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U.S. National Accordion News - 01-Jan-2012
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Titano Accordion Company


Editor's Note
2012 Accordion New Year's Resolutions
Octoberfest Las Vegas International Accordion Festival Ready to Start - USA
AAA Presents 10th Carmen Carrozza Scholarship Fund Dinner
Cory Pesaturo Peforms on TV and in Concerts
Gabe Hall-Rodrigues, Ocotrillo, and Frank Petrilli at SFAC
Zevy Zions in January Concerts
Rob Reich to Perform for the San Francisco Accordion Club
World Accordion Day Will Be Here In May

Voci Armoniche

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

Memories of Merv Conn
Michael Bridge Performs at Accordion Plus Holiday Concert
Peter Brice, Button Accordionist and Balladeer
Bruce Gassman Volunteers for Holiday Express
Dr. William Schimmel's European Tour, A New CD, and 2012 Seminars
Accordion Heroes Festival in June
Joseph Soprani, Virtuoso Accordionist, Composer

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Future events

AAA 2012 Festival in July in Baltimore's Inner Harbor
Jamie Maschler In June Concert
Long Island Accordion Alliance Meets on January 3rd
ATG Festival July 25-29, 2012 in Chicago

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



Editor's Note

by Rita Barnea
Editor Rita DavidsonHappy New Year to all! It is the beginning of another great year of accordion activities……………many unique developments on the accordion horizon…….new types of instruments and new artists to share their special skills on the accordion. Make sure to read the USA News each month for the latest updates in the accordion world.

I will continue to call the accordion………THE GREATEST INSTRUMENT OF THE DECADE!!!

I invite all of you to share your musical concerts and events this coming year. Our readers want to know what accordionists are doing in the musical world.

Did you know that the accordion is an integral part of the orchestra of the Cirque de Soleil all over the world? Did you know that Madonna has an accordionist in her band? Bob Dylan used the accordion in his latest CD. Movie composer, John Williams, frequently includes the accordion in his scores.There are so many more examples.

You will read about fascinating accordion happenings right here on the USA News.

We want to publicize your accordion club concerts, festivals,events, CD releases. We are interested in everything related to the accordion!

Please send me details about your future concerts. If possible, I will try to attend and write an article.In addition, you may also send information post concert with photos and comments.

This year and every year, please support accordion artists by attending concerts, accordion festivals, competitions and conventions, purchasing CD’s and, most importantly, sharing YOUR gift of music. Learn new music, go out and play for other people. Not only will you make people happy, but you will feel good about yourself knowing that you have contributed something positive and wonderful to our world!

Let’s stay in touch. Send all to USA News Editor Rita Davidson at or call me at 201-675-4861.
Happy New Year to all.

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

2012 Accordion New Year's Resolutions

by Rita Barnea
Here are your Accordion New Year's Resolutions!
Can you think of any more? Please send them to me!

1. I promise to practice my accordion every day.

You can find at least 30 minutes a day to practice your accordion. If you find time for watching the news on TV, or talking on your cell phone, enjoying your iTouch, iPad or just sitting on your couch, you can find the time to take your accordion out of its case! With a little effort, you will be pleasantly surprised with the results. Practicing your accordion is relaxing, a stress reliever and also good exercise!

2. I promise to play my accordion for friends and family at least once a month (more often would be even better)!

Everyone who has ever seen me perform has always commented on the complexity of the instrument{as if there were something very magical about playing the accordion. But it is magical, isn't it?) Going to a family dinner or having the family and friends over?....... take out your accordion and play for them. No matter what your level of proficiency is..........people will be amazed by your playing.

3. I promise to learn at least one new song every month.

Try to expand your repertoire. It doesn't have to be a concerto! What about a popular song or one from the past that you always wanted to learn. Don't have the music? Look it up on the Internet or e-mail your accordion friends. If you want the song........ it is out there: however, if you really cannot find it, try to play it by ear, sound it out, write out the notes. It may take time, but it is a good experience to learn it on your own. It is possible, don't be afraid to try it.

4. I promise to attend at least two or more accordion events in 2012.

There are many accordion festivals, concerts, accordion clubs etc. around the country.Search the USA News and you will find an event in your area. Not only will you have a wonderful time listening to great accordionists, but you will be able to participate on any level from beginner to advanced. There will be accordion bands, ensembles, people who will enjoy meeting you and hearing about your experiences with the accordion. If you want to meet interesting people who share your love of the accordion, you will find them! You will not only hear great music but you will go away with new friends.

5. I will purchase at least two accordion CD's this year!

There are so many wonderful accordion CD's. Search the Internet and you will find lists of accordion artists. It is important to show our support for these outstanding musicians by buying their CD's! Visit to find your favorite accordion CD!

6. I promise to introduce the accordion to people who have never heard one before.

This is a special opportunity for you to expand the musical horizons of someone. The accordion is so versatile, found in cultures all over the world and running the gamut from folk to classical and everything in between! There is a visual fascination with the accordion that no other instrument can claim. How do we do it? Keys, buttons, bellows, It is a coordination of fine motor skills that places an accordionist at the top of the list of the best multitaskers in the world!

7. I promise to send news about my accordion club, association, concert, event to for a possible article in the USA news.

We want to know all about your accordion activities. Please let me know far in advance, if possible, so that readers can plan their schedules accordionly ( Could not resist that one!!)

8. I will think about treating myself to a new accordion! Why not? When you have a new instrument, you sound better!!!!

9. I promise to read the USA News ( news every month and the weekly news, Accordions Worldwide ( Check on the Fan Club page for the latest updates.

10. I will reread Resolutions 1-9 again and again!

Happy New Year to All!

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

Octoberfest Las Vegas International Accordion Festival Ready to Start - USA

by Heather Masefield, Secretary, New Zealand Accordion Association
Octoberfest Las Vegas International Accordion Festival
Paul PasqualiNewsletter cover, Octoberfest Las Vegas International Accordion FestivalI am writing this on the plane flying internationally to Las Vegas for the Octoberfest Las Vegas International from 15th to 18th October at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas.

Paul Betken & Jerry Cigler are newly added to a great line up of stars (list below) with lots of great seats still available! Want to hop a plane to come and enjoy this exciting festival?

Newsletter (picture right) with full information: 2018LVACnews.pdf
Picture left: Event organizer Paul Pasquali

The lineup starts with visionary accordionist Cory Pesaturo and bookends with a grand finale starring Grayson Masefield and the International Accordion Orchestra under the direction of the legendary Prof. Joan Sommers.

You can register online at or contact Paul Pasquali, event organizer, by phone at 1-800-472-1695 or (801) 485-5840, email:
Footer Octoberfest Las Vegas International Accordion Festival

Titano Accordion Company

AAA Presents 10th Carmen Carrozza Scholarship Fund Dinner

by Rita Barnea
Carmen CarrozzaAmerican Accordionists' Association proudly presents the 10th Annual Afternoon of Music, Food and Fun to benefit the Carmen Carrozza Scholarship Fund for the advancement of promising young accordionists on Sunday, April 22, 2012.

The event will be held at a new spectacular location with a diverse menu and unlimited free wine at Villa Barone Hilltop Manor, 466 Rt.6, Mahopac, New York. Phone number for the restaurant is 845-628-6600.

