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U.S. National Accordion News - 01-Jul-2018
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Titano Accordion Company

Highlights Server Hacked - August News Expected Online 23:59 EST August 3rd
Editor’s Note
Daily Reports: AAA 80th Anniversary Festival, Washington DC
Octoberfest Las Vegas International Accordion Festival Ready to Start - USA
Make Plans to Attend the 2018 AAA Festival in Alexandria, VA
World-acclaimed Accordionists to Perform at 78th Annual Accordion Festival July 25–28 at Hyatt Regency Lisle (Chicago)
2018 ATG Festival to Honor Special Guest Harley Jones
Grayson Masefield to Perform at The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage on July 9
AAA Original Works Concert, 11 July 2018 - USA
Announcing CPez Academy Online Subscription
Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration Results
Guy Klucevsek Releases New Recording “Carousel of Dreams”
Experience the 2018 AAA Master Class and Concert Series: Thinking Inside the Box
Hanzhi Wang: Naxos Will Release Her Debut Album, Upcoming US Concerts
Emmanuel Gasser Wins Five First Places at Leavenworth Festival
“What's Tango about the Classics” New Album by Dr. William Schimmel
Giorgio Albanese to Perform for Brooklyn Accordion Club
The Russians are Coming to the 2018 AAA Festival in July!

Voci Armoniche

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

Not Just Oom-PAH! Accordion Workshop and Concert June 16-17, 2018 Summary Report
Angelo DiPippo Interview
James Anglisano at the Long Island Accordion Alliance
Passing of Beloved Music Teacher Donna Michael: Tribute by Rachel Quirbach
Gia Ciccone Performs for Classmates
Report on 2018 Accordion Visit to Castelfidardo
WMAS 2018 Spring Members Concert and Fall Guest Concert Info

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Future events

28th Annual Cotati Accordion Festival on August 18-19 in California
"Accordions Around the World" in Bryant Park, NYC, in August and September
Irish Music, Song and Dance Cruise – Seattle to Alaska
Accordion Pops Orchestra ALS Benefit Concert in September

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


PANcordion Server Hacked - August News Expected Online 23:59 EST August 3rd

by Rita Barnea
Rita Davidson BarneaWe apologise to our readers for being offline the past 3 days. Our server was hacked twice and the server needed fully cleaning and then to be reloaded which is a large job as the site is very very large with so many pictures, text and videos.

The August USA News is expected to be online by 23:59 EST August 3rd. We hope you will enjoy.

Editor: Rita Barnea

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Editor’s Note

by Rita Barnea
Editor Rita BarneaSummer is finally here! Now you may have the time to attend accordion festivals both indoors and outdoors. Summer is also a time to continue learning and practicing. If you truly want to improve your accordion skills, practice schedules need to be made and adhered to.

Have you tried playing outdoors? Bring your instrument to family/friend BBQ and picnics. Guaranteed appreciation to you for livening up the party!

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

Daily Reports: AAA 80th Anniversary Festival, Washington DC

by Rita Barnea
AAA Header
Daily Reports with pictures and video of the AAA 80th Anniversary Festival in Washington DC are online now.

Daily Reports: 2018AAA80th

Titano Accordion Company

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

Voci Armoniche

Make Plans to Attend the 2018 AAA Festival in Alexandria, VA

by Joan Grauman, AAA Historian
AAA Festival Flyer
Daily Reports online at: 2018AAA80th

This summer’s accordion extravaganza should be exhilarating and mesmerizing from start to finish!! Our lineup of stellar performers, workshop presenters, exhibits, opportunities to play in the orchestras, the youth jazz ensemble, the after-hours parties -- and the camaraderie -- should make for a wonderfully memorable festival!

With all of the changes in the world in the past 80 years, it is incredible that the AAA has remained a strong force in this country, promoting the instrument that has brought such joy to so many through the years. Please join us in beautiful Alexandria, Virginia – just outside of Washington, DC – to celebrate this momentous event with renowned performers from the US, Russia, Moldova, New Zealand, Switzerland and Argentina, as well as our world-renowned conductor of accordion orchestras, Prof. Joan C. Sommers.

A new addition to our performer list is the delightful accordionist and vocalist, Lionel Reekie from New Zealand. Also from New Zealand/Switzerland, is five time world champion accordionist Grayson Masefield, who will be giving a workshop and performing on Friday’s Gala Concert.

Local performers, Russkie Musikanti, a dazzling ensemble from the Washington Balalaika Society, will perform for the convention attendees at Friday night’s reception. Saturday evening’s banquet will feature the Festival Orchestra, under the baton of Joan Sommers, members of the US Air Force Strolling Strings, and other superb musicians who will perform in honor of our recipient of the 2018 AAA Lifetime Achievement Award, Louis F. Coppola.

We hope to see all of you there!! 
Please visit the AAA website for the registration forms and all updates at:

Daily Reports online at: 2018AAA80th
AAA Festival Workshops

Accordion Jazz Chords

World-acclaimed Accordionists to Perform at 78th Annual Accordion Festival July 25–28 at Hyatt Regency Lisle (Chicago)

by Joseph Natoli, ATG President
ATG Town Poster
More than 100 Accordionists Will Gather to Celebrate the Accordion Through Concerts, Competitions, Workshops and Exhibits Open to the Public

LISLE, Ill., July 25 - 28, 2018 — World-acclaimed accordion artists will perform at the 78th Annual Accordion Festival hosted by the Accordionists & Teachers Guild (ATG) July 25–28, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency Lisle near Chicago.

