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


Editor's Note
Title: Karen Fremar Tribute and Dedication to Jeff Lisenby
Breaking News: Passing of Flory Jagoda
Closing date Extended: 2021 AAA Elsie M. Bennett Composition Competition for Aspiring Composers
Children's Corner Features Gia Ciccone
2021 NAA Convention is Cancelled
Joey Miskulin "Back To Slovenia" is Officially Released.
"Accordion Star International 2021" Virtual Contest/Festival, April 2021
The "K" Trio
Lauren Brody, Klezmer Musician, Composer and More!
2021 "Not Just Oompah!" Concert/Workshops with Elena and Gregory Fainshtein
Hector Del Curto with Boston Symphony Orchestra Until February 20
Evan Perry-Giblin Releases New Instructional Manual on Left Hand
Alicia Jo Straka Brings Happiness to the World With Her Accordion

Voci Armoniche

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

Megumi Hada Releases Original Compositions for Accordion
Jeanne Velonis Introduces her new CD, “New York Dronescape”
Squeeze Play VIP Monthly Concerts with Kim and Dan Christian
Dr. William Schimmel to Present New Seven Hour Virtual Work
Accordion Youth Summit (AYS)
Online Now!: January 31st Cory Pesaturo and Vibrato Jazz Concert
Have You Seen the Documentary "Accordions Rising"?
90 Year Old Accordionist Plays "La Cumparsita"
In Spite of His Disabilities, Franklin Nichols Excels on the Accordion

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Future events

2021 Coupe Mondiale Rules and Regulations Released

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
Welcome to the February USA news. Read interesting articles and view videos of new recordings, concerts, instructional books, workshops, live and online performances and more!

Special thanks to Karen Fremar for granting permission to put two videos online, one a historical recording of her performing with Jeff Lisenby (US Champ Duo in Concert). The other video is dedicated by Karen to Jeff.

The US Accordion Champions Karen Fremar and Jeff Lisenby were recorded in Cedar Point, Ohio on July 24,1976. The duo performed the concert before a packed house of nearly 1,000 people. To hear Karen and Jeff perform together is truly memorable and inspiring.

As of February 2021, the USA news includes a new section: “Children’s Corner” in which we will feature our young upcoming accordionists. Children up to age 14 are eligible for this section of the news. You are welcome to submit, for possible publication, news items about your special students including videos, reports and photos to:

Please submit the information before the 26th of the month for a 1st of the month publication.

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Title: Karen Fremar Tribute and Dedication to Jeff Lisenby

by Harley Jones
Video 1:

Video 2:
Video 1: When We All Get to Heaven - Fremar & Adami Accordion/Piano Duo
Dedicated to Jeff Lisenby, my great accordion duo partner from years ago who sadly passed away on January 6, 2021, from Covid. "Sing and Shout the Victory" ~ you will live on through your music, my friend. With love, Karen

Video 2: Karen Fremar and Jeff Lisenby - US Champion Accordion Duo in Concert

A rare digitized recording of a live concert for the International Music Association by featured concert artists and US Accordion Champions Karen Fremar and Jeff Lisenby in Cedar Point, Ohio on July 24,1976. The duo performed the featured concert before a packed house of nearly 1,000 persons after judging competitions and writing comments for 5 days of competitions.

The duo often performed in concert with Gary Smith on drums (who is pictured in many of the photos of various performances, but did not travel to Ohio for this concert).

Jeff and Karen won the US Champion Duo AAA Accordion Title in Chicago in 1974 and also represented the United States in the Coupe Mondiale World Accordion Championships in Stockholm, Sweden in 1974.

They performed and arranged together as the duo team, "Karen and Jeff" from the early 1970s until 1977, appearing in numerous engagements in Kansas City and throughout the U.S. in cities such as Chicago, St. Louis, Topeka, Omaha, Fort Scott, Cedar Point, Wichita, Des Moines, Washington D.C. and L.A., as well as in Sweden and Denmark.

There are no known videos of their performances together. Until the sad passing of Jeff, they both performed, composed, and arranged professionally -- Jeff in Nashville and Karen in Kansas City.

Program (All duo arrangements for two accordions by Fremar and Lisenby):
Don't Rain on My Parade
Stevie Wonder Medley
Games People Play
Begin the Beguine (arr. after a concert performance by Bill Palmer and Bill Hughes)
Shop Around
Love Will Keep Us Together
The Sound of Music Selections (arr. for duo from an orchestra arr. by Palmer and Hughes)
Sing a Song - Make Your Own Kind of Music
Selections from My Fair Lady (from a duo arrangement by Palmer & Hughes)
Encore - Kansas City

Further pictures, videos and information:

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

Breaking News: Passing of Flory Jagoda

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Video 1: Documentary Trailer: Flory's Flame

Video 2: Flory Jagoda Library of Congress Concert
Flory's FlameLibrary of CongressVideo 1: Documentary Trailer: Flory's Flame

Video 2:

AWW is sad to learn of the passing of Flory Jagoda on January 29, 2021 at the age of 97. Jagoda was a Jewish American and Bosnian accordionist, guitarist, composer and singer.

She is known for her interpretation of Ladino songs. Flory was born in the city of Sarajevo, once a rich hub of Sephardic Jewish life in the Balkans. She was able to survive the horrors of the Holocaust and dedicated her life to reviving her native Ladino language through her beautiful music.

Known by many as the grande dame of Ladino song, her voice has traveled throughout the world and impacted so many communities. She leaves behind an incredible legacy of joy and love for the beauty of Sephardic identity and language. She was intent on preserving and passing on the traditions of her heritage so that they may not be tragically forgotten. 

How the accordion saved her life: When the Nazis invaded Yugoslavia in April 1941, her step-father (whom Flory referred to as her father) put 16-year-old Flory on a train to Split using false identity papers and removing the Jewish star from her coat. On the train she played her accordion ("hamoniku" in Serbo-Croatian) all the way to Split (at that time controlled by the Italians), with other passengers and even the conductor singing along; she was never asked for her ticket.

Her parents joined her in Split several days later, and after a brief sojourn there they and other Jews who had escaped the Nazis were moved to various islands off the Croatian coast.

Flory and her parents were sent to the island of Korcula, where they lived until fall 1943. Following the Italian capitulation the Jews on Korcula went by fishing boats to Bari, Italy, which had recently been liberated by the British army.

While in Italy, she met and fell in love with an American soldier named Harry Jagoda. She arrived in the United States as a war bride in 1946, going first to Harry's hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, and later moving to Northern Virginia where she lived. (excerpts from Wikipedia)

The Sephardic community of Sarajevo and its surrounding communities were nearly obliterated during World War II. Jagoda's recording Kantikas Di Mi Nona (Songs of My Grandmother) consists of songs her grandmother, a Sephardic folksinger, taught her as a young girl.

Following the release of her second recording, Memories of Sarajevo, she recorded La Nona Kanta (The Grandmother Sings), songs she herself wrote for her grandchildren.

In her 90s, Flory stated that Arvoliko: "The Little Tree", released in 2006, would be her final solo recording. The tree, located in Bosnia, is said to be the only marker of the mass grave of 42 massacred members of the Altaras family. She referred to her four recordings as representing the four musical stages of her life.