Featured performers include: Mary Tokarski, Dominic Karcic, Mario Tacca and Mary Mancini, Frank Toscano, Frank Carozza, Emilio Magnotta, Beverly Roberts Curnow, Ray Oreggia, Fabio & Fabio, Lenny Feldmann, Anita & Bob Siarkowski, the Connecticut Accordion Orchestra and more to be announced in future articles.

It is important for musicians to know the contributions that Carmen Carrozza made toward the advancement and acceptance of the accordion. Carmen Carrozza was born in a small town Solano in Calabria, Italy on July 20, 1921. Carrozza emigrated to the USA with his family when he was nine years old settling in the town of Chappaqua in Westchester, NY, where Carrozza began studying music, becoming proficient on the violin, piano and accordion.

It wasn’t long before his love for the accordion became obvious and he found himself concentrating solely on mastering this instrument and master it he did! Although the piano accordion was developed around the turn of the century in 1909, it was stated by one of Carrozza’s early professors that "the accordion wasn’t given birth until the young Carrozza placed his hands on the instrument."

In 1937, he graduated from the Pietro Deiro Accordion Conservatory in Greenwich Village, NYC where he was awarded the highest honors and a gold medal for his performance. He furthered his studies at the New York Academy of Music specializing in theory, harmony, counterpoint and composition. Carrozza’s professional debut took place in 1947 at the Philadelphia Academy of Music launching what was to be one of the greatest careers of the century. He went on to triumph with appearances throughout the concert halls in the United States. (Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, Times Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center Music Hall, Philadelphia Academy of Music, just to name a few) Canada, and Europe - (France, Germany, England, Sweden, Finland, Russia and Italy). Carrozza was presented with a gold medal by the E.A.L., an agency of the Italian Government, after an outstanding performance at the Theatro di Pavia.
Carrozza was the first accordionist invited to perform as featured soloist with major symphony orchestras: The Boston Pops Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Arthur Fiedler premiering Paul Creston’s "Concerto for Accordion and Orchestra"; National Symphony and New York Philharmonic under the direction of Andre Kostelznetz, premiering Alan Hovanhess’ "Rubaiya"t; Cincinnati Orchestra, under the direction of Thomas Schippers; The Buffalo Symphony Orchestra, The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Pops Orchestra, The United States Navy Band, and the list goes on and on. A legendary composer, arranger and world renown concert artist and educator, Carrozza has been a true inspiration to humanity.

Carrozza’s success on the concert stage is matched only by his contribution to the development of accordion literature. In this area, he collaborated with outstanding American composers: Robert Russell Bennett, Henry Cowell, Paul Creston, Alan Havanhess, George Kleinsinger, Otto Leuing, Paul Pisk, Wallingord Riegger, Elie Seigmeister, William Grant Still, Carlos Surinach, Virgil Thompson, & Russian composer, Alexander Tcherepnin.
Carrozza considers solo concerts in Town Hall, New York City, as one of the high points in his career. At these concerts, he performed and premiered all original accordion works by the forementioned composers. It was a milestone in the history of the accordion.His performances of the works of these composers opened a new field for the generations of accordionists to follow and gives to composers a new instrument to use as a vehicle of musical expression. Concert accordionists of the future owe a debt of gratitude to Maestro Carrozza for paving the way for them to the concert platform.

Throughout the years Carrozza has received numerous awards and honorees from many different organizations, associations and clubs. On March 17, 2002 Maestro Carrozza was honored by the American Accordionists' Association and was the first recipient presented with the prestigious“Lifetime Achievement Award”. Shortly after this gala event, The Carmen Carrozza Scholarship Fund, (a fund for the advancement of promising young accordionists and the commissioning of new works for the accordion) began in the spring of 2002.

For further information: or
AAA Phone: 203-335-2045; Fax: 203-335-2048

Voci Armoniche

Cory Pesaturo Peforms on TV and in Concerts

by Rita Barnea
Cory PesaturoCory Pesaturo has been very busy performing all over the USA and the world! Following are some of the activities he was involved in and will be part of in the year to come.

At the finale of the 2011 October Columbus Day Parade Cory Pesaturo joined hosts Maria Bartiromo and Joe Piscopo, the Grand Marshal Joe Plumeri, and 2011 American Idol Singer Pia Toscano on the red carpet performing Frank Sinatra's classic hit "New York, New York". The performance was broadcast on TV and Cory was also interviewed from the broadcast booth which was an excellent promotion for the accordion.

In January 2012 Cory will perform at the Borsini Exhibit at the 2012 NAMM Show in California, January 17-22, 2012. This will be Cory's 4th appearance at this music trade show.

Cory is presently involved in a Pop Project with violinist Yasmine Azaiez. You can see their amazing performance on Youtube. In this video, you will see and hear Cory, in a very "cool" performance with singer/violinist Yasmine. Very appealing to the younger crowd and those interested in the latest music on the pop scene.

One of Cory's newest connections is his association with world renowned, classical and jazz artist, trumpet player, Wynton Marsalis. Wynton Marsalis is an internationally acclaimed musician, composer, bandleader, educator and a leading advocate of American culture. He is the world’s first jazz artist to perform and compose across the full jazz spectrum from its New Orleans roots to bebop to modern jazz. Just like Yo Yo Ma, Wynton likes the accordion, especially the way Cory plays! Stay tuned for future collaborations between Wynton and Cory!

Cory has won the 2009 Coupe Mondiale Digital Accordion Champion and the accoustic TV International Primus Ikaalinen 2011 Accordion Competition. Cory Pesaturo is a graduate of the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA, where he was the first musician ever to major and graduate in the accordion. Accordion Legend Dick Contino said, “Of all the accordionists I’ve seen over the years, Cory is the one to pass the torch to, the only one who has all the tools to bring the accordion back to its former glory.”

Cory released his new CD, "Zulu Time", an acoustic trio of big music for a small world. (Boston Trio of World Music). The group performs sparkling arrangements of compositions by Bela Bartok,  Gus Viseur, Astor Piazzolla, Hermeto Pascoal, Robert Schumann, Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Shorter, and Michael Brecker. Their repertoire spans genres from Jazz, Musette, Tango, Klezmer, folk music of Bulgaria and Macedonia, Classical, and original compositions.

Its members have performed in Canada, the United States, the U.K., Finland, France, Spain, Italy, South Africa, India, New Zealand, and Japan. Zulu Time has been featured in performances at the Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland, RI, with acclaimed drummer Bob Guillotti, at the Mendenhall Scholarship concert at the Waldorf School in Lexington, MA,  and at the Longy School of Music.

Zulu Time began as a chance meeting outside a Cambridge Coffee House in 2001. Since then, they have cemented a dynamic onstage chemistry with an omnivorous musical appetite that is slightly irreverent but deadly serious. Violinist Gabriel Solomon, Bassist Richey Tally, and accordionist Cory Pesaturo are classically trained, improvisationally oriented, and fun addicted. Zulu Time is the only group in Boston to include an amateur meteorologist, race car enthusiast, and world champion accordionist – and that’s just Cory! They will release their self-titled debut recording in 2011.