Festival events, including concerts, competitions, workshops, and exhibits, are open to the public. Single-day passes are available for $20. Evening concert tickets are $15. Tickets may be purchased at the door. Concerts will be held in the Arbor Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Lisle.

“We are delighted to share the beauty and wonder of the accordion with the public at our 78th Annual Accordion Festival. More than 50 accordion artists will perform at the festival, sharing a wide range of music, including classical, jazz, contemporary, and pop,” said Joseph Natoli, president of the Accordionists & Teachers Guild, International.

Headlining the evening concerts are world-acclaimed accordionists:

Matthias Matzke – Hailing from Germany, Matzke is an international award-winning acoustic and digital accordion artist. Joining him is soprano Leonie Kratz, also of Germany. Both are laureates of the Franz Liszt Foundation of the University of Music in Weimar, Germany. Matzke will perform both Thursday and Friday night concerts at 7:30.

Cory Pesaturo – From the United States, Pesaturo (“C-Pez”) is a world-champion accordion artist and the only person to win the digital, acoustic, and jazz categories. He also created his own skinned accordion that includes a symmetric midi lighting system attached to the keys so it lights up when he plays, as well as an electric accordion. Pesaturo will perform on the Friday night concert at 7:30.

Petar Maric – From Serbia (Belgrade) also studied in Paris France with famed instructors Frederic Deschamps and professor Franck Angelis, one of the most famous and influential composers and professors in the accordion world. Petar, who is currently completing his education in Slovakia (Bratislava) under eminent professor Tibor Racz.Petar has won multiple international accordion competitions with both acoustic and digital accordion instruments. Petar will be on the Thursday night concert at 7:30.

Mike Alongi – A Chicago Jazz accordion artist who has played with greats including Patti LuPone and Doc Severinsen, Alongi has also played with many symphonies, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Illinois Philharmonic Symphony. Alongi will perform on the Saturday night concert at 7:30.

Stas Venglevski - Originally from Moldova, Russia, and currently residing in Wisconsin, Venglesvski is a Bayan accordion artist, whose artistry and dazzling technical demand have helped him win many awards, including twice winning the Bayan competition in the Republic of Moldova. Venglevski will perform on Friday night at 7:30.

Donna Dee and Dennis Ray – This United States-based, husband-and-wife duo combine her award-winning accordion artistry with the sounds of his folksy banjo and guitar. The duo performed with Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians at the start of their careers. They will perform Thursday night at 7:30.

Mixed Ensemble – Serving as maestro is the acclaimed Seattle accordionist Murl Allen Sanders, who performed with Chuck Berry, Etta James, and the Orchestra Seattle among others. This year’s Mixed Ensemble will feature high school musicians playing various instruments along with accordionists. The ensemble will perform Saturday at 2:00 PM.

The ATG Festival Accordion Orchestra - Under the direction of Joan Cochran Sommers, this year’s orchestra will feature more than 50 accordionists performing a variety of music, especially selections from West Side Story in honor of Leonard Bernstein’s 100 birthday year.

Daytime Schedules – Open to the Public – Tickets are $20 per day:

A Buffet Lunch is available daily from 12:00 – 1:00 with entertainment for $25.00

Thursday, July 26, 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. – Competitions, Workshops, Concerts
Friday, July 27, 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. – Competitions, Workshops, Concerts
Saturday, July 28, 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 – Workshops, Awards Ceremony, Concerts

Concert Schedule — Open to the Public – $15 per ticket:

Thursday, July 26, 7:30 p.m.:
Peter Maric
Matthias Matzke & Leonie Kratz
Donna Dee & Dennis Ray

Friday, July 27, 7:30 p.m.:

Stas Venglevski
Cory Pesaturo
Matthias Matzke

Saturday, July 22, 7:30 p.m.:

Festival Orchestra
President’s Quintet – Featuring Joe Natoli, Amy Jo Sawyer, Kenn Baert, Murl Sanders, and Liz Finch
Mike Alongi Jazz Trio

About The Accordionists & Teachers Guild

Founded in 1940, the Accordionists & Teachers Guild, International was created to support and promote the accordion, development of music composition and arrangements specifically for accordions and to support accordionists and teachers. For more information, visit:

Joseph Natoli, ATG President
ATG Poster


2018 ATG Festival to Honor Special Guest Harley Jones

by Rita Barnea
Harley JonesAccordions Worldwide Founder Harley Jones will be the special honored guest at the July 2018 ATG Festival in Lisle, Il. from July 25-28, 2018.

Excerpts from the ATG website:
In 1996, Harley Jones started the Accordions Worldwide group of internet sites. These include:, and, the largest and most visited accordion internet sites in the world. These sites provide advertising banners for companies and artists with a very large readership attracted by such accordion community services as: Weekly News in 8 languages, US monthly news, CD Reviews, Celebrity Interviews, Articles, major event reports etc.

Additional sites include: Accordion Yellow Pages Search-Accordion largest accordion links site in the world, a site which sells eSheet music (sent by email to the client), CD's for world known artists, music catalogs for publishers in different parts of the world.

Harley Jones is a virtuoso accordionist. He has appeared on T.V. and National Radio in New Zealand many times, and has performed extensively in the USA, Canada, England, Germany, Holland, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Turkey, Hong Kong, Singapore and China as well as his home country of New Zealand.