In 2006 she also released a series of duets with Ramón Tasat, Kantikas de amor i vida: Sephardic Duets.

Ladino, or Judeo-Espanyol, the language of the Sephardim, is in danger of extinction but it is experiencing a minor revival among Sephardic communities, especially in music. Jagoda was a leader in this revival.

In 2002 she received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts for her efforts in passing on the tradition of Sephardic songs sung in Ladino.[9] In 2002, Ankica Petrovic produced a documentary film about Flory and her story. In the fall of 2013 a gala celebration concert honoring Flory's 90th birthday was held in Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress. Flory was joined on stage by more than twenty of her students, colleagues, and family members.

The concert was filmed by JEMGLO, which used portions of the concert interspersed with interviews with Flory, her family members, and several of her disciples and musical colleagues for the documentary "Flory's Flame." Her music is known and sung by many musicians around the world, but especially by her apprentice, Susan Gaeta, as a soloist and with Trio Sefardi (Gaeta, Tina Chancey, Howard Bass), and her student, Aviva Chernick.

Titano Accordion Company

Closing date Extended: 2021 AAA Elsie M. Bennett Composition Competition for Aspiring Composers

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
AAA Logo
Elsie M. BennettThe closing date for the American Accordionists' Association (AAA) 2021 Elsie M. Bennett Composition Competition for Aspiring Composers has been extended to February 15th, 2021.

Elsie M. Bennett was the driving force behind the AAA’s Composers Commissioning Committee, and was successful in getting the most famous of contemporary composers to write for the accordion. Among them were Robert Russell Bennett, Paul Creston, Robert Baksa, Lucas Foss, Alexander Tcherepnin, and so many more. A complete list is included on the AAA website at You can also see a list of previous winners.

This competition is in her memory and the AAA encourages contemporary composers to include writing for the accordion in their repertoire. Application forms are included with this article and can be found on the website as well.

Winners will be notified by email on or about March 1st, 2021.

Download Information, Awards, Regulations and Entry Form at: 2021Bennett.pdf

Voci Armoniche

Children's Corner Features Gia Ciccone

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Gia Ciccone and Mario Tacca
Video: Gia Ciccone Accordionist performs Boum Musette -(Jo & E. Basile) arr. By Mario Tacca

During these difficult times, it is always uplifting to witness the musical talents and progress of young people. Gia Ciccone is such a person, talented, motivated and always willing to share her musical talents with others. For these reasons, I thought our readers would enjoy her performance when she performed for the Mary Tokarski Zoom Concert on November 15, 2020.

Gia’s proud dad is AAA President, Dr. Joseph Ciccone, who also performs with the Hudson Valley Accordion Ensemble. The great Carmen Carrozza was her uncle. Her teacher is former US Virtuoso Champion Mario Tacca. (Photo above)

Gia Ciccone, is an 8th grade student at Somers Middle School in Somers,NY. She started taking accordion lesson at the age of 5 with her Great Uncle Maestro Carmen Carrozza. Gia has consistently entered and won many prizes at the American Accordionists' Association's Annual Festival/Competitions.

Gia has participated in The AAA's Youth Orchestra under the direction of Mary Tokarski and has been featured as a Guest Artist for: Mario Tacca & Mary Mancini’s “A Candlelight Christmas Concert", Connecticut Accordion Association, Carmen Carrozza Scholarship Fundraiser Events, Valtaro Reunion, Mario Tacca AAA’s Life Achievement Award Concert, Feast of St Joseph the Worker, AAA's Youth Outreach Program, Hudson Valley Accordion Ensemble, Accordion Pops Orchestra and 2019 American Accordionists’ Association’s Gala Banquet/Concert.

Gia is the first student accordionist to receive The DeBellis School of Performing Arts Music Scholarship on May 19, 2019 and was the First Place Winner of the 2019 Carmen Carrozza Scholarship Competition Jr Division which took place in King of Prussia PA July 16, 2019 at the American Accordionists’ Association Annual Festival/ Competitions.

AWW will continue to feature young accordionists each month in the Children's Corner. You may send information about your talented students to for consideration to be included in this section.

For further information about Gia:

Accordion Jazz Chords

2021 NAA Convention is Cancelled

by Norman Seaton, NAA President
Norman SeatonAfter careful consideration and weighing up the current situation, we decided to cancel the 2021 Convention.There just aren't enough people vaccinated right now. We don't want our convention attendees endanger, especially since many of our members and guests are in the higher Corona risk age group.

I know many of us are disappointed, but it is important to us to be able to welcome you all again next year in good health!
Stay Safe!

For further information, watch the site: NAA


Joey Miskulin "Back To Slovenia" is Officially Released.

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Joey Miskulin
Joey's friendsSlovenian friendsJoey Miskulih’s latest recording is now available. Click on the link to listen to clips and find purchase sites:

Joey said, “This CD was made during a week long studio session in Slovenia. My most requested songs were translated into Slovenian and I was joined by amazingly talented Slovenian singers and musicians. After all my recordings, Grammy Awards, and Halls of Fame, I am finally able to present “Back to Slovenia” I hope you enjoy it as much as we all did during its recording.”

Joseph M. Miskulin is a hall of fame accordionist and producer of Grammy Award-winning music albums. In a music career spanning more than four decades, Joey Miskulin has collaborated with a range of artists including Paul McCartney, John Denver, Ricky Skaggs, Andy Williams, Ricky Van Shelton, Emmylou. Joey Miskulin received the AAA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019 for his many musical contributions.

Info by Steve Kurutz: "When accordionist Joey Miskulin did a tour of duty with "America's Polka King" Frank Yankovic, by traveling the country at the age of 13, he began a professional career that now includes playing on several gold and platinum albums, as well as three grammy award winning releases. Miskulin, a native of Chicago, was a child prodigy, joining his first band at the age of 11.

By 13 he was traveling with the above-mentioned Yankovic, who was a Columbia recording artist at the time, and had already appeared on a record. After playing on a syndicated tv polka show based in Cleveland, Miskulin eventually made the move to Nashville. There he befriended Jack Clement who helped him get session work. Over the years Miskulin has played with Townes Van Sandt, Garth Brooks, Ricky Skaggs and U2 among others. Miskulin has also began producing and arranging, cutting records for Michael Martin Murphey, Riders in the Sky and his own band, Joey Miskulin & the International Festival Orchestra."

Joey Miskulin is one of Cleveland-Style Polkas’ greatest pillars of musical talent. In his most memorable role, Joey, the child prodigy discovered by Chicago’s Roman Possedi, became Frank Yankovic’s featured accordionist at age thirteen, beginning an association that would last over thirty-five years. Frank’s insistence that Joey be included in a Columbia recording session cemented Joey’s decision to make music his career.