Pesaturo's extensive resumé includes appearances at the White House for President and Mrs. Clinton on 4 different occasions. On one of those occasions, he became the youngest person ever to perform at a State Dinner. He has since performed at 6 events for the Clintons and continues to keep in touch as proved by his 12 letters from the First family. A recent letter of congratulations to Corey by former President Bill Clinton is linked - 2011Clinton. The letter is a little inaccurate referring to the International TV Primus Ikalinen competition as a World Championships but is a noteable letter for the personal handwritten note to Corey of encouragement and saying "I like your playing."

Because of his first performance, Cory is featured in Mrs. Clinton’s book “An Invitation to the White House”. In 2009 alone, Cory performed in 5 different continents, from Italy, to Canada, to New Zealand, to Japan and Tunisia.

At 11, Pesaturo opened at the former Warwick Musical Theater for the ill Myron Floren, and later that year performed at the Sergio Franchi Memorial Concert where he has now performed for 10 consecutive years. In July 2002 at age 15, Cory became the youngest ever National Accordion Champion. A win in a concerto competition at the New England Conservatory of Music gave Pesaturo the rare opportunity to perform at the 2003 Christmas Pops Concert with the Brockton Symphony Orchestra as a featured soloist, where he became the youngest accordionist to ever solo with a symphony orchestra. Cory performed Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, which this performance can actually be seen on YouTube.

Concerning his Jazz side, Pesaturo recorded two CD’s with saxophone legend George Garzone and his famous band “The Fringe”, and has been performing with them in the Boston and Providence region. It has been said across the globe by various accordion and jazz artists, that Cory is undoubtedly the Best Young Jazz Accordionist in the world, which was put into play when he improvised most of his World Championship performance in Coupe Mondiale competition.

Mr. Pesaturo is also heavily involved with the weather and motor sports worlds as well. From 2005 to 2006, he composed the Official list of records set by the inconceivable record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. He has also written the lists for the 2007 and 2008 Seasons as well. Moreover, he has put out a report and list of the 2009-2010 Winter Season for the United States. Furthermore, his music is regularly played on Formula 1 broadcasts and he is currently working on a Formula 1 book that he believes will change the way people look upon the sports history and its champions.

For further information:

Accordion Jazz Chords

Gabe Hall-Rodrigues, Ocotrillo, and Frank Petrilli at SFAC

by Rita Barnea
Frank PetrilliOn January 22nd, the San Francisco Accordion Club will present an entertaining program of accordion music. Gabe Hall-Rodrigues with Ocotrillo and Frank Petrilli will perform. The Rob Reich Trio will also be featured. (Separate article in this issue). The program takes place at the Oyster Point Yacht Club at 2:PM, 911 Marina Blvd., South San Francisco, California. 

Ocotrillo is comprised of Gabe Hall-Rodrigues (acccordion and vocals), Sean Brogan (bass), and Wes Anderson (drums). All members of the trio graduated with degrees in music from Arizona State University (ASU). Ocotrillo's repertoire contains a variety of music styles, including classic jazz and standards, older styles, such as Dixieland or New Orleans jazz, as well as music from various parts of Brazil, including numbers by Tom Jobim, Gilberto Gil, Luiz Gonzaga, and more.

The group brings a fun and positive energy to playing, and each performer holds awards for his respective instrument from national and state organizations. The group hopes to be able to entertain any audience and truly enjoys making music together for people who enjoy it.

Gabe Hall-Rodrigues is a native of Arizona and began playing piano at the age of 7. He grew up in a Brazilian-American family and the mixing of his two parents’ cultures provided him with exposure to a variety of genres and a unique set of musical experiences. Although only 23, Gabe has been performing in Arizona, California, and Mexico for the past 9 years and has performed with a variety of ensembles primarily playing keyboard or piano, and singing. Gabe graduated ASU in May 2010 with a degree in Music Therapy. He is beginning his Master’s Degree program in Jazz Piano Performance in the Fall of 2011.

Gabe is an active performer in the Phoenix valley with several groups, including: Another Day, a local reggae-rock band in which he plays keyboards, accordion and is the lead singer; The Dixie Devils, an ASU- affiliated New Orleans style jazz band in which he plays accordion and sings; and Som Brasil, a local Brazilian band playing a variety of genres native to that country. He has been featured singing with the ASU Concert Jazz Band on two occasions and was an accordion soloist with the ASU Sun Devil Marching Band. Gabe was featured as a guest artist with the Salt River Brass Band on various concerts and has performed with numerous chamber ensembles highlighting many works by Astor Piazzolla.

Gabe was awarded first place in the U.S. Virtuoso Solo Competition at the 2010 American Accordionists’ Association Festival in Hershey, Pennsylvania. [Contact:]

Sean Brogan is a recent graduate from the Herberger School of Music at ASU. As a Jazz Performance major, Sean‘s education focused heavily on Theory, Performance, Ear Training, Arranging, Composition, and Improvisation. While at ASU, Sean had the opportunity to perform in many exceptional ensembles, including ASU’s Latin Jazz Band, Concert Jazz Band and various small ensembles. For his Senior recital, many original compositions were presented, which represented the many musical influences throughout his life.

Since graduating in May 2010 with honors (Magna Cum Laude), Sean has pursued his career as a freelance musician. Being well versed in many musical styles has led Sean to work alongside other great artists, such as Frank Marocco, Fred Forney, Nick Manson, Margo Reed, Barb Catlin, Lynne Timmes, and many others. Sean currently holds the principal bassist position for the Phoenix Children’s Chorus and is a former member of the Sedona Jazz on the Rocks youth band. [Contact:]

Wesley Anderson started playing the drum-set at the age of 8. By the age of 17, he joined the Arizona Academy Drum and Bugle Corps, where he played snare drum from 2004-2008. During this time he received numerous awards and championship titles. Wes attended ASU from 2008-2010 receiving his Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance in December of 2010.

He currently teaches the ASU drum-line, as well as local private students. Over the years Wes has been given the opportunity to play with many notable musicians, including Frank Marocco, Stas Venglevski, Vince Abbracciante, Bob Mintzer, Wycliff Gordon, Gregg Bissonette and many others. [Contact:]

Frank Petrilli was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, California and started playing the accordion at age seven.  At 15, Frank started playing Cordovox and soon after was playing professionally in small combos.  He continued to play professionally through college untill he was about 23, when family and work demands took precedence.  Frank stayed active musically by playing keyboards and saxophone but his accordion playing remained dormant until 2006.  Soon after he started playing again, he attended the first Frank Marocco Accordion Event and began studying with Frank Marocco which still continues today.  Currently, Frank performs with the Cesar Mateus Latin Jazz Sextet at various jazz venues in Los Angeles.   Just this past year, Frank established a relationship with Victoria Accordions and is their USA sales representative.

Gabe Hall-Rodrigues and Frank Petrilli will also be featured performers at the AAA Festival 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland July 11-15 at the Sheraton City Center, Baltimore. See article in this issue about the festival.

For San Francisco AC information: President Lynn Ewing:


Zevy Zions in January Concerts

by Rita Barnea
Zevy Zions top, lower Klezmerfest with Zevy ZionsAccordionist Zevy Zions will perform at the Wall to Wall Klezmer- Greg Wall Klezmerfest, at four Ocean County (New Jersey) venues this January. You may know Zevy Zions from his solo accordion CDs that he has recorded with another CD in the final stages. This next CD will feature a tribute to his teacher, the late Charles Nunzio. You may know Zevy Zions for his arrangements that are listed on his website at

The concerts will take place at:
Little Egg Harbor Branch
: Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2:PM

Manchester Branch: 
Tuesday, Jan. 10, 7:PM

Brick Branch: 
Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2:PM
Toms River Branch: Tuesday, Jan. 17, 7:00 p.m.