Harley was soloist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra on a CD of symphony orchestra works composed by Gary Daverne, recorded in 1992 and now released internationally by EMI. "Rhapsody for Accordion and Orchestra" was written by New Zealand composer Gary Daverne especially for Harley Jones.

He premiered this work in New Zealand with the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the composer (December 1987). He performed "Rhapsody" at the International Piano Accordion Competition and Festival in New York (August 1988) and at the Prize Giving of the 1990 Coupe Mondiale held in Germany in 1990. Harley has performed this work over 120 times worldwide, usually with composer Gary Daverne as the conductor, including Europe, North America, Australasia, China and Turkey.

Harley Jones has been involved with the Confederation Internationale des Accordeonistes (CIA) for many years, having been an adjudicator on a number of occasions and Chairman of the Coupe Mondiale Adjudicators in 1976 in Washington. He has served on the Music Committee for the CIA for about 16 years (the committee which guides all aspects of the Coupe Mondiale competitions) and is currently the Public Relations Officer for the CIA and has been a CIA Executive member for some 16 years.

The ATG looks forward to welcoming Harley Jones as their special honored guest.

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

Grayson Masefield to Perform at The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage on July 9

by Harley Jones
Grayson Masefield
Video: Kennedy Center Millenium Stage Concert by Grayson Masefield, Introduction by AAA Historian Joan Grauman, © 2018 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
AAA LogoMulti World Champion winner Grayson Masefield is sponsored by the American Accordionists' Association (AAA) to perform at the Kennedy Center Millenium Stage, 9th July and promote the 80th Anniversary of the AAA which starts on the Wednesday after this concert.

Grayson Masefield will perform on the AAA Friday night Gala Concert and the AAA 80th Anniversary schedule is the website at: AAA

Daily Reports of pictures and video online at: 2018AAA80th

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

AAA Original Works Concert, 11 July 2018 - USA

by Linda Soley Reed, AAA Second Vice President
AAA Original Works
As part of the 2018 American Accordionists’ Association (AAA) Festival on 11th July will be a concert featuring recent original works.

1. Premier performance of "Sonata In F Major (in the Classical Style)" composed and performed by Joseph Natoli
2. "Ka Mate" composed by Gorka Hermosa, performed by Grayson Masefield
3. "Carousel of Dreams" composed by Guy Klucevsek, performed by Cody McSherry

Full information about the 2018 AAA Festival is online on the site of the AAA.

For those who cannot attend the concert, the AAA site will broadcast the concert "fast upload" within 30 minutes after the performance concludes.

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

Announcing CPez Academy Online Subscription

by Rita Barnea
Teaching Advertisement
Cory PesaturoOn August 1, 2018 Cory Pesaturo will be launching "CPez Academy", an online subscription based video masterclass which will meet twice a month.  Cory says he has been pushed to do this for many years by various players of various levels and is finally setting aside time to create it. 

It will be based on giving detailed information for how he improvises, thinks of music theory, plays what he hears, what he analyzes when listening, etc.This will be for all players (accordion or not) who are of all levels except early beginner, and is especially for, as Cory put it "Players who can kick my butt at playing, but need to improve their ability to improvise / create on the spot". 

The masterclasses will be interactive, and additionally archived so you will never miss one.  There will also be additional information constantly posted on all music subjects so it is a continued source of knowledge. 

Visit the FaceBook page for more info: CPez Academy Lobby
This is the Public Lobby to attain an understanding of what the CPez Academy is:
1. A Private Subscription Based Facebook Group which will provide multiple masterclasses a month with Cory Pesaturo on the video conference app "Zoom".
2. In addition to the Masterclasses, documents and homework-like assignments will be provided to help out.
3. Through Zoom, these Masterclasses will be archived, so if you can not be there for the live Masterclass, you can watch it whenever is good for you.
4. Masterclasses will cover aspects of improvisation for both non-improvisors and more pro-improvisors, music theory for all levels, chord changes, etc.
5. There is no age limitation.
6. For ability limitation, as long as you are past beginner stages, this will help.
7. You will be able to interact / ask questions with the masterclass through the Zoom app, so it will feel like you are there in person vs. just watching a video.
8. Will be $19.99 a month. Can be paid by PayPal or Credit Card.

For further information:

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration Results

by Rita Barnea
The 2018 Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration took place from June 21-24, 2018 in the state of Washington, USA, attracting large numbers of players and enthusiasts, and was deemed a great success by all who were invited.

Guest accordionists included Murl Allen Sanders, Cory Pesaturo, Michael Bridge, and Bruce Gassman. Performers and workshop presenters included Alicia Baker, Ken Olendorf Tribute Band, Gazebo Ensemble, Gabe Hall-Rodrigues, Jim & Shirley O’Brien, and Gary Malner. The various activities included a competition, with the results now published.

Emmanuel Gasser, from Canada, won First Prize in all 5 categories that he competed in, at the recent Leavenworth event.

