcetti:
Phone: 413-204-1022

Sounding Out the Accordion by Thierry Benetoux

2022 National Accordion Convention Updates

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Planning for the 2022 National Accordion Convention is at full steam. We have already signed up a large list of presenters and performers, some of whom you may have seen in previous years, but some are also new to the convention. All are well seasoned accordionists and will conduct a large variety of interesting presentations and workshops.

Save the dates: Wednesday March 16th to Saturday March 19th, 2022.
Venue: Hilton Hotel, Richardson, Texas, USA (formerly a Hyatt facility)

Bookings: Hotel registrations are now open at:
Convention registrations open in Mid December at: NAA

There will be something for every accordion enthusiast: from playing in two orchestras, presentations, interactive sessions and play-along, accordion techniques, digital and acoustic accordions.

Detailed workshop descriptions can be found here:

Here is a glimpse of the evening activities:
• Wednesday evening: Welcome reception. Meet and mingle with music.
• Thursday evening: Music around the world. We will dedicate rooms to different cities like Paris, Rome, Munich, and others. Each will have a main presenter, but everybody is welcome to play for open mike! Stroll around with a beverage for an entertaining trip.
• Friday evening: Dance Party - dance until your shoes fall off! We will have performers on stage entertaining you with Folk, Polka and Ballroom dance.
• Saturday evening: Gala dinner with final concert.

Covid-19 will most likely not be over, so we will follow all health guidelines of the State of Texas, the local authorities, and the Hotel to keep you safe.

Frank Toscano Performs for LIAA on January 5

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Frank ToscanoThe next meeting of the Long Island Accordion Alliance (LIAA) will take place on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022  at 6:PM at:
        La Villini Restaurant 
        288 Larkfield Rd
        East Northport NY 11731
        (631) 261-6344
Reservations are recommended.

The featured guest artist will be noted accordionist Frank Toscano who recently was featured in the movie “The Many Saints of Newark.” Frank Toscano was asked to arrange and perform music for the soundtrack for the movie which was released worldwide on March 12 2021. Frank recorded eight songs and performed in the movie. Frank appears in the film with guitarist, Steve Lucas, in the scene of the confirmation party for Janice, Tony’s sister. The movie is a prequel to the popular series “The Sopranos”.

Among the songs he played were “Ferry Boat Serenade”, “Volare”, “The Nearness of You” and “Core Grate”. For the scene Frank wore a red tuxedo jacket and slicked back hair, He played a Verde acoustic accordion. Frank said the director and cast enthusiastically applauded him at the end of the scene. The music/soundtrack was recorded at The Hit Factory in New York City. The challenge, according to Frank, was to play the song during filming exactly as it was recorded at The Hit Factory since that recording was used during the filming of the movie, Of course, Frank was able to easily accomplish the task.

A professional musician since the age of eight, Frank Toscano has made music his entire life. Born and raised in New York, Frank came from an Italian family who valued the idea of music being played in the house constantly. Without a choice from his father, Frank took lessons on the accordion under the direction of Emilio Chiesa and never dreamed that it would became the passion of his life!

Frank said, “Emilio provided me with a solid classical foundation, for which I am forever grateful. I was very fortunate to have such a great teacher who he himself is also a Virtuoso Accordionist.” As Frank continued through the years practicing, he mastered the instrument and it was only natural for him to become a professional musician. He wanted more though...more music... and so he learned, studied jazz and mastered the art of playing the Piano (taught himself) and at the age of twenty-one opened the Frank Toscano Music School.

Now some 50 years later the school continues to flourish with young and not so young talent. Still teaching everyday, his undying passion for music and performing never seems to subside. He has performed live with and for many artists including Michail Baryshnikov and Aidan Quinn and can also be heard on many recordings of other artists... too numerous to mention. Frank performed for Steve Schirripa and the entire Soprano’s Cast to help launch an up and coming new T.V. show.

He has also had the pleasure of performing with Joe Piscoppo and Vocalist Debra Toscano. Frank has performed many steady engagements at many prominent clubs in the Tri-State area such as the Playboy Club, North Hempstead Country Club, Rockland Country Club and many more. Currently you can hear Frank perform solo at the Magnanini Winery & also in concert with the newly formed “Amazing Accordion Kings”. Among his accomplishments Frank arranged, conducted, and performed on three great CD’s. “Accordion To Frank”, a solo CD which embraces the flavor of Traditional styled music laced with a hint of Modern Jazz paying homage to his Accordion heritage. The “The Amazing Accordion Kings” Volumes One and Two were arranged, performed and conducted with two other great Accordionists, Angelo DiPippo and Manny Corallo. These latest CD’s contain compilations of Opera to Jazz. Frank Toscano, a true musician, a true professional...and most certainly a true artis

Frank says “The future of the accordion is bright, its a beautiful sound, and with modern technology, electronic accordions will help make it popular again.” Frank Toscano is an inspiration to all accordionists and demonstrates clearly that the accordion is a necessary and integral part of the world of music."

You are welcome to play your accordion. Please bring your instrument and play a few songs in the “open mic. segment” of the evening. Begin the New Year by joining the LIAA for an enjoyable evening of fine dining and accordion music. 

For more information on the LIAA meeting:

For further information on Frank Toscano: or
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