The concerts are a celebration of Jewish folk music and eastern European shtetl environment.  Klezmer's history will be explained.  Each musician will talk about his family's ethnic roots and emigration.  Learn Yiddish vocabulary, join with the klezmorim (musicians), and enact a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony.

The concert is pondered in part with funding from an OceanFirst Foundation Arts and Cultural Grant and the Ocean County Library Foundation.

Zevy grew up in the Orthodox world of The Bronx and Brooklyn, listening to the likes of Rudy Tepel and the Epstein brothers in his childhood, and old 78s on his record player or on WEVD. He has been involved in Klezmer and Jewish music his whole life, working in the top wedding bands in New York, including Neshoma, Neginah and many others.

Zevy recorded an instructional klezmer DVD with Andy Statman in the 1980s, and has been in important part of the the NY klezmer group, “Klezmerfest!” since 1995, including co-producing their CDs and contributing original material. He began a project to record Accordion Classics, and has completed 3 CDs to date to much acclaim. He has an interesting day job; he is a practicing professional Mohel.

Zevy Zions was a student of the great performer and teacher, Charles Nunzio, who was a student of the legendary Pietro Frosini. Zevy Zions has been playing music since he was four years old. Starting with the piano, on which he was given a year of formal piano lessons with a local teacher, he was basically self-taught. His mother loved the accordion, so she bought him a used, smaller sized instrument.

Fast forward to 2001. For eight years Zevy studied with the great accordionist and teacher, Charles Nunzio. Emphasis on technique, expression and overall musicianship was covered over that period of time. Zevy considers himself very fortunate to have been taught by Mr. Nunzio. In addition to performing as a soloist and with various musical ensembles, Zevy has also previously released three solo albums: " William Tell", “Olive Blossoms” and "Dizzy Accordions".

Klezmerfest! celebrates the great tradition of Yiddish instrumental music-from the shtetls of the old country to the contemporary sounds of today's Lower East Side revival. Freylachs, bulgars, doynas and chassidls, along with old favorites from the days of Yiddish theater make for an enjoyable, heart warming and foot stomping evening of music for the whole family.

Klezmerfest! has been delighting audiences for years at such venues as the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the Eldridge Street Project, the Knitting Factory, and synagogues and schools throughout the Northeast. Their latest CD is entitled "Party Music". Klezmerfest! is well know for their award winning "Klez for Kidz program". The group is made up of leading players from the New York City scene: Greg Wall, clarinet (from Hasidic New Wave and other downtown projects); Jordan Hirsch , trumpet (of the famous Neshoma Orchestra); accordionist Zevy Zions (you've seen him on Andy Statman's instructional video); bassist Brian Glassman (of Neshama Carlebach's band and Statman) and the masterful drummer Aaron Alexander (Hasidic New Wave, Klezmatics, Frank London's Klezmer Brass Band, Mazeltones).

Let Klezmerfest bring you back to the days when klezmer was Jewish wedding music, and Jewish wedding music was "PARTY MUSIC!" which is also the name of the band's first CD, "Party Music. They also have recorded a second CD, "Life of the Party".

For more info: Call 732-349-6200 or email:

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

Rob Reich to Perform for the San Francisco Accordion Club

by Rita Barnea
Rob Reich Trio
On January 22nd, the San Francisco Accordion Club will present an amazing program of accordion music. Featured will be The Rob Reich Trio and Gabe Hall-Rodriguez with Ocotrillo. ( Separate article in this issue). The program takes place at the Oyster Point Yacht Club at 2:PM, 911 Marina Blvd., South San Francisco, California. 

Accordionist Rob Reich is an acclaimed accordionist, pianist and composer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His playing and composing graces the sounds of many high profile ensembles, including Tin Hat, Gaucho, Nice Guy Trio and Circus Bella. He also freelances with many other Bay Area bands.

The Rob Reich Trio presents an altered take on the jazz piano trio, with Daniel Fabricant’s bass and Beth Goodfellow’s drumset providing a strong rhythmic foundation. The trio features Reich’s original material as well as older gems, and they approach their diverse repertoire with a spirit of spontaneity and improvisation. Arrangements are arrived at through an unspoken communion, resulting in a high energy, magical evening of music making. 

Rob graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Composition from Oberlin Conservatory. In 2010, Rob was commissioned by the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival to compose "Sidewalks and Alleys", performed by the Nice Guy Trio

Rob recently released a new CD, "Nice Guy Trio + Strings." Rob Reich plays accordion, piano, or guitar with Gaucho, The Golden Melody Band, Kally Price, The Trifles, Sean Hayes, and many other Bay Area bands. His expansive musical sensibility is rooted with a firm belief in melody, improvisation, and group play, with particular interest in the idioms of Klezmer, traditional Jazz and Blues, Rock 'n Roll, and various Folk Music.

Bassist Daniel Fabricant grew up in Ashland, Oregon, where he began playing guitar and trumpet in grade school. Since moving to the Bay Area and transitioning to double bass, he has performed as a freelance sideman with Andrea Marcovicci, Mary Wilson, Spencer Day and others. He recently completed his education degree at SFSU and teaches privately as well as classroom general music.

Elizabeth Goodfellow is a freelance drummer in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has performed in Europe, Canada and the U.S. as a member of the 2003 Sisters in Jazz Collegiate All Stars. Her performance experience also includes playing over 150 educational shows as part of the San Francisco Symphony's Adventures in Music program. As a former member of the 561st Air Force Band, Ms. Goodfellow performed for the President of the United States.

Future Performances of Rob Reich:
Sun, Jan 1: Kally Price Band
9pm - 11:30pm,
853 V
Mon, Jan 2: Rob Reich (solo accordion)
7pm - 9pm,
Divine Cafe
1600 Stockton St @ Union, San Francisco

Tue, Jan 3: Nice Guy Trio
6pm - 8pm
,Velo Rouge Cafe
Wed, Jan 4: Rob Reich (accordion), Daniel Fabricant (bass)
5pm - 7pm
,The Page - Page St @ Divisadero
Wed, Jan 4: Gaucho 
853 Valencia St, San Francisco
free admission

Thu, Jan 5: Gaucho (quartet)
Tartine Bakery,
600 Guerrero St. SF

Sat, Jan 7: Gaucho,
Pete's Candy Story, Brooklyn
Mon, Jan 16: Rob Reich (solo accordion),
Divine Cafe
1600 Stockton St @ Union, San Francisco
Tue, Jan 17: Gaucho Jam Session @ Bottle Cap,
1707 Powell St, SF
Wed, Jan 18: Gaucho
8pm - 10pm
853 Valencia St, San Francisco, 
free admission

Thu, Jan 19: Gaucho (quartet),
,Tartine Bakery,
600 Guerrero St. SF

www.tartine bakery
Fri, Jan 20: Nice Guy Trio, 
Cafe Pascucci, SF
Sat, Jan 21: Gaucho
,9:30pm - 12:30am,
Albatross Pub,
1822 San Pablo Avenue
Sun, Jan 22: Rob Reich Trio, 
San Francisco Accordion Club
Wed, Jan 25: Gaucho,
853 Valencia St, San Francisco,
free admission

Thu, Jan 26: Gaucho
,7:30pm - 10:30pm,
Borrone Cafe
1010 El Camino Real
,Menlo Park, CA
Sun, Jan 29: Nice Guy Trio,
,Cafe Du Nord

For further information about Rob Reich:
For further information on the San Francisco Accordion Club:President Lynn Ewing:

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

World Accordion Day Will Be Here In May

by Harley Jones
World Accordion Day LogoTo performers, accordion orchestra leaders, festival, concert and competition organizers: What are your plans to promote the accordion in your region on World Accordion Day, 6th May 2012?