Emmanuel Gasser is pictured below with Cory Pesaturo (left) and Michael Bridge (right). Full results at: 2018LeavenworthResults.pdf
Emmanuel Gasser

Titano Accordion Company

Guy Klucevsek Releases New Recording “Carousel of Dreams”

by Rita Barnea
Carousel of DreamsGuy Klucevsek’s new recording, “Carousel of Dreams,” was released on June 18, 2018. The recording features Guy’s solo compositions, including “Three Tributes,” commissioned by the American Accordionists’ Association, and a trio and quartets for Bellows Brigade, where Guy is joined by fellow accordionists Will Holshouser, Nathan Koci (doubling voice) and Kamala Sankaram (doubling voice).  The feature piece is a 17-minute suite, “Pauline, Pauline,” dedicated to the memory of Guy’s long-time friend, composer/accordionist Pauline Oliveros.

The title composition is dedicated to Cody McSherry (see article about him in this publication), who premiered the piece on May 6, 2018 in a concert by the Accordion Pops orchestra, with Guy and his wife, Jan, in attendance.

Produced by AAA Governing Board Member Jeanne Velonis, “Carousel of Dreams," will be released both as a physical CD, to be available through CDBaby, and digitally through CDBaby,, itunes, and many other digital and streaming outlets.

Tom Steenland said, “The great Guy Klucevsek has released yet another wonderful CD. Gorgeous melodies seem to effortlessly flow from him - and have for decades. "Carousel of Dreams" opens with the delightful tribute "Evan-essence" (showing off Guy's formidable technique) and ends with a lovely tribute to his wife, poignantly titled "As They Waltz Off Into the Sunset." The album's centerpiece is a multi-movement tribute to Pauline Oliveros. Their long-term friendship was full of mutual respect, laced with humor and wit. Appropriately, it's the longest tribute I've heard from Guy, and fittingly, the most experimental work on the CD, concluding with a movingly beautiful, hymn-like setting of the text "Pauline Oliveros." In addition to Guy, this Bellows Brigade ensemble also includes accordionists Will Holshouser, Nathan Koci, and Kamala Sankaram. A highly recommended, constantly inventive album.”

On Saturday, June 23, 2018, Guy took part in Relâche’s 40th Anniversary concert, performing two of his solo compositions. The concert includes three pieces by Guy Klucevsek: The Swan and the Vulture (2014), Little Big Top (2014), and Haywire Rag (a Waltz)(2010), with the former two pieces featuring Guy on the accordion.

From 1980-1990, Guy served as composer, Music Advisor, and ensemble member with Relâche.  “Relâche” is taken from Erik Satie’s 1924 collaborative ballet whose absurdist title on the theatre marquis translated to “no performance today.” Since 1977, the band’s work with composers such as John Cage and James Tenney, and with the most thoughtful (and fun!) organized sound of today has tested music’s limits – if not its strict definitions then certainly the cultural boundaries negotiated by so called “art music.

Excerpts from the website: Relâche’s aim has never been to play “safe” music. In music, when composers and performers relinquish their assumptions of structural and social parameters, the audience’s thrill – our thrill – of the unexpected catches us vulnerable, and the results can be frightfully sublime, innocent, or hilarious.

As one of Relâche’s founding members, Guy Klucevsek knows this as well as anyone. Revisiting his compatriots with a set of works whose explorations of modality are deceptively simple on first hearing, Klucevsek’s echoes of Eastern Europe reflect both the dance repertoire of his accordionist training in the outright catchy Wing/Prayer, and the sobriety of (dare we say) Górecki in Still Life With Canon. Placed in contrast to the epic introspection of Cynthia Folio’s work and Mark Hagerty’s gear shifting,

Klucevsek’s punctuations – particularly his dances – subversively offer a more wry notion of the “play” in this recording’s title is a new music ensemble that for over 40 years has maintained an international reputation as a leader in commissioning and performing the innovative music of our time. Relâche has a unique sound—flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, viola, piano, bass and percussion, and performs works that are neither classical, nor popular, but somewhere in between—a melding of Western classical traditions with jazz, rock, electronica, world music, and more.

Excerpts from his website: Guy Klucevsek is one of the world’s most versatile and highly-respected accordionists. He has performed and/or recorded with Laurie Anderson, Bang On a Can, Brave Combo, Anthony Braxton, Anthony Coleman, Dave Douglas, Bill Frisell, Rahim al Haj, Robin Holcomb, Kepa Junkera, the Kronos Quartet, Natalie Merchant, Present Music, Relâche, Zeitgeist, and John Zorn.

Guy Klucevsek is the recipient of a 2010 United States Artists Collins Fellowship, an unrestricted $50,000 award given annually to "America's finest artists.”

Guy and his music are included in two documentaries about the accordion, “Behind the Bellows” and, most recently, “Accordions Rising” by Roberta Cantow.

Guy has premiered over 50 solo accordion pieces, including his own, as well as those he has commissioned from Mary Ellen Childs, William Duckworth, Fred Frith, Aaron Jay Kernis, Jerome Kitzke, Stephen Montague, Somei Satoh, Lois V Vierk, and John Zorn.

Performances include the Ten Days on the Island Festival (Tasmania), the Adelaide Festival (Australia), the Berlin Jazz Festival, Lincoln Center, Spoleto Festival/USA, BAM Next Wave Festival, Cotati Accordion Festival, San Antonio International Accordion Festival, Vienna International Accordion Festival, and the children’s television show “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

His 1987 project, Polka From the Fringe, a collection of commissioned polkas by Fred Frith, Elliott Sharp, Bobby Previte, Carl Finch, et. al., toured around the world and was released on 2 cds on the eva label, and were named “best recordings 1992” on WNYC-FM’s “New Sounds” program.