Broadening his experience, Joey became in the 1970’s became a studio musician and producer, performing on bass, piano, banjo, guitar, organ, accordion, and as a vocalist. All the while, Joey maintained his love affair with Cleveland -Style Polkas, playing and recording with Yankovic and Cleveland -Style orchestras. In 1978, Joey opened Miskulin’s Lounge, reviving a venue that housed some of Cleveland’s most famous polka clubs. Teaming up with the legendary Lou Trebar, Joey formed the Mis-Tre Orchestra. Joey hosted various TV shows, including his very own Polka Time U.S.A. In 1985 Miskulin produced the first Grammy-winning polka album, Frank Yankovic’s 70 Years of Hits. Among Joey’s many compositions "I Wanna Call You Sweetheart" was designated a Great All-Time Polka Hit. Joey moved to Nashville in 1987 for his other love, Western music as Joey the Cowpolka King.

Since the 1970s, Joey Miskulin has recorded with the likes of Paul McCartney, U2, John Denver, Ricky Skaggs, Andy Williams, Ricky Van Shelton, Emmylou Harris, Frankie Yankovic, Garth Brooks, to name but some. Also a singer, arranger, and producer, Joey Miskulin is well known for performing country music as ‘Joey the Cowpolka King’ with the band Riders in the Sky and polkas with Frankie Yankovic, but his versatility extends into jazz, evidenced by his album, ‘The Other Side of the Fence’. He created ‘Accordion Styles and Techniques’ video/DVD, which was the first video of its kind. Miskulin’s production credits include ‘Toy Story’ for Disney/Pixar, and rin Shanghai, China, where he worked with the Walt Disney Company.

Physical CDs will be available on Amazon, CD Baby and several other sites soon. Joey shares, “I just received a shipment, and if you’d like to purchase the actual CD, send $15.00 via Venmo (Musicwagon) or PayPal (Musicwagon), or mail a check or money order for $15.00 includes S&H and make sure to include your address to:
Miskulin / Slovenia
8212 Kirtland Chardon Road
Kirtland, OH 44094
CD cover

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

"Accordion Star International 2021" Virtual Contest/Festival, April 2021

by Pamela Tom
SergeiAll accordionists are invited to participate in the 1st online Accordion Star International Competition 2021 to be held from April 16th to 25th, 2021.

This is an opportunity for young and talented accordionists from all over the world to showcase their art to a wide audience of music lovers and professional musicians. President of the festival is performer Sergei Teleshev (picture left).

In addition to the competitive program, the festival will feature concert performances, master classes, interviews and presentations by members of the jury and guests of the festival.

The international jury will include famous performers, teachers, composers, conductors, producers from the USA, Canada, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Serbia, Germany, Sweden, England, France, Israel, South Africa and other countries. The Chairman of the jury is People's Artist of Russia, Viatcheslav Semionov.

The jury will name the winners in 11 categories (including Bach Music Award, Accordion Star 37+ years) and age groups. Prizes for winners will be awarded. All ASI 2021 competitors will be awarded diplomas for their participation in the competition indicating the average score and position in ASI 2021’s world ranking.

Join "Accordion Star International 2021" on Facebook and YouTube on April 16-25, 2021. The detailed program and schedule of the competition will be published on the ASI 2021 Facebook page.

Competitors should upload their video to YouTube, pay a fee and apply by April 7, 2021.

For further details, contact Sergei via:
Accordion Star

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

The "K" Trio

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
K Tio
Video 1:

K TrioVideo 1: Connecticut Accordion Association - The “K” Trio perform at Seven Angels Theater on January 30, 2005. This video is from Marilyn O'Neil’s collection.

Video 2: The "K" Trio performs at the 1999 AAA Festival. Selections include: “Jolly Caballero”, “Carnival of Venice”, “Accordiana” excerpts. Thanks to Cory Pesaturo who found the tape in his home movies. His father had filmed the event.

The "K" Trio performed all over the United States and were truly a trio of champions. Siblings Mary Kasprzyk Tokarski, Julie Kasprzyk Cardona and Walter Kasprzyk performed nationwide in competitions and concerts as youngsters. As young adults, life moved them to different areas of the United States! After 25 years apart, they all relocated to Connecticut again, and soon after began performing as The "K" Trio.

Sadly, Julie Kasprzyk Cardona, 72, of North Haven, USA passed away unexpectedly on January 15th, 2021 at her home. She was a member of the K Trio, AAA,
 American Accordionists' Association and the Connecticut Accordion Association. You can read more about her in the January news.

Julie represented the United States in the Coupe Mondiale in Holland (1967), England (1968) and New York City (1969). Mary also represented the United States in the Coupe Mondiale in Belgium (1971) and France (1973). Walter captured the Connecticut State Championship Title in 1966, 1967 and 1968, and went on to be a contender for the United States Championship many times thereafter. As a duet team, Mary and Julie held the duet championship in the United States for over 12 years without being defeated. As soloists, as a duet team, and as a trio, they performed both classical and contemporary music in concert and performances all over the United States and have cumulatively earned over 450 trophies and awards during their years in competition.

I had the great privilege to hear the "K" Trio perform many times at accordion festivals in the USA. All who heard them realized they were in the presence of greatness, special moments in musical history. How often can you hear not one but three siblings, each who are champions and performers on his own, perform together?

The programs were entertaining, educational, inspirational and fun. I left the programs motivated to practice more, and, I believe the K Trio inspired generations of accordionists to persevere to do their best. Even if we cannot attain the same level of virtuosity that the K Trio possessed, we can still try to achieve our own potential while enjoying our accordion.

A picture is worth a thousand words as the saying goes. When you see the above video, you will be impressed in the way the "K" Trio brought out the best in themselves and their beloved instrument… the accordion.

Here are some quotes over the years from Colleagues and Audiences about the "K" Trio:
Pietro Deiro, Jr. (Lee), Composer, Accordionist, President of the former Pietro Deiro Music Headquarters in NYC, Board of Directors, American Accordionists' Association - July 30, 1998: ”The capital K stands for the "knockout" accordion trio of all times! I want to extend my feelings to all of you for your creatively conceived, wonderful performances. I truly enjoy the interwound arrangements of the many accordion famous selections; chosen for each special occasion. I look forward to your appearances with a "What now?" attitude to be flawlessly presented. You deserve a mountain of applause."

Joan Cochran Sommers - Professor and Assistant Dean, UMKC Conservatory of Music, Kansas City, Missouri: "Do you know how good you have to be to make it look THAT easy????It has been my pleasure to hear a variety of chamber groups from all over the world for many years, and I am confident The "K" Trio ranks among the best. The three accordionists play with musicianship rarely displayed by musicians of any kind. They also convey a new image of their instrument to everyone fortunate enough to hear them. There are no stars in this group; each person is an artist performer with technique to spare. Their large concert repertoire is comprehensive and exciting. It will appeal to audiences of all kinds. The charm and ease with which they communicate enhance all of their performances. I hope many more people have the opportunity to enjoy their music making in the near future.”

Tania Lukic-Marx, CD reviewer, Accordions Worldwide Website: "This trio comes as a real refreshment. Consisting of two accordions and a bass accordion, this ensemble performs light style music, light classical as well as popular style. Technically competent, tonally clear and crisp, their performance is spirited, emotional and involving. As an ensemble, they achieved great balance and togetherness which is a clear sign of high professional ability. Their repertoire is very various and entertaining. My favorite track would be "Casey Jones" where the train effect is absolutely superb, and I cannot fault it from beginning to end."