World Accordion Day is held on 6th May because that is the day the accordion was first patented in 1829 in Vienna. World Accordion Day started in 2009 and everyone is urged to register their World Accordion Day activity on the website and send a report (and pictures) after the event.

World Accordion Day is a Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA) international promotion and CIA President Raymond Bodell said “ALL accordion events celebrating World Accordion Day are welcome. This is a promotion for the accordion in which every accordion enthusiast can participate and help bring the accordion to the attention of the people of their country or region. I particularly ask all major associations and events organizers to plan a special promotion for the weekend of 6th May 2012."

For further information email:

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

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

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

Memories of Merv Conn

by Joan Grauman Morse, AAA Historian
Merv ConnI knew about Merv Conn (Mervin Cohen) since I was a small child. I was told stories about how a young boy, named Mervin Cohen, would sing weekly on my great-uncle’s radio program in Washington, DC, called “Joe Brown’s Kiddies”. By age 14, Merv was playing accordion and singing on this radio program.

In the late 1950s, my father, who was an accomplished accordionist himself, showed me Merv’s studio in DC and later Merv’s trailer/studio in Silver Spring, Maryland, close to where we lived. My father respected Merv’s accordion teacher, Sylvia Kaplowitz, very much. So, it went without saying that, when I switched from piano to accordion in 1977, that I would choose Merv as my teacher. I took only one lesson from this animated and very enthusiastic man, but he never forgot me – and I never forgot him.

Merv not only performed all over the Washington metropolitan area for over 70 years, he also whole-heartedly supported “everything and everyone” associated with the accordion. At every concert or workshop that any of us presented, Merv and his special lady, Betty, were always there in the front row. Merv praised – and “critiqued” – us all, but always with warmth and sincerity.

We teased Merv a lot and he loved it. He had a wonderful sense of humor. He also really knew how to get himself in the news. No matter where an American Accordionists' Association (AAA) festival or an American Accordion Musicological Society (AAMS) event was being held, Merv was the featured “musician” in the local papers – even when he was not a featured performer at these events! He was on the front page of the Boston Globe in 2004, the year that the AAA featured the world champion, Alexander Pouluev!

In 2005, in Dearborn, Michigan, the AAA featured a well-publicized international entertainment competition with superb accordionists from all over the world, plus other greats such as Dr. Carmelo Pino, The K Trio, Tony Dannon and Joe Cerrito, just to name a few. Merv was not on the program at all. However, CNN broadcasted news about this festival all over the country and, guess who they featured? Yes, it was Merv Conn!

In 2007, the day before Merv’s 87th birthday, a wonderful documentary called, “The Legend of Merv Conn”, by celebrated filmmaker Jeff Krulik, was premiered at the historic AFI Theatre in Silver Spring, Maryland. 500 people came to this festive event. The theatre marquee said, “Sold Out!”, and Merv was delighted. He entertained the audience as they came into the theatre, strolling and singing, and I have never seen him happier.

I was so pleased when Jeff Krulik asked me to lead local accordionists in a “21 Accordion Salute” to Merv for his birthday, on the stage, after the documentary was shown. We had way more than 21 musicians on that stage, and right up front with me, singing happy birthday and happily playing along, was our Merv Conn.

A feature article about Merv Conn by the Silver Spring Voice newspaper in 2007 is scanned. 2007SilverSpring The Washington Post obituary: MervConn

We will all miss him. As Karen Malan-Uribe, the founding president of our local club, the Washington Metropolitan Accordion Society (WMAS) said so well, “Merv will be remembered always and with uplifting heart, knowing that he got every ounce out of life that he could squeeze.”

The photo of Merv Conn was taken at his 90th birthday party in February, 2010. The party was given by the members of the WMAS (Washington Metropolitan Accordion Society).

Titano Accordion Company

Michael Bridge Performs at Accordion Plus Holiday Concert

by William Cosby
Cory Pesaturo, Dale Wise, James Pollara, William Cosby(author) and Michael Bridge
Despite the fact that we live in an era of seemingly unlimited access to music and musical performance through the internet and phenomena such as YouTube, to the music lover there is absolutely no substitute for the experience of a live performance. And through the years, some of these live performances become true milestones – experiences that will remain with us the rest of our lives. Such was the case at Michael Bridge’s performance at the Accordion Plus Holiday Concert December 11 in Oakton Virginia.

First, despite his modesty and perhaps even dislike of personal recognition, there needs to be mention of Dale Wise, the man behind Accordion Plus. While Dale shares a common love for the accordion with many fellow enthusiasts, his belief that the future of this instrument will only be sustained by engaging a new generation of young enthusiast’s is reflected with a selfless passion that should serve as a model for all seasoned accordionists.

Dale may be modest as he ‘talks the talk’, however, Dale ‘walks the walk’ in giant strides. He does this not only through the young people he works with, but he also does it by hosting performances by a variety of new talent representing the widest imaginable range of the instrument’s diversity. While it is always good, fun, and refreshing, sometimes the result is also stunning. And stunning might be the best way to describe Dale’s recent Holiday Concert.

In my introduction of Michael Bridge, I mentioned I had become Michael’s biggest fan after hearing him play at the Galla-Rini International Competition a little over a year ago. I then referred back to a question asked of Michael during his pre-concert workshop, “where is the future for the accordion?” But now it was my turn to provide a personal answer that same question, “the accordion’s future is in the hands of players like the one on the stage before you, and you are about to experience it. And rather than go into a long list of accomplishments, it is better to just let Michael speak through his music.”

And Michael spoke. He began with the "E-Flat Major Prelude" from Bach’s "Well Tempered Clavier Book One", one of the most musically complex pieces in the set. The nuances and articulation were crafted with such artistry that a church basement resplendent with folding chairs and fluorescent light was transformed into a place of pure magic. Using notes and musical maturity that defied his 18 years, Michael did something beyond what Disney could have done in the same space with all the technology in the world.

Michael followed immediately with a Khachaturian "Toccata" where he demonstrated his ability to keep musical intent rather than succumb to the typical dazzling display of technique and technical tricks at the expense of everything else. His technical competence is pure brilliance, but never at the expense of the music.

But for some, the next collage of some popular songs from yesteryear was an even bigger, totally unexpected surprise. When asked in his workshop about his personal preference in music he answered ‘I like it all’. It was the perfect and safe answer, but now not only did he demonstrate that he ‘liked’ it, but also expressed a pure joy in playing it. Michael is comfortable and competent in an alarmingly wide range of styles, and each is approached with artistry and both a musical and personal honesty that reflects how much he truly loves to play.