In 1996, he founded Accordion Tribe, an international ensemble of composer/accordionists Otto Lechner (Austria), Maria Kalanemi (Finland), Lars Hollmer (Sweden), Bratko Bibic (Slovenia) and himself. They toured internationally from 1996-2009, are the subjects of Stefan Schwietert’s award-winning documentary film, Accordion Tribe: Music Travels, and released 3 cds on the Intuition (Germany) label.

His music theatre scores include “Chinoiserie” and “Obon” with Ping Chong and Company, “Hard Coal,” with the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, “Industrious Angels” for Laurie McCants, “Cirque Lili” for French circus artist Jérôme Thomas, which has been performed over 250 times world wide, always with live music, and his own piece, “Squeeze Play,” an evening of collaborations with Dan Hurlin, David Dorfman and Dan Froot, Claire Porter, and Mary Ellen Childs. He and Dan Hurlin were awarded, jointly, a BESSIE for, “The Heart of the Andes,” which has played the Henson International Puppetry Festival, The Barbican Center in London, and the Ten Days on the Island Festival, Tasmania.

Klucevsek has released over 20 recordings as soloist/leader on Tzadik, Winter & Winter, innova, Starkland, Review, Intuition, CRI, and XI. Stereo Review cited his Starkland recording, Transylvanian Software, as a recording of special merit" (1995). He can also be heard on John Williams’s orchestral scores for the Steven Spielberg films, “The Terminal,” "Munich," “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” and “The Adventures of Tin-Tin,” and on A. R. Rahman’s score for “People Like Us.”

On Saturday, June 30,2018 at 8:PM, Guy was part of PS21 Theatre’s Opening Night Celebration and Revue, in Chatham, NY, and performed his solo compositions.

For further information:

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

Experience the 2018 AAA Master Class and Concert Series: Thinking Inside the Box

by Jeanne Velonis and Dr. Denise Koncelik
AAA logo
Bill SchimmelAmerican Accordionists' Association (AAA) Master Class and Concert Series
William Schimmel (picture right), moderator and curator presents:
"Thinking inside the Box. Our 24th Smash Year"

Download form and information on the AAA site at:

July 27, 28, 29, 2018 at the Tenri Cultural Institute
43a west 13th street between 5th & 6th avenues

Master Classes at 3:PM
Concerts at 7:PM
$25.00 per master class
$30.00 per concert
$50.00 per day, includes master class and concert
$135.00 per entire weekend

Performers, presenters, master class topics and concerts will be announced as the program is finalized.

Participants will include:
micki goodman, paul stein, dr. robert young mc mahan, will holshouser, doug makofka, brian dewan, yoichi fukui, gene pritsker, melissa elledge, mark nathanson, benjamin ickies, godfrey nelson, lorraine nelson wolf, dragica banic curcic, peter flint, erica marie mancini, dave soldier, mayumimiyaoka, dan cooper, the yorkvillians, rachel swaner, the main squeeze orchestra, bachtopus, milica paranosic, machael dames, peter jarvis, david stoler, david first, mary spencer knapp, dr. hugo goldernzweig, lee mc clure, ken laufer, john foti, kathleen tipton, marni rice, bob goldberg, corn mo, rachid eladouni, carl reihl, linda reed, rita barnea, dr.denise koncelick, alicia svigals, elizabeth brown, ted nash, jeanne velonis,cecylia barczk, devon tipp, sydknee, michiyo suzuki, robert duncan, miwa gemini, jenny cho, elliott sharp, jennie muoio, elanie yau, charita patamikakam and many others, a few surprise guests, and dr. schimmel.

Accordionist Jeanne Velonis shares her perspective on the AAA Seminars:
“When First I Staggered Into the AAA Seminars”
I walked into my first Accordion Seminars in the summer of 2014 with my Titano and a double side order of curiosity. I had signed up for what I understood to be three days of lectures, masterclasses, and concerts, to be overseen by the mysterious Dr. Schimmel. I didn’t yet know what the topics would be, or what the concert programs would be, or who exactly would be playing, but I was in love with the accordion and felt ready for adventure.

One thing that had particularly caught my attention was the masterclasses. It seemed that anyone who wished to could play, and I found the possibility of doing so thrilling. Why would an intermediate accordion student with paralysing stage fright want to participate in such a thing, you ask? Hmmm?

Inside the Terri Cultural Institute I was welcomed by Dr. Schimmel, who assured me that yes, I could play in the masterclasses, and handed me a program for the afternoon portion of the day. This included the following: Session playing/party playing/film playing/theatre playing/street playing/subway playing The accordion in everyday life
Castaneda/quantum jumping and the accordion
Biviano, Creash, Geminani, Magnante, Cortese
The piano accordion as Esperanto.The Seminars are an accordion immersion experience.

At the end of three days, a non-accordion instrument looks exotic. The programming is stylistically broad, and the topics of discussion varied. The concerts feature players at all levels of experience, not just known virtuosi. The masterclasses are integrated into the afternoon portion, along with discussion and demonstration, and plenty of audience involvement. With such variety, and every participant starting from a different place in their personal accordion journey, the experience is bound to be a little different for everyone. Here is a little bit more of mine: “Is there anyone who wants to play?” Dr. Schimmel asked.
I had brought my arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s “Danse Arabe”, which came to be when my little community orchestra had played the piece, and the woodwind section was composed of six flutes, one shy clarinet, and me. I had compressed all of the non-flute wind parts into an accordion part, and later realized I could play all of that as well as doubling the celli with my left hand. This arrangement was an expansion of that. The tambourine bits were simulated by brushing the rattley switches of my accordion.