Jodi Levine, Recreation Director, Jewish Home for the Aged: "What a pleasure it was to have you and the "K" Trio with us! The residents had a wonderful afternoon filled with such wonderful music! Hope you can join us again . . . thanks!"

Matt Christie, Composer, Pianist - Stamford, CT:"The 'K' Trio was the Creme de la Creme of today's concert!" "I am grateful to have made your acquaintance and to have heard your group at a live performance. I have a high regard for the musicianship your group displayed at the concert."

Anthony GallaRini, Composer, Concert Artist, Conductor -- San Marcos, CA - November 30, 1998: "The entire CD is impeccable! First of all, you have achieved great variety in the selections chosen. All of your interpretations are beyond reproach as well as having executed complete accuracy in all performances. Of course the 'Creme de la Creme' would be the "Danse Macabre". . . The three of you are to be congratulated in producing a very fine CD."

Ward Davenny, Professor Emeritus, Yale University, New Haven, CT - October, 1999: ”You're going to hear a familiar piece with new sounds. (Mozart's Piano Quartet K. 478) I'm sure if Mozart had heard these consummate musicians, he would have written music for them!"

Louis S. Iorio - Conductor of the Sano Symphony, Director of the Iorio School of Music, NJ, President of Sano Corporation of West Orange, NJ: “The "K" Trio consistenly gives a delightful performance. Playing arrangements that vary from classical ensembles to broadway favorites, this accoridon trio is well-rehearsed and extremely well-balanced. As if the smooth harmonies and enchanting melodies weren't enough, the "K" Trio displays a fantastic stage presence. Great music, well-orchestrated performers and strong showmanship, the "K" Trio is simply entertaining!"

Jacob Neupauer - Professor of Music at Coombs College, Pennsylvania: ”The "K" Trio . . . where technic, intelligence, emotion and talent form a perfect marriage of artistry! The choice of selections are always exciting and in good taste. The classics are well-respected in every detail . . . with authentic arrangements, and a new and delightful sound. When I first heard The "K" Trio, I wanted more!”

For more fascinating details view the website at: K Trio

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

Lauren Brody, Klezmer Musician, Composer and More!

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Lauren Brody
Video: Lauren Brody performs her “Bulgarushkovo_Klezmer-Bulgarian Mashup”
Lauren says, “ Composing is fun! Here's a klezmer/Bulgarian mashup I wrote.”

Lauren Brody is an accordionist, singer, researcher, professional piano tuner/technician and Fulbright scholar from New York City. She is a pioneer of the klezmer music revival in the United States and a founding member of the groundbreaking band "Kapelye", formed in 1979. She has toured, recorded and appeared on TV and film with Kapelye, and with the seminal all-female ensemble “Mikveh”. Lauren has played the with The Klezmatics, Andy Statman, Michael Winograd, David Krakauer, Alicia Svigals, Frank London, Merlin and Polina Shepherd and many other klezmer luminaries.

Excerpts from her website: Lauren was a trailblazer in the domestic Balkan music scene and was the first female gadulka player in the United States. Lauren was an original member of the first Bulgarian traditional folk orchestra “Pitu Guli”, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1970 and has taught and performed at EEFC’s Balkan Camp, Klezkamp, KlezCalifornia, KlezKanada, Ashkenaz, Yidstock, Yiddish New York. She also toured and recorded with the “Yuri Yunakov Ensemble” and the “Ivan Milev Balkan Folk Band”.

Lauren was the recipient of a Bulgarian Government stipend to study Bulgarian folk music during the Communist period, from 1971-73, at the Bulgarian Conservatory of Music in Sofia. As a Fulbright scholar to Bulgaria in 1990 she conducted research on the commercial recording industry and folk music, and released two acclaimed reissues of 78 rpm recordings. “Song of the Crooked Dance” (1998, Yazoo Records) is a single-disc recording with detailed historical information, pictures and song texts. “Outsinging the Nightingale” (2010, JSP Records) is a 4-disc, 100-track collection with individual historical and informational booklets. For information on her seminal research on Bulgarian folk music visit the website:

Lauren continues to perform, with a particular accent on composing new music for her own Balkan/Klezmer-inspired solo project “Lauren Brody’s Accordion Bytes”, as “Tsoyber” with Yiddish singer Susan Leviton, and with the Bulgaria-based accordion duo Brody-Stoikov.

Lauren kindly answered the following questions which reveals much valuable information about her background and talents:
When did you start learning the accordion?
I tried to convert my classical piano keyboard skills to the piano accordion when I was about 20, but, as you know, the skillset is totally different. And I'm still learning.

Who was your accordion teacher and how did he/she influence your life?
I am entirely self taught on accordion, although I have taken a few lessons over the years with masters in Bulgaria and Serbia -most notably Petar Ralchev of Bulgaria, Vlada Panovic of Serbia, and Sergiu Popa of Moldova, but living in Montreal. Balkan music is highly ornamented, and the technical challenges  presented when playing it require commitment and a lifetime of practice. Each one of the players I name above have inspired me to strive not only for technical  excellence but for stylistic accuracy and sensitivity. The work continues to this day.

When was your first public performance?
I was about 21 when I made my first appearance with an accordion on a stage.  But I didn't start performing in earnest until I joined the klezmer band "Kapelye" in 1979.

What kind of accordion do you use?
I have a Siwa & Figli 41/120 bass LMMH piano accordion, and a Ballone Burini with the same parameters.

What musical projects are you currently working on?
I continue to compose for my own solo project "Lauren Brody's Accordion Bytes", and to work on my project with Yiddish singer Susan Leviton "Tsoyber". I am looking foward to playing at Yidstock, and teaching and playing at EEFC's Balkan Music and Dance Workshops when they resume in the post-Covid era. I am preparing a series of podcasts about my Bulgarian historical 78s research called "Song of the Crooked Dance Presents:", and I have a few online projects in the pipeline. I am also updating my website and

Where did you get your musical education?
I graduated from Music & Art High School in New York, got a BA in music from CCNY, and did graduate work in ethnomusicology at SUNY Binghampton. I did graduate work at the Conservatory of Music in Sofia, Bulgaria.

How do you feel about young musicians today, should they learn the accordion, is there relevance to todays music?
Young musicians today have an amazing array of resources to draw from that are easily available with the simple click of a mouse. YouTube, Soundcloud, and all the other internet resources - these riches were not available to me or to my generation. I envy the current generation for their easy access to these treasures, but I would not trade my fieldwork experiences and onsite personal learning for anything in the world.  I love the accordion, and it is a fabulously versatile instrument which is welcome in many styles of music around the world. It has enriched my life in every way.  Would I encourage young musicians today to play accordion?? Emphatically yes!!

Photo by Petar Kremenarov

For further information: or

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

2021 "Not Just Oompah!" Concert/Workshops with Elena and Gregory Fainshtein

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Elena and Gregory FainshteinVideo: Elena and Gregory Fainshtein, TEDx Mountain View College

Due to Texas weather and energy, and soon to be water issues, the Not Just Oom-Pah! Concert and Workshop series will postpone events ONE WEEK!

Therefore, the Concert with Elena and Gregory Fainstein will be Saturday, February 27, 2021, at 3:00 to 4:00 pm Central Time on Elena's Facebook page, and the
Workshop with Elena will be Monday, March 1 and Tuesday, March 2 at 7:00 - 9:30 pm each night. You can still sign up for the workshop.