However, the surprises weren’t over – Michael’s long-time friend, Cory Pesaturo, paid a surprise visit and the audience was treated to an extended improvisation on Czardas, once again stunned as the now utterly mischievous, unbridled virtuosity of both young accordionists alternated between highly spirited musical combativeness and perfectly aligned partnerships. Even if the arrangement were ongoing from former meetings, the energy and effect was something so spontaneous it is unlikely that it could ever have been rehearsed. It was certainly an experience no one in the audience could have predicted as they entered the Church basement on a cold Saturday evening.

Michael concluded with a beautifully articulated arrangement of "Moon River" and a "Christmas Fantasy". Whereas he had transformed the Church within a few notes of the Bach at the start of his performance it took nearly an hour for the energy in the church to spin down after the last notes. And I doubt there was a member of the audience who didn’t know they had been part of something very special. It was just one of those evenings.

Originally from Calgary, Michael is currently a freshman at the University of Toronto, studying with Joe Macerollo.

Top photo:Cory Pesaturo, Dale Wise, James Pollara, William Cosby(author), Michael Bridge
Bottom photo: Michael Bridge and Master Class

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

Peter Brice, Button Accordionist and Balladeer

by Rita Barnea
Peter Brice
Peter Brice plays Irish Traditional music on the button accordion and sings old songs in a traditional style.  A protégé of legendary accordionist Billy McComiskey, Peter has pursued the traditional style with special regard for the playing of the old Galway button accordionists, particularly Joe Cooley, Kevin Keegan, and Raymond Roland. 

Peter's interest in obscure music and songs from printed collections has earned him a reputation in the United States and in Ireland as an enduring source of little known repertoire.  Peter is the founder of the Baltimore Singers Club and a charter member of the Old Bay Ceili Band. He holds a B.A. in Irish Traditional Music and Dance from the University of Limerick.

Peter performed in "A Celtic New Year", celebrated at Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage on Saturday night, December 31st, with Irish music and dance in the form of jigs and reels. He performed with the New Century Ensemble and its leader, accompanist and producer, Zan McLeod.

"Technically, I'm more Scottish than I am Irish," said McLeod, a multitalented accompanist and producer. "But the word 'Celtic' has become a popular [term] in the last 15 years. As people get more familiar with the music, they realize a lot of it came from England and Scotland, as well as Ireland."

Having performed in many musical styles and genres, this native of North Carolina co-founded the Irish-American group Touchstone. In 1988, McLeod migrated north to D.C., where he met up with his Irish musician buddies and began touring and recording.

Now, guitarist McLeod (who has performed and recorded with such Irish notables as the Chieftains and Seamus Egan) works with his New Century Ensemble, and its Celtic cast of performers that include Peter Brice on the accordion, Rosie Shipley on the fiddle and the professional New Century Dancers under the direction of Kate Bole.

At the Millennium concert, Peter performed the dance music that you hear from Ireland and Scotland; the traditional jigs and reels and Caeli [dance] repertoire along with some holiday songs and a Celtic version of "Auld Lang Syne," a traditional Scottish tune by Robert Burns.

Gary Daverne CD's and eSheet music available online

Bruce Gassman Volunteers for Holiday Express

by Rita Barnea
Bruce Gassman
Accordionist Bruce Gassman completed his fourth year as the first and only accordionist to perform with Holiday Express. Now in its 19th season, Holiday Express is a traveling Christmas party; a from-the-heart troupe of musicians and volunteers bringing music, friendship, help and hope to those too often left out in the cold at the most special time of the year.

Playing far from the limelight, in sometimes desperate circumstances, and all for absolutely no pay, more than 80 of the best musicians down the Jersey Shore and throughout the state, play more than 50 shows between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and with several dozen support staff in tow, deliver not only music, but toys, clothing, food and fun to children with cancer, people living with AIDS, the mentally ill, disadvantaged families, the isolated elderly and the desperately homeless.

This year, Bruce performed at the annual benefit concert at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank. In addition to the annual golf outing and the annual clambake, the Count Basie Event is a significant source of support for the all-volunteer, nonprofit, nonsectarian organization. And with more than 50 musicians and singers on the stage, playing everything from “White Christmas” to “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” (with the Grinch himself in attendance) to Chuck Berry’s “Run, Run Rudolph,” this years benefit concert was, as always, a sold-out season tradition in itself.

Founded in 1993 by Tim McLoone, Holiday Express is a grass roots, non-sectarian, registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. It is comprised of more than 1,300 volunteers – including 80+ professional musicians – Holiday Express delivers music, food, gifts, financial support and friendship to adults and children who are physically and mentally disabled, living with AIDS or homeless, as well as the isolated elderly and others in need.

Bruce traveled throughout the Tri-State area in November and December bringing more than 50 "interactive private parties" to clients who might otherwise be overlooked during the holiday season. The events included a rock 'n' roll band, costumed characters, choreographed parodies, crafts, games, food, good cheer, gifts and lots of hugs!

Among the many places that Bruce entertained were: Mt. Carmel Guild, St. Joseph's School for the Blind, Catholic Charities-Partners in Recovery, Woodbine Developmental Center, Ancora Psychiatric Hospital, Red Bank Town Lighting, Passaic County Elks Cerebral Palsy High School, Trinity Soup Kitchen, and many more. There was also an additional public performance at the magnificent NJ Performing Arts Center in Newark.

Bruce Gassman has traveled all over the USA, presenting workshops, performing and conducting at accordion concerts and festivals. In 2011, his events included the National Accordion Association (NAA) Convention in Dallas; MAMTG/AAMS in North Jersey; the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG) in Orlando; the Historic Wallace, Idaho Accordion Festival and the Las Vegas International Accordion Convention.

Bruce has a busy accordion year ahead in 2012. He will be part of the "Accordion Heroes" Event, focusing on Accordion Legends and young accordionists, the legends of the future. The event will be held in Fredericksburg, Virginia June 20-23, 2012. Bruce will also be the first accordionist to perform at the "Light Of Day Foundation" Event being held this January in Asbury Park, at legendary venues; the Stone Pony, the Wonderbar and the Paramount Theatre in Convention Hall. In its 11th year, the 23 Light of Day Foundation shows, which are held in 13 countries in Europe, Canada & the United States, raises money for funding research into possible cures and improved treatments and support for patients suffering from Parkinson's disease and related illnesses. And of course, Bruce is already counting the days till next November and his 5th season with Holiday Express.

Thank you and congratulations to Bruce Gassman who has shared his unique accordion skills with so many less fortunate people this holiday season. He surely brought them moments of happiness, peace and joy. Let's all try to do this in the coming year. No matter what your level of playing is, it will be appreciated.

For further info:

4 Music Books by Stas Venglevski

Dr. William Schimmel's European Tour, A New CD, and 2012 Seminars

by Rita Barnea
Dr William Schimmel
William Schimmel recently returned from a December tour of four cities in Germany: Cologne, Baden-Baden, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf where he performed with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra which is one of America's premiere ensembles and they perform without a conductor.