All the bellows shakes were involuntary; any percussion besides the switch rattles was probably my heartbeat amplified in the bellows. I finished the piece, but that was just the start, as there was a lot to explore: how had I developed the piece, what did it make me think of, and how could I better convey that? Could I expand my dynamics, for instance? Could I make the swells in the charismatic theme more dramatic? I tried these things and more, and the piece grew immediately under my hands. It was exciting and hugely encouraging, and I didn’t even need to be hospitalized afterwards. The vibe was one of growth and support and exploration of possibility, and this was the case of the rest of the weekend as well, afternoons and evenings alike.

I’m looking forward to the Seminars this year. What does Dr. Schimmel mean about the vitamins being inside the box? Do you know what he means? I don’t know the answer, but I’m looking forward to investigating the question, and hearing some great things that I have never heard before.”

Denise Koncelik, Accordionist and member of Bachtopus said, “The AAA Master Class & Concert Series is an EXPERIENCE for accordionists and accordion lovers. Each afternoon from 3-5:00 pm there is a Master Class with accordion relevant presentations and discussions.  This is not a traditional “show up and play a piece for commentary” master class setting, it is an informative and thought provoking experience. Topics cover various aspects from the history of the accordion and performers to the philosophy of the instrument and its players. 

Often, moderator and curator Dr. William Schimmel will invite guest presenters and performers for the afternoon sessions.  In 2016 Ted Nash (Jazz at Lincoln Center) spoke and performed, and in 2017, Elliott Sharp and Lauren Flannigan (NY City Opera) were presenters.

Each evening there is a two-hour concert from 7-9:00 PM.  This is not your grandpa’s accordion music.  Every musical work is either solo accordion, or accordion and something or someone else.  Many of the performances are of new music performed by the composer.  The variety of styles and performers is phenomenal.  Musical styles include; alternative, classical, electronic, eclectic, dark, serious, funny, all kinds of music are presented.  The first time I ever heard a live Shō (Japanese free reed instrument) player was at one of these concerts.

While there is no participatory festival orchestra experience in NYC - the EXPERIENCE of the seminars is unique and exhilarating for any avid accordionist or accordion lover. 

Honor the heritage of the accordion and immerse yourself in the innovative accordion of the 21st Century at the 24th Smash Year of the AAA Master Class & Concert Series “Thinking Inside the Box". “

For reservations and information:
or Phone: 212-876-0827.

Gary Daverne CD's and eSheet music available online

Hanzhi Wang: Naxos Will Release Her Debut Album, Upcoming US Concerts

by Rita Barnea
Hanzhi WangVideo: On the Path to H.C. Andersen (Full Video Trailer)

Hanzhi Wang shares, “I have a thrilling announcement today! It is an honor to release my debut solo album; “On the Path to H.C. Andersen” by Naxos in August, which is the first accordion solo album from Naxos!

With the unique program in this album, I will take you into the ‘fairy-tale world of the accordion’. All the works are written originally for accordion by Danish composers, and I am especially excited about the world premiere recording of “Little Match Girl”, written by Martin Lohse in 2015. This piece is dedicated to me, and the loneliness and solitude feeling of the music, describes wonderfully H.C Andersens fairytale.

The idea of the CD is - despite the fact that time, life and place has passed - a remembering of the first images I got when my parents told the fairy-tales by Hans Christian Andersen. Images which has fascinated generations of children all over the world, creating dreams, hopes and creativeness. All the selected program in the CD is therefore exploring the colors and expressive sounds of the accordion, which brings you back to the memories and dreams of your childhood.

Stay tuned! The following release concerts will be in different countries and in some amazing concert halls.”

Excerpts from YCA (Young Concert Artists) website: Praised for her engaging stage presence and performances that are technically and musically brilliant, Hanzhi Wang is the first accordionist to join the roster of Young Concert Artists in its 57-year history of discovering extraordinary musicians.

Her concert career has already taken her around the globe with performances in Europe and Asia.  Ms. Wang will make her debut in the Young Concert Artists Series in New York, opening the 2018-19 season in The Peter Marino Concert at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall. Her Washington, DC debut in the Young Concert Artists Series at the Kennedy Center will be co-presented with Washington Performing Arts.

A First Prize Winner of the 2017 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, she was awarded numerous special performance prizes for upcoming concerts with the Candlelight Concert Society in Columbia, MD; the Sinfonia Gulf Coast in Destin, FL; the Tri-I Noon Recitals at Rockefeller University in New York City; the Vancouver Recital Society; Tannery Pond, the Usedom (Germany) Festival; the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle; the University of Florida Performing Arts Prize; and the Krannert Center at the University of Illinois/Urbana. Ms. Wang also appears next season with IRIS Orchestra in Tennessee, at the Bravo! Vail Music Festival, and at YCA alumnus’s Alexander Fiterstein Clarinet Academy in Minneapolis.