The weather, power, and water issues facing all of Texas are considerable. So many of us have no or infrequent power (which includes internet and heat, and sometimes cooking appliances), heating issues (gas may not come on because of no heat, and those with heat must conserve gas due to low supplies), water (freezing pipes, low pressure, pumping stations closing down), etc. Temperatures will not climb out of the freezing range till this Friday or Saturday, and we don't know how long the other problems will last. Anxiety runs very high here in Texas. But, we are Texans, so we'll find a way...

Please remember, that if you cannot attend these dates, we will be recording the Zoom sessions and will send the replay link to all participants. We will ask Elena to convert the concert to You Tube after the performance, and hope to get a link from her.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Not Just Oompah! (NJO) will host an online concert and workshops with Elena and Gregory Fainshtein in February, 2021. You are invited to attend the concert and also register to attend the Accordion Workshop! Join others from across USA and Internationally who will be attending the Zoom Workshops with Elena Fainshtein and watching the Concert presented by Elena & Gregory Fainshtein, classically trained accordion musicians originally from Belarus, Russia.

Not Just Oompah! is offering a free Accordion Concert with Elena and Gregory Fainshtein on Saturday, February 20 @ 3-4 PM Central Time on Facebook. Donations are encouraged! The link is,/elena.fainshtein.5 Please join them for this wonderful performance by two very special accordion artists. We know that you will enjoy the program.   
Also, Not Just Oompah! is featuring a "Light Classical & Pop”  Accordion Workshop with Elena Fainshtein in two-day Zoom Workshops to be presented on Monday, February 22,2021 and Tuesday February 23 @ 7-9:30 PM Central Time.  All materials for the workshop will be delivered in Pdf format via email to registered participants. The cost for the workshop is $65 for each accordionist and Registration/Payment must be completed by Feb 20. Go to to download registration forms and make the online payments  via PayPal or Venmo, or print the forms and mail in your check.  
2021 Dates as follows:
• February 21st: free concert from 3:PM to 4:PM CST
• February 22nd and 23rd: Light Classical & Pop Workshops from 7:PM to 9.30 PM CST

Workshop attendees will learn:
• Different types of light classical music with some pop tunes in the mix, just for fun!
• Yes, a classical polka will be included as well
• Music that has beautiful expression for every audience
• How to express each note with emotion & to play with proper intonation
• To control the bellows & to articulate each note with clarity and expression
• Proper position & posture for playing the accordion
• Methods to reduce physical stress

Materials are designed for players at all levels and for all types of accordion (chromatic button accordion or piano accordion). Workshop registrations close on February 20th, 2021.

In the above TEDx Talk video, Elena explains how she lost her voice as a child and regained it through the gift of music. Elena and her husband Gregory, who are a part of the accordion movement, share their musical expertise in an awe-inspiring performance! Elena Fainshtein is a professional musician. Her instrument of choice from childhood has been the button accordion, traditionally known as bayan.

At the age of 17 at music college, she began playing as an accordion duo with her classmate, Gregory Fainshtein, who became her husband and music partner for life six years later. The two have performed nationally at various conventions and are actively engaged in introducing the accordion to younger generations who have never been introduced to this unique instrument in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

For further details email:

Titano Accordion Company

Hector Del Curto with Boston Symphony Orchestra Until February 20

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Hector Del CurtoVideo: Hector Del Curto Promo Video featuring his CD "Eternal Piazzolla"

The Stowe Tango Music Festival announces an online concert by Hector Del Curto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The concert will be available online free of charge from January 21st to February 20th, 2021. Their program includes “Aleppo Songs” (selection) by Kareem Roustom, “Aconcagua - Concerto for bandoneon and orchestra” by Piazzolla, “Symphony Mathis der Maler” by Hindemith and “Warmth From Other Suns” by Carlos Simon.

Hector shares, “I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to be the first bandoneon player to perform with the great Boston Symphony conducted by Maestro Thomas Wilkins. Here is Astor Piazzolla's “Bandoneon Concerto” recorded at the Symphony Hall on December 2020 and streamed until February 20th 2021. Astor Piazzolla was born in 1921, 100 years ago this year, and brought Tango to the greatest concert halls and orchestras in the world, and now we can include BSO!”

Born into a family of bandoneon players, Mr. Del Curto was introduced to the world of Tango and bandoneon by his grandfather, Héctor Cristobal. By the age of 17, he had won the title "Best Bandoneon Player Under 25" in Argentina, and was invited to join the orchestra of the legendary Osvaldo Pugliese, the "Last Giant of Tango."

In 1999, Mr. Del Curto received the Golden Note Award from the Italian–American Network in recognition of his artistic achievements. As a music director, he directed the spectacular show Forever Tango on Broadway and founded the Eternal Tango Orchestra, a ten piece ensemble. Since the Lincoln Center début in 2003, the Eternal Tango Orchestra (now the Hector Del Curto Tango Orchestra) returned to Lincoln Center for three more engagements and performed at other various venues including the Skirball Center for Performing Arts.

Héctor Del Curto's recordings include performances with Osvaldo Pugliese and his orchestra and Astor Piazzolla and the New Tango Sextet on "Finally Together" (Lucho Records), Pablo Ziegler on the albums "Asphalt" and "Quintet for the New Tango" (BMG), "Tango Magic" (Sony Music–USA) on video and DVD and "Tango and All That Jazz" (Kind of Blue Records), Fernando Otero X– Tango on the album "Plan" and Luis Borda Cuarteto on "Linea de Tango" (Jazz and Fusion Records).

Mr. Del Curto was a guest artist in numerous recordings such as Latin music legend, Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri´s Grammy Award–winning collaboration "Masterpiece" (RMM), renowned mezzo-soprano, Denyce Graves´ "The Lost Days" (BMG), Paquito D´Rivera´s "Funk Tango", Manhattan Transfer´s "Vibrate" (Telarc), Roy Nathanson´s "Fire at the Keaton´s Bar and Grill" (featuring Elvis Costello, Cyrus Chestnut and Deborah Harry, on the label Six Degrees), Ricardo Arjona´s "Santo Pecado" (Sony International), and Shakira´s "Laundry Services" (BMG)

For details email:
For further information:

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

Evan Perry-Giblin Releases New Instructional Manual on Left Hand

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Evan Perry-GiblenAccordionists! Here are some new tricks for you! “Stradella Xtensions” is an instruction manual all about combining buttons in the left hand to interpret chord symbols - great for creating diverse arrangements and getting the most out of your machine. Check it out! Evan says, “Here is my new ebook “Stradella Xtensions!” It shows you how to add depth to your accordion playing by interpreting harmony in the left hand!”

Evan is an accordionist, arranger, composer, and teacher. He is influenced by a multitude of different musical styles and also by computer science. He previously worked at Liberty Bellows, Main Squeeze, and was the proprietor of Brooklyn Bellows. He is currently living out the age of quarantine in Scranton, PA.

How did you get interested the accordion? When did you start learning the accordion?
I started as a pianist, and was really into playing Music from around the globe. When it came to genres like Klezmer the accordion was an irreplaceable instrument. So, I found an accordion on Craigslist and was fascinated by the tone and versatility it offered. There was a certain practicality as well, it being both an acoustic and portable instrument.