Artist director Alan Kay describes the tour in the Orpheus blog: “Our first concert, in the Köln Philharmonie, went very well. Albrecht Mayer, who played a beautiful Strauss Oboe Concerto, also played two encores; we played one: the Rossini “Italian in Algiers” Overture; our accordionist from the the opening work on the program, the Hindemith “Kammermusik No. 1”, the incomparable Bill Schimmel, joined us for it!  (He can play pretty much all the Rossini overtures, from memory, on his accordion).  As is the custom in the Philharmonie, we were greeted offstage with complimentary glasses of the local brew, Kölsch, a festive end to a great concert!”

Dr. Schimmel and Argentine Pianist Dr. Hugo Goldenzweig have released a new CD on the IPS/STUDIO-MUSE label titled: “A CHOPIN/BEETHOVEN/FROSINI/SCHIMMEL MIX”. Dr. Goldenzweig performs Chopin Preludes interspersed with Dr. Schimmel's original “realities” - Chopin Accordion Preludes. This is followed by Dr. Goldenzweig performing the Beethoven Pathetique with Dr. Schimmel interspersing the Frosini Rhapsody No 2 (The Vaudevillian Pathetique) along with his own spectral improvizations. The CD concludes with Dr. Goldensweig performing the Beethoven Pathetique with Dr. Schimmel's Spectral orchestrations.

On July 27, 28 and 29, Dr. Schimmel will present his 2012 Seminars entitled: Redemption – The Radar off the Radar. This event is sponsored by The American Accordionists' Association and it also appears under the title of : The American Accordionists' Association Master Class and Concert Series. It will be the 18th year for this successful series and it will feature a distinguished array of presenters and performers. The event will take place at The Tenri Cultural Institute in New York and the Master Classes will be at 3 PM and the Concerts will be at 7 PM. Attend this event to experience the accordion in unique performances.

William Schimmel is a virtuoso accordionist, author, philosopher and composer. He is one of the principle architects in the tango revival in America, the resurgence of the accordion and the philosophy of Musical Reality (composition with pre-existing music). He received his diploma from the Neupauer Conservatory of Music and his BM, MS and DMA degrees from the Juilliard School. He has taught at the Juilliard School , Brooklyn College CUNY, Upsala College, New School University, Neupauer Conservatory (dean) and has lectured on accordion related subjects at Princeton , Columbia , Brandeis, University of Missouri , Duke University, Manhattan School of Music, the Graduate Center CUNY, Santa Clara University, The Janacek Conservatory in Ostrava, Czech Republic and at Microsoft.

Dr.Schimmel has performed with many major symphony orchestras in America (and the Kirov ) including a longstanding relationship with the Minnesota Orchestra, as well as many chamber music groups in New York including Ensemble Sospeso and the Odeon Jazz Ensemble. Pop star colleagues range from Sting to Tom Waits, who has made the legendary statement: “Bill Schimmel doesn't play the accordion, he is the accordion”. He is founder of the Tango Project, which, in addition to his hit recordings with them, has appeared with Al Pacino in the film: Scent of a Woman, for which Pacino won an Oscar. The Tango Project also won the Stereo Review Album of the Year Award, received a Grammy nomination and rose to number I on the Billboard Classical Charts. He can be heard in other films including True Lies, Kun Dun and many others including films that he both scored and performed and a series of films for the Nature Conservancy which have won numerous prizes in documentary categories.

He is an authority of the music of Kurt Weill, having recorded all of Weill's music that employs the accordion.He is a prolific composer with many commissions from concert music to Broadway and off-Broadway. He has written countless accordion pieces for himself and others including a test piece for the Coupe Mondiale, the accordions' most prestigious world competition. His “Portrait No I” for orchestra was conducted by the late Leopold Stockowski.

Dr. Schimmel's theatre works in collaboration with Micki Goodman have made accordion history.He now heads the Neupauer Conservatory Order of the Shield program, a private studies program for gifted students on a graduate and post graduate level. he conducts a successful three day master class and concert series sponsored by the American Accordionists' Association (where he is distinguished lecturer in residence) moving into its sixteenth season. The Confederations International of Accordionists have awarded Dr. Schimmel the distinguished merit award for the AAA Master Class and Concert Series as well as his contribution to the international accordion scene. He received the American Accordionists' Association Distinguished Service Award for Fifty Years of Accordion activity and his work as Lecturer in Residence. He is listed in Who's Who in America and Great Minds of the 21st Century.

Dr. Schimmel, and his wife, choreographer, director, filmmaker Micki Goodman co-founded and co- directs the Institute for Private Studies, a pluralistic think-tank. They have a 29 year old son, Michael, an accordionist and visual artist---and a Special Olympics gold medal winner.

If you are interested in performing in one of the 2012 Master Classes for comments, constructive criticism and encouragement, or for further info on the CD, contact Dr. Schimmel at

Amy Jo Sawyer CD titled According to Amy

Accordion Heroes Festival in June

by Rita Barnea
Accordion Heroes LogoThe Accordion Heroes Festival will take place June 20-23, 2012 at the Fredericksburg Hospitality House in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Accordion Heroes honors the accordion artists, teachers, craftsmen, family and friends who have enriched lives by sharing the gift of music. It also celebrates the American Tradition by preserving the music, heritage and pedagogy of America's accordion culture.

Some of the artists who will perform include: Jamie Maschler, Hannah Jane, Michael Bridge, Jorgen Sundeqvist, William Cosby, Stas Venglevski, Tony Lovello, Bruce Gassman, Lou Coppola, Corky Bennett, Pete Contino and more.

The event will have a Galla-Rini Banquet, Master sessions, workshops, bands, teacher workshops, special events, artist performances, and vendors.

The goal of Accordion Heroes is to encourage increased integration of the accordion in the musical culture of the America’s by embracing the instrument’s versatility and diversity. Accordion Heroes will host activities specifically designed to enhance the capabilities of those with a professional interest or passion for the accordion, including the enthusiast, professional, accordion club & organization, teacher, and the industry that supports them. Accordion Heroes is looking to mentor the next generation of young accordionists. More info in future issues of the USA news.

For more information:

Titano Accordion Company

Joseph Soprani, Virtuoso Accordionist, Composer

by Carmella Dimartino
Joseph Soprani
Arranger, and Performer offered a delightful afternoon of musical entertainment on December 8, 2011 as part of the Cultural Arts Forum at Neumann University in Aston, PA. Soprani entertained the responsive audience by demonstrating the versatility of the accordion as he played folk, contemporary and classical pieces.

The audience was transported through Joe’s career, beginning with a soundtrack of Soprani’s agent on the Arthur Godfrey Show and the actual introduction by Arthur Godfrey of Joe into the “Lipton Spotlight”. Joe was 18 years old at that time. We were then entertained as he played one of the most popular accordion pieces, “Jolly Caballero”. The first part of the program concentrated on folk music such as “O’ Sole Mio” and “Finiculi”, two pieces that Soprani played with Pavarotti and Russell Watson.

Not only were we enthralled by Joe’s incredible musical talent, but he took the time to answer questions from members of the audience. He explained the difference between the Mussette and Concert Accordion, demonstrating various pieces such as “Besame Mucho” then “Sunrise, Sunset” and “If I Were A Rich Man” from his past performance of “Fiddler On The Roof”.