Summer Performances: Hanzhi is very excited to present the 3rd AF Clarinet Academy in Minneapolis this summer July 9-13, 2018. There will be participants from around the US as well as South Korea. Concerts by acclaimed pianist Michael Brown and virtuoso accordionist Hanzhi Wang who will perform works by Jeajoon Ryu, Bernstein, Weber, Joan Tower and Paquito D’Rivera. Warm ups and fundamentals with Lisa Perry and much more. Thank you to the sponsor Midwest Musical Imports and hope to see you in Minneapolis!.

Hanzhi will also appear in the beginning of the 2018-19 season. Hanzhi Wang stars in promoting the First Prize Winners of the last three years for Young Concert Artists Competition at the League of American Orchestras annual meeting. On October 7, 2018 she headlines the concert “A Toast to Women” celebrating women composers and performers as they kick off their 2018-19 Season.

Naxos, the world’s leading classical music label, is known for recording exciting new repertoire with exceptional talent. The label has one of the largest and fastest growing catalogues of unduplicated repertoire available anywhere with state-of-the-art sound and consumer-friendly prices. The catalogue includes classical music CDs and DVDs as well other genres such as jazz, new age, educational and audiobooks.

Photo credit: Matt Dine

For further information:

4 Music Books by Stas Venglevski

Emmanuel Gasser Wins Five First Places at Leavenworth Festival

by Rita Barnea
photo: Michael Bridge, Cody McSherry, Emmanuel Gasser, Cory Pesaturo
Photo above: Michael Bridge, Cody McSherry, Emmanuel Gasser, Cory Pesaturo

Emmanuel Gasser from Ontario, Canada recently competed and won first place in five categories in the 2018 Leavenworth International Accordion Festival held in the state of Washington, USA.

These are the categories and selections he performed in each:
LIAC Open: “Renaldo” by Willi Valotti, “Monsieur Ferrero” by Eric Bouvelle, “Tango Frio” by Emmanuel Gasser
Classical Open: “Sonata L. 104 in C major” by Domenico Scarlatti,
LIAC Old Time Open: “Hirven Hölkkää” by Petri Makkonen, “Lyle's Polka” by Emmanuel Gasser
Variety 2: “Spitzbuebe-Schottisch” by Tony Huser, “Accordiana” by Charles Magnante
Accordion Duets (with Cody McSherry): “Gruss an Kerns” by Walter Grob, “Ruedi, dr Wildhüeter” by Hans Della Torre

Emmanuel shares his thoughts on his accomplishment at Leavenworth: “This years trip to Leavenworth was very gratifying. Not just because I won First Prize in every category that I entered in the competition but because I delivered my performances so well and met so many old friends, as well as made new friends.

To travel to Leavenworth I flew to Kelowna, BC, where I got I ride with an accordion friend to another accordion friends house and the three of us set out for Leavenworth the next day. The car we were in was full of accordions and suitcases, we barely had enough room for ourselves. In Leavenworth I could stay at a friend's house out of town which made me feel more like at home. Every night I would go to the Andreas Keller Restaurant and jam with old and new friends. We had a lot fun playing music from all around the world; movie theme songs, national anthems, rock, pop, jazz, classical and ethnic music from all over Europe.

The overjoyed party crowd was all perked up when I started some Swiss yodeling. All of a sudden I felt like I was playing in front of a wall made of cell phones, ipads and other cameras. The cheering crowd complained that I never told them that I had this "special feature" in me as well.

When it was time for the awards ceremony on Sunday morning, the beautiful trophies and medals were finally revealed. There were special trophies made of crystal, for the LIAC Open category because it was the 25th anniversary festival. The medals for other categories also had the 25th anniversary logo of LIAC on them.

After the awards ceremony the festival was going to wrap up at the Gazebo. My dear friend, Cody McSherry, had a half hour time slot and invited me to accompany him. It was a blast ! After that came my own time slot and I invited Rod to finish up with me because I was sleepy after the long party of the previous night. Not that Rod had a lot of energy but two sleepy guys are funnier than one! What can you expect after only three hours of sleep anyway?!

The organizers, volunteers and sponsors did an absolutely outstanding job for the 25th Leavenworth Accordion Festival. They brought immense happiness and joy to all people from small kids up to oldtimers.
Long live the accordion !

For further information:

Amy Jo Sawyer CD titled According to Amy

“What's Tango about the Classics” New Album by Dr. William Schimmel

by Rita Barnea
CDDr. William Schimmel’s latest album features new realities on the classics as Tangos. Available now on CD Baby.

Classical Accordion in the Tango dimension - An elderly gentlemen, a bit world weary, leaves the Tango Club after an evening of Tangos, Milongas, Chamames and other Tango related dances. He returns home and plays the Classics in Tango Style. He is happy!

Excerpts from Album notes: William Schimmel is one of the principal architects of the resurgence of the Accordion, The Tango revival in America and the Philosophy of Musical Reality (composiction using pre-existing) music. He received his diploma from the Neupauer Conservatory of Music where he studied the Dr. Jacob C. Neupauer, Lotta Hertlein, David Lampe and Paul Creston. Her received his Bachelor of Master of Science and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from The Juillard School where he studied with Elliot Carter, Luciano Berio, Vincent Persichetti, Roger Sessions and Hugo Weisgall.

His music has been performed worldwide by leading conductors including the Late Leopold Stokowski. He is the co - founder of The Tango Project which was seen and heard in the movie “Scent of a Woman” for which Al Pacino won and Oscar, as well as Number 1 on the Billboard Classical Charts.