Who was your accordion teacher and how did he/she influence your life?
I've worked in accordion stores over the years and have come in contact with many accordionists. I've watched them play and learned from each one. I've also taken lessons from Dallas Vietty and Rob Curto, two very inspiring accordionists.

When was your first public performance?
My first accordion gig was at a bar on South Street in Philly. Some friends and I had a basement band and we played original songs. Even though I was underage, I was eager to perform.

What kind of accordion do you use?
I play a 37/120 LMMM Brandoni Supermusette. I made some adjustments to the reeds and added a mute under the grill. It is about 8 years old now, and it sounds great and the mechanics are still working smoothly.

What musical projects are you currently working on?
I've been studying Signal Processing for Sound Design and working on developing a counterpoint theory for sorting algorithms. These can be useful in generative composition and the gamificiation of music.

Where did you get your musical education?
I've studied music since the second grade and played various instruments over the years until I found the accordion. At Temple University I minored in music, and took music classes abroad in Argentina. An apprenticeship at Liberty Bellows showed me how the accordion works inside and out. Mainly, I have  learned through experimentation, from clients, friends, and by carefully transcribing and studying various genres.

How do you feel about young musicians today, should they learn the accordion, is there relevance to todays music?
I would encourage young musicians to start on accordion and there are a number of places that they can begin. Students I have taught have been interested in learning from many genres, including Classical, Jazz, French, Funk, Indie, Reggae, and Folk Music from around the world. Any one of these can be a starting point. Also, as a digital instrument, the accordion can sound like anything and offers an intuitive interface. 

If there is anything additional that you would like to say to accordionists?
There are no rules in music - be aware of conventions and break them when you need to.

For further information: 

Gary Daverne CD's and eSheet music available online

Alicia Jo Straka Brings Happiness to the World With Her Accordion

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Alicia Jo Straka
Video 1:
Video 2:
Video 1: "Just the Two of Us" featuring Alicia Jo Straka
Video 2: “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”

Accordionist/vocalist Alicia Jo Straka is always busy performing and bringing positive feelings to everyone during these difficult times. Alicia shares, “I got to play with some live musicians a couple weekends ago! Let's go 2021! Here is our jam take on the tune "Just the Two of Us" by Bill Withers” This was a socially distant, mask wearing, musical jam with some old and new musical pals from Colorado.

The venue is "Duke's Garage" in Westminster, CO.The band features:
- Piano and band leader: Scott Martin
- Bass: Gary Sloan
- Drums: Ed Breazeale

Watch Alicia’s wonderful interpretation of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”. Alicia said, “This Randy Newman classic feels extra pertinent these days as the USA becomes more and more divided. Let's work together to share love and actual care and sympathy for one another. “

Alicia Jo Straka, previously Alicia Baker, is a professional accordionist, pianist, and vocalist from Portland, OR, currently residing in Denver, CO. Alicia received 3 bachelor of arts degrees from Oregon State University and a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from University of Colorado, Boulder.

Throughout her years as a student, Alicia had the honor of being a sponsored accordion and piano artist for the prestigious company, Roland, and won many International accordion competitions. Most recently, Alicia had the honor of premiering a work featuring accordion and soprano voice at both the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, and Carnegie Weill Hall in New York.

Alicia’s repertoire spans a wide variety of musical genres, including; jazz, pop, french musettes, opera, folk songs, polkas, contemporary, classical, romantic, and techno. She is also a composer and often features her own arrangements in concert.

Alicia has created a unique show for her audiences by combining accordion with her accomplished voice. Known for accompanying herself on operatic arias, and playing modern styles like techno, pop, and jazz; she is passionate about reinventing the face of accordion in today’s world. Alicia currently spends her time teaching private students, performing, composing, and arranging.

Mark your calendars for February 24, 2021 @ 7:00 PM MST for another entertaining online event featuring Alicia Jo Straka:

For further information:

4 Music Books by Stas Venglevski

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

Amy Jo Sawyer CD titled According to Amy

Megumi Hada Releases Original Compositions for Accordion

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
MegrimThe new book, “Voyage”, with the CD of 18 original compositions by Megumi Hada for solo accordion has just been released. It is a wonderful collection of 18 pieces which offers a lyrical expressive repertoire for both students and performers. The interesting thing - this was Megumi's first attempt to compose in only one month after attending the workshop by Guy Klucevsek on “Introduction and Composing Music on and for Accordion”. Amazing! All compositions are performed by Stas Venglevski.

Megumi (Meg) Hada began studying the piano accordion in 2012 after she met Shelia Lee in her Pasadena (near Houston), TX accordion shop. Meg studied with Shelia, and Mario Pedone for 3 years. Receiving a scholarship to attend the 2015 Silver Falls Accordion Camp in Oregon opened the door to the accordion world and was a turning point for her. 

After being inspired by many accomplished accordionists and instructors at Silver Falls, she started attending many accordion events such as NAA, AAA, ATG, Cotati, and Las Vegas International Accordion Convention. Meg specializes in playing tango music and is an accomplished tango dancer as well. Currently, she studies under Mary Tokarski and Stas Venglevski.

Meg is an organizer of the Houston Accordion Orchestra Retreat. (See photo below) Stas Venglevski is Artistic Director. The Houston Retreat was held January 14-17, 2021 at Kemah Boardwalk Inn, TX. Megrim also promotes accordion concerts and workshops in Houston.

Meg shares her thoughts, “Playing accordion is a meditation for me. It helped me to go through my difficult time in my life, loosing my dance partner and life partner. Now accordion is my dance partner. I can express my emotions through the accordion.”

For further information:
Houston Accordion Retreat

Titano Accordion Company

Jeanne Velonis Introduces her new CD, “New York Dronescape”

by Joan Grauman, AAA Historian
Back of New York Dronescapes CD. Artwork by Jeanne’s daughter, Viola Velonis
Jeanne VelonisIt is my pleasure to write this article about my fellow AAA Governing Board member, whose expertise and enthusiasm for the accordion has enriched our efforts as a national organization tremendously!

Since 1995, Jeanne has been working with Grammy Award-winning recording producer, Judith Sherman. Their work is generally geared toward classical and classical-contemporary music. Jeanne’s understanding and appreciation of contemporary music, her recording knowledge, along with her remarkable skills on the accordion — an instrument she only began studying in 2009, has led her to the production of this exciting, just-released CD.

The idea for this CD, which was performed, produced, engineered and mastered by Jeanne, came from a desire to hear Bob Goldberg’s “Brooklyn Dronescape” from “the outside” (as opposed to from the inside, where she had experienced it in development and performance). Bachtopus Accordion Ensemble, of which Jeanne is a member, and the Famous Accordion Orchestra teamed up to perform the composition on a few occasions. Jeanne used six accordions to record this 38 minute totally mesmerizing piece!

After this successful recording, Jeanne decided to create a CD including two other drone pieces already in her repertoire: Vegetative States, by Peter Flint, and Music of Chants, composed for Jeanne by Guy Klucevsek. The fact that all three of these pieces were written in the 21st century by composers living in various boroughs of New York City was actually a total coincidence!