He described the various parts of the accordion such as the keyboard, bellows, reeds, and bass. He brought different size accordions with him starting with the 12 bass accordion he used at five years of age up to the 120 bass concert accordion now used for most of his performances. His in-depth explanation of the components of the accordion enhanced the audience’s appreciation of the harmonics of a violin demonstrated in Joe’s performance of “Czardas” by Monti.

Joe showed us a comparison of the 12 bass accordion, playing his rendition of “Carnival of Venice” as he did at the age of five. He then switched to the medium size accordion, adding some additional notes and completed his demonstration by performing the intricate arrangement of “Carnival of Venice” by Frosini.

Soprani continued to mesmerize the audience with “Mendelssohn’s Concerto” and the “Arcari Concerto in D Minor”, pieces he had played during his career with the Philadelphia Orchestra. His arrangements of “Fantasie Impromptu” and “The William Tell Overture” highlighted the enjoyable afternoon’s experience. He completed his demonstration of the accordion’s versatility as he played a jazz piece by Mat Mathews, imitated the banjo sound with “The Sheik of Araby”, and came full circle, ending with his arrangement of the Rogers and Hart “Lover”, which made him a winner on the Arthur Godfrey Show.

There was full audience participation as Joe accompanied the singing of White Christmas, Jingle Bells, Silent Night and songs giving tribute to the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, and Air Force. The energized, appreciative audience joined in celebration with refreshments and conversation after the performance. It was an enjoyable and educational experience for all who attended.

Jeff Lisenby CD A Spy In Tortuga

Future events


AAA 2012 Festival in July in Baltimore's Inner Harbor

by Rita Barnea
Stas VenglevskiThe American Accordionists' Association will present their 2012 AAA Festival from July 11-15th, 2012 at the Sheraton City Center Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland.

Plan next summer around the festival's exciting days of workshops, exhibits, cabaret, luncheon concert, gala concert, and Festival Orchestra.

Photo on left: Guest Artist and Conductor, world renowned Stas Venglevski

The AAA is proud to announce its 2nd Annual Youth Involvement Program which was very successful at the 2011 Festival. Come and see young accordionists play jazz with other young instrumentalists. The Youth “Jazz” Program will again be spearheaded by Eddie Monteiro, chaired by Marilyn O’Neil. A group of very talented young people from our 2011 Festival in Charleston will be featured on our concert programs. Come meet the future stars of the accordion world!

And new this year will be a Junior Orchestra for those youngsters who have never participated in an orchestra or ensemble or who may be  "not quite ready" to participate in the Festival Orchestra. This will be a fun way to "get ready"! Mary Tokarski will conduct. Mary has had many years of experience teaching young students how to become better accordionists and musicians. Please refer to the June 2011 news for background information on the youth program.

Virtuoso accordionist Stas Venglevski will be the Guest Artist and Guest Conductor of the Festival Orchestra. He delights all with his friendly and humorous manner, educating and entertaining at the same time. Truly a unique experience you will want to see and hear.

This year the Festival Orchestra will feature Mary Tokarski as soloist. Vladimir Mollov and Mary Tokarski will also be featured as “two soloists”. Dr. Robert Young McMahan will be joined by prominent saxophonist Dr. Paul Cohen in a premiere of McMahan’s new composition for accordion and saxophone.

Vladimir Mollov, virtuoso accordionist, will perform solos and also duets with his wife, renowned violinist, Annie Mollova. Gabe Hall-Rodrigues and Frank Petrilli will perform solos and duets at concerts at the Festival. Please refer to the San Francisco Accordion Club article in this issue for their biographies.

Please refer to the AAA Website and the USA news for updates on the festival. For further information:

Jamie Maschler In June Concert

by Rita Barnea
Jamie MaschlerDo you know accordionist, Jamie Maschler? Jamie will be one of the featured artists at the Accordion Heroes Event in Fredericksburg, Virginia on June 20-23, 2012.

Jamie is a unique member of Seattle’s music scene. Over eighteen years of experience in playing all styles of accordion has allowed her to explore jazz, tango, latin, chamber, classical, pop, klezmer; solo and ensemble pieces. She was graduated in 2011 from Cornish College of the Arts with a Bachelors of Music Performance.

Jamie began her professional career at the age of 15 with a
 feature performance with the Pueblo Symphony Orchestra, recently sharing the stage with music legends such as Jovino Santos Neto, Butch Morris, and Julian Priester. In March of 2011 Jamie performed at Beneroya Hall in Seattle with Michael York and the Lake Union Civic Orchestra for the centennial concert celebrating local composer Alan Hovaness.

Jamie also performed at the Paramount Theatre as part of the Merce Cunningham MinEvent for the Merce Cunningham Legacy Tour. Fall of 2011 she performed as part of the pit orchestra for Spectrum Dance Theatre’s, “The Beast” directed by choreographer Donald Byrd. Jamie is currently working with classical guitarist Harold Belskus on a classical/flamenco/jazz fusion project: ACedar Suede

Jamie has won several National and International accordion
 competitions for jazz, classical and original composition. As a
 professional musician she plays venues such as the The Paramount and Act Theatre, accompanies dancers, teaches music lessons, master classes and session work. She has recorded at some of the top studios in Seattle Including London Bridge, Elliot Bay, Studio X, Avast, Litho and Clatter and Din.

Future performances include:
1/19/12 7:PM George’s Place, 108 Kirkland Ave, Kirkland, WA
3/29/12 7:PM George’s Place, 108 Kirkland Ave, Kirkland, WA 98033
4/18/12 8pm PONCHO Theater, Kerry Hall, Cornish College of the Arts

For further information:

The International Trio, CD Available online, secure server

Long Island Accordion Alliance Meets on January 3rd

by Rita Barnea
The LIAA (Long Island Accordion Alliance) will hold their first meeting of the year on Tuesday, January 3, 2012, 7:PM at the La Villini Restaurant, 288 Larkfield Road, East Northport, NY. For reservations phone: 631-261-6344

Enjoy dinner, music, meet accordionists and people who love the accordion. If you play the accordion, please bring your instrument and play. This event is open to anyone who plays the accordion no matter what your level of capability. Everyone is welcome to participate.

People who love to just listen to accordion music are most cordially invited to attend. Bring your friends!

Email reservations to: Frank Catania:
LIAA Members

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

ATG Festival July 25-29, 2012 in Chicago

by Rita Barnea
ATG Logo
The Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG) proudly announces that the 2012 ATG Festival will be held from July 25-29, 2012 at the Hyatt Lisle, 1400 Coporetum Drive in Lisle, ( Chicago) Illinois. Mark your calendars.

Hotel Telephone: (630) 852-1234
;Reservations: 1-888-421-1442 
(mention the ATG for special convention rate, available until July 8, 2012)
Hotel includes complimentary Breakfast buffet for all guests, complimentary Wifi in all rooms,
Free Parking, transportation to the train offering frequent service to Downtown Chicago and 
complimentary pickup and drop-off (times to be arranged) to Oh'are or Midway Airports.

Convention Hotel Rates
: Single Occupancy $99.00 plus tax;
Double Occupancy $109.00 plus tax; 
Triple Occupancy $114.00 plus tax; 
Quadruple Occupancy $119.00 plus tax.

Further details will be announced very soon. Check future USA News issues for more details.
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