Peter Flint, a member of the accordion ensemble, Bachtopus, composed Vegetative States. His love of the natural world, especially trees and plant life, inspired this sweet, harmonic, calming piece which Jeanne plays brilliantly on two piano accordions and a bass accordion. The result brings to mind rich, blending organ pipes as well as the gentle sounds found in nature.

Jeanne had been attending Guy Klucevsek’s concerts for a while before introducing herself to him. Soon, she was producing an album for Guy, and he wanted to do something for her in return. “It would be lovely if you could compose a short piece for me,” was Jeanne’s request. Guy wrote a suite of three pieces for Jeanne, one of which is “Music of Chants”, in memory of John Cage. Guy knew that Jeanne was beginning to learn the free bass accordion, so he included two free bass pieces in the suite: Barcarolle and Music of Chants. “As the piece (Music of Chants) developed, I realized it was deceivingly difficult for free bass — certainly not your typical ‘introduction to the free bass’ type of piece”, Guy noted. “When presented with the piece, Jeanne was undeterred by its technical challenges. I coached her on the piece over several sessions, until she became more and more comfortable with it. Now, with this lovely recording of Music of Chants, Jeanne proves that she has made the piece her own.” Guy has created a truly beautiful tribute, with a melody that “weaves” gently through the drone in a lovely, harmonic way that makes you wish it would never end! (Note - Jeanne has produced three albums for Guy Klucevsek: Carousel of Dreams, Teetering on the Verge of Normalcy, and Vignettes.)

Jeanne grew up in Delaware, where she studied piano and danced in a Scottish country dance troupe. As an adult, Jeanne danced in an English Morris dance troupe and an English Longsword group. She majored in music at Haverford College in Pennsylvania. She currently studies accordion with Mary Tokarski. Now living in New York with her husband and three kids (all gifted in the arts!), the accordion has taken on a hugely important role in her life, and we are so lucky that it has!

Photo: Jeanne performing Scottish Highland dance, age 17 (girl closest to piper).
Photo: Back of New York Dronescapes CD.  Artwork by Jeanne’s daughter, Viola Velonis
Photo: Jeanne performing Scottish Highland dance, age 17 (girl closest to piper)

Jeff Lisenby CD A Spy In Tortuga

Squeeze Play VIP Monthly Concerts with Kim and Dan Christian

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Video: An awesome arrangement of a Richard Rogers standard, "Lover"

You can now experience World Class Accordion Artists, Dan and Kim Christian (Squeeze Play) Live, delivered directly to your home. With the magic of the internet, some amazing video production, lots of ingenuity and a dash of creativity, you will now have up close and personal concerts available on your computer screen, cell phone or smart TVs.

Each month, Squeeze Play will perform a private concert that will be available for VIP Concert of the Month Members Exclusively! The 2nd Saturday of each month at 2:PM will become the magical, energetic, amazing and just plain FUN virtual performance! You will start looking forward to this particular day every month! With a membership to the Concert of the Month Club, you receive a full, professionally produced themed Concert every month, and you also receive Technique Tips , Repertoire, a free downloadable Song of the Month , even a fun Recipe of the Month to go with the theme, and a favorite for many of our members is a weekly online gathering where accordionists from all over the world get together and share their love for music.

If you are unable to "attend" the performance time of 2:00, no worries! The concert will be available for 72 hours so you can enjoy it whenever it is convenient to you.Through this Concert series, Dan and Kim will be presenting a different genre and style of music each month that coincides with the holidays celebrated that month, so you can plan on a party or celebration while experiencing your live concert!

Along with the Theme of the Month, Squeeze Play will also deliver a few flashy and "showy" numbers so that the audience stays mesmerized and intrigued. In fact, as a bonus, there will be a World Premier of Dan’s latest and greatest arrangements performed each month!!

Kim Christian at a glance:
US National Champion (AAA)
Honorary Bronze Medal World Champion (Coupe Mondiale)
2 time RMAS Virtuoso Champion
AFNA Virtuoso Solo Champion
Accordion Major at Loretto Heights College in Denver, CO
Director of many accordion orchestras from Beginner to Virtuoso
Producer and Manager for "Music Makes the World Go Round," which celebrated an amazing 2 year run in Branson, MO.
Accordion teacher and educator for over 35 years

Dan Christian at a glance:
Four time Rocky Mountain Accordion Virtuoso Champion Winner
Winner of the Prestigious Anthony Galla-Rini traveling Trophy
Director of the US National Champion Accordion Orchestra with record of 1st Place wins across the country
Esteemed arranger and transcriber of music for accordion orchestra, duet and solo including works by Tschaikovsky, Dvorak, Saint Saens, Schubert and many others
Spotlighted solo accordionist for the premier run of 'La Curandera", the first opera to highlight the accordion as the principal instrument.
Arranger for the music for the Christian duo's original Branson production "Music Makes the World Go Round"
Accordion teacher and educator for over 40 years

To see fully produced concerts and get monthly technique lessons, monthly sheet music downloads and much more:

For further information:

Dr. William Schimmel to Present New Seven Hour Virtual Work

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
AAA Logo
Bill Schimmel“Tributaries” - a 7 Hour Work for Solo Accordion by William Schimmel. a set of pieces that explore the accordion in all facets, moods and styles will be presented and performed by Dr. William Schimmel - February 6, 13, 20, 27, March 6, 13 and 20, 2021 live streamed on YouTube from 3 to 4:PM EST - one hour concert per week $15 per concert or whatever is affordable - Specify which concert or concerts and a link will be sent prior.
1. Flow
2. Tributaries #1
3. Collide
4. Calm
5. Estuary
6. Current
7. Tributaries #2 -
Link to paypal:

Schimmel is the Artist in Residence of The American Accordionists' Association (AAA) where he also serves as Distinguished Lecturer in Residence and member of the Governing Board.

For further information email:

The International Trio, CD Available online, secure server

Accordion Youth Summit (AYS)

by Joseph Natoli
AYS Group
Accordion Youth Summit (AYS) had its very first successful and well attended kick-off meeting in 1/9/21. See the attached picture for some of the many faces that attended.

This first meeting certainly laid the foundation for the direction and accomplishments that will be on the immediate radar of this organization. It was attended by many selfless and accomplished accordionists, who all possess the same dedicated focus – to see our wonderful instrument in the hands of exponentially more youth across the US and the globe well into the future.

The first meeting was a great opportunity to get acquainted with each other, understand each person’s passion for this project, and get some high-level points of view on some of the parochial successes many of the participants have already had. The goal now will be to synergize and scale those parochial successes to a much more diverse and global reaching demographic.

In that context, the 2nd meeting of AYS will be on 2/14/21 at 4pm, where the following will be presented:
1. Four young people have been invited to discuss why they decided to study the accordion and what keeps them motivated to do so.

2. Five age diverse 15-minute presentations from our members which will include their perspectives on this effort as well as their own successes

3. A high-level view of AYS’s most critical strategic goals, that will become the foundation for the more detailed projects to be developed.

Anyone who has interest in participating in this noble cause to attract more youth to our instrument is welcome to reach out to Joe Natoli at to attend the next meeting on 2/14/21 at 4:PM. There are currently about 50 people in the organization and you are welcome to become one of them. We are not looking for just accordionists, but people from all walks of life and varied life experience who can complement and contribute in some way to our activities and our cause.

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

Online Now!: January 31st Cory Pesaturo and Vibrato Jazz Concert

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Cory PesaturoJazz ConcertCory Pesaturo hosted the online Vibrato Jazz Concert on January 31st, 2021 which featured a number of special guests. Cory Pesaturo (C Pez) has performed in many countries of the world and earned a degree as an accordion graduate of the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.

In 2017, he became a Guinness World Record Holder, as he flew to Austria to break the Marathon Accordion Record by playing for over 32 hours. He is also on the Board of Directors of the ATG. Cory keeps busy even during these pandemic times. In November 2020, Cory played / taught in Gr8 IDEAS 3.0, and was the Headline Performer for San Francisco Accordion Club's November Event. In December, 2020 he was the Featured Performer again at a Cotati Event, the 1st Winter Cotati Accordion Festival. The 2nd CD of the group Cory is a part of and helped to create, Outrospectives, is out with the 2nd Album:

Cory Pesaturo is always busy with unique musical events now online and soon to be live again. He stretches the boundaries of the capabilities of the accordion and is an inspiration to all, especially the younger generation of accordionists.

Here's the Concert, Now posted in Full HD:

For further information:

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

Have You Seen the Documentary "Accordions Rising"?

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Accordions Rising PosterRoberta Cantow shares, “Now that things are getting back to normal, we can all return to our "accordion love" and one very good way to do that is to watch Accordions Rising. Streaming all over and on Blu Ray. It is never too late. Need to calm down from all the excitement, worry and distress? Try streaming Accordions Rising, the music documentary, which celebrates the instrument, its music, its players and its lovers. Love is all we need is love.

The film came out at the end of 2015. If you have not seen it, it is still new and Accordions are still rising, as is their reputation!. Streaming now - so you can watch whenever your heart desires, It will offer comfort, Amazon Prime members can watch for free.

Calling All Accordion music lovers and afionados everywhere. Have you seen Roberta Cantow’s amazing documentary, “Accordions Rising”. “Accordions Rising” offers entertaining interviews, anecdotal commentary and both formal and informal music performances from celebrated accordionists, composers, and bands working in America today.

The film provides a tapestry of fascinating individuals, their attitudes, deep passions, and above all else, profound dedication to the instrument. You will learn that these musicians have an audience, from some of the hippest hideaways to the most sought after mainstream venues. The film makes clear that the accordion world includes everything from wacky and kitsch to sophisticated, serious, meditative and post-modern.

Roberta Cantow was recognized with her first 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 of 4 film works. 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 other awards and presentations.

Her films and videos have garnered several Best of Category Citations in film festivals around the country as well as an Award of Excellence for Dreamtime, in 2008 and Awards of Merit for Not a Still Life, and Accordions Rising, all in the documentary category, from the Accolade Competition. 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.

The film has received the following awards:
Global Accolade Competition – Award of Merit, November, 2015
Bare Bones International Music and Film Festival – Best Movie Poster, April, 2016
Indie Film Fest, August, 2016 – Award of Merit

Watch "Accordions Rising" - all other English speaking countries
On Roku (Free Dowload) at Indie Rights (Free)
BluRays - Barnes and Noble, Best Buy, Amazon and

For further information:

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

90 Year Old Accordionist Plays "La Cumparsita"

by Christine Johnstone
Video: Norma, who is 90 years old from Florianapolis, Brazil still enjoys playing her accordion. In this video she performs "La Cumparsita" by Matos Rodríguez with her daughter Marcia.

"Music-making is linked to a number of health benefits for older adults," said Suzanne Hanser, chair of the music therapy department at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. "Research shows that making music can lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate, reduce stress, and lessen anxiety and depression. There is also increasing evidence that making music enhances the immunological response, which enables us to fight viruses," Hanser said.

Hanser said that anyone, regardless of age or ability, can make music and benefit from it.

Researchers at the Western Sydney University's MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development say even a small amount of musical training can have long-lasting effects, particularly for seniors. They say playing a musical instrument in retirement is one of the best ways to stay mentally and physically agile.

Music and psychology researcher with the institute, Dr Jennifer MacRitchie, has been studying the benefits of learning an instrument for the first time in people aged over 65 and found very positive outcomes.

Enjoy playing the accordion!

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

In Spite of His Disabilities, Franklin Nichols Excels on the Accordion

by Peggy Falcetti
Franklin NicholsFranklin lives in Chicopee, MA with his family and has been a student of Michael Falcetti for the last 3 years. To quote his teacher, “Franklin has an incredible God given talent and is a joy to teach”. His newest instrument is the digital accordion. He started on acoustic accordion three years ago and transitioned to the Roland digital accordion two years ago. Franklin discovered his passion for music when he was just three years old, learning on piano and since then his countless hours of practice and natural talent have made him a master of the keys. A music enthusiast, he also plays the flute, saxophone, and harmonica. Franklin, who has autism and is blind, learns by ear and can fill every musical part of an arrangement with ease—often becoming engrossed in melodies and harmonies, while contemplating the theory behind it all.

Franklin has attended Berkshire Hills Music Academy, a school for young adults with intellectual disabilities, since 2013. When he matriculated into the LIVE Program in 2015, Franklin joined BHMA’s Performance Troupe; he rehearses with the eight-member band daily, and is booked for regular, paid gigs at schools, conferences, and various events across the Northeast. With his signature charisma and humor, he also entertains audiences through his work as a solo musician, part of a jazz trio, and accompanist. 

Franklin aspires to be a professional musician, as well as an advocate for others with disabilities. During Troupe performances, he shares powerful testimony about his experience living with a disability. Franklin also speaks about the importance of acceptance and inclusion—values he aims to embody in his own life. Innately inquisitive, Franklin enjoys getting to know people, traveling around the world, and using the internet to teach himself different languages, including Spanish, Hebrew, and Japanese.

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Future events

2021 Coupe Mondiale Rules and Regulations Released

by Kevin Friedrich, CIA Ambassador
Coupe Mondiale
Coupe MondialeThe 74th Coupe Mondiale will be held from 13-17 October 2021 in Munich, Germany, hosted by the CIA member, the Deutscher Harmonika-Verband e.V. (DHV), Project Leader is First Vice-President: Georg Hettmann.

Our Coupe Mondiale in Germany also celebrates the milestone 90th Anniversary of the DHV, a founding member of the CIA.

The festival will feature competitions as follows:
• 74th Coupe Mondiale
• Masters Coupe Mondiale
• Junior Coupe Mondiale
• International Competition for Virtuoso Entertainment Music
• Junior International Competition for Virtuoso Entertainment Music
• Chamber Music - Classical
• Chamber Music - World Music

2021 rules and regulations at: Coupe Mondiale
View hotel information and pictures of the concert venues at: Coupe Mondiale
Download printable event poster at: 2021CM-poster.pdf

The on-line entry system will open in Spring and the entry closing date is 25 August 2021.

You will find a complete Report of the 2019 Coupe Mondiale at:
In Chinese
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