In addition to performing in numerous movie soundtracks and theater projects, his Dance/ Theater/Video works with his wife, Micki Goodman, are internationally praised. Tom Waits fans can hear him on “Rain Dogs” and Frank's “Wild Years” and he stated: Bill Schimmel doesn't play the Accordion, he is an Accordion. His last album, “The Theater of the Accordion”includes a cameo by Wynton Marsalis

“What's Tango about the Classics” is an album of Homages (Realities) on
1 Von Suppe's “Poet and Peasant”
2 Ravel's “Quartet in F”
3 Rossini's “Semiramide”
4 Gardel's “Por Una Cabeza”
5 Strauss's “Emperor Waltz”
6 Strauss's “Blue Danube Waltz”
7 Saint Saens's “Introduction and Rondo Capriccios
8 Grieg's/Lizst/Tchaikovsky#1/Addinsel (Warsaw)
9 Schimmel
10 Mendellsohn's “Concerto in G Minor”

For more information:

Titano Accordion Company

Giorgio Albanese to Perform for Brooklyn Accordion Club

by Rita Barnea
Giorgio Albanese
Giorgio Albanese performs for the Brooklyn Accordion Club at South Oxford Space - A Project of A.R.T./New York on 138 S Oxford St, Brooklyn, New York on July 1, 2018 from 2-3:45:PM at the Great Room at South Oxford Space, 138 South Oxford Street, Brooklyn, NY (near Target, BAM)
Admission: $5.00
Open Mic: Interested? Please RSVP your spot.

Excerpts from his website: Giorgio Albanese was born in Ostuni, Italy. He has represented Italy three times at the World Accordion Championships with successes at 30 national and international competitions.

In 2009 he earned a degree in “Jazz Music” at the Conservatory of Music “Niccolò Piccinni,” Bari and in 2012 he specialized in “New Language Composition and Interpretation” at the Conservatory of Music, “Nino Rota”, Monopoli, achieving distinction, both times.

He has performed and collaborated with many leading musicians of both national and international fame, among them, Jhon Thicai (DEN), Gianni Lenoci (IT), Steve Potts (USA), Mirko Guerrini (ITA), Mikael Swafirowski (FIN), Yedo Gibson (BRA), Eugenio Colombo (ITA), Michele Rabbia (ITA), Pino Minafra (ITA), Carlo Actis Dato (Ita), Ricardo Tejero (SPA) and William Parker (USA).

He has also been actively involved in a wide variety of musical projects that span traditional as well as more contemporary jazz, working across multidiscipline arts such as theatre, dance and cinema. His music is influenced by world sounds and sound experimentation, producing a more profound, intrinsic language of music.

After his academic studies he focused on developing his own approach to music completely independent from the predominant aesthetic standards. This approach has enabled him to conceive the accordion as a “modern” sound and language, a synthesis of a rich artistic journey which finds its origins in the language of contemporary jazz. His original, musical works were used in the short film “L’ultima partenza”. He has composed music for theatre and from the start, has experimented with the interaction between sound and video, and more generally between visual arts and music, always looking for the most innovative ways of making art.

He often receives invitations from all over the world for workshops and masterclasses on jazz accordion. He conducts musical improvisation workshops inspired by both the Afro-American jazz tradition and European contemporary music. He works on different projects and holds concerts all over the world: Italy, France, Argentina, United Kingdom, United States, Australia, China, South Korea, Holland, Portugal, Spain, Egypt, Morocco, Croatia, Finland.

Giorgio is temporarily in the U.S. studying at Berklee College of Music. Don't miss this opportunity to see his performance!

For further information:

Jeff Lisenby CD A Spy In Tortuga

The Russians are Coming to the 2018 AAA Festival in July!

by Joan Grauman, AAA Historian
Russians at AAA
Daily Reports of video and pictures online at: 2018AAA80th

The month of June has been an incredibly busy one for me as the time draws near for our highly anticipated AAA 80th Anniversary Festival! With all of my added work preparing for the festival, I really couldn’t find time to write an article on AAA history for July.

Instead, I want to strongly encourage ALL of you to register and come out to Alexandria, Virginia to enjoy wonderful exhibits (some new ones this year!), terrific workshops and concerts, opportunities to play at our Wednesday and Thursday “After-hours Club”, attend the competitions, and to browse through the 80 years of AAA Archives.

Our banquet on Saturday evening, July 14, will feature the 2018 Festival Orchestra, under the direction of Joan Cochran Sommers, followed by a Lifetime Achievement Award presentation for Lou Coppola. Please visit the AAA website for additional details:

….And one more thing! As the title of this article says, “The Russians are Coming!” Don’t miss our Gala Concert and Reception on Friday evening, July 13! We not only have stellar performers lined up for the concert, we also have a delightful ensemble, “Russkie Musikanti” joining us as a special treat at the reception!!

This group, clad in exquisite Russian folk costumes, plays authentic Russian folk instruments (and, of course, there will be a piano accordion and a bayan), and specializes in traditional Russian and Ukrainian folk music. All of the members of this ensemble also play in the Washington Balalaika Society orchestra.

The timing of featuring this ensemble could not be better for us! The Balalaika and Domra Association of America (BDAA) just happens to be holding their 40th Anniversary Convention in King of Prussia, PA the week following the AAA Festival.

Several world-renowned musicians and music educators are coming to the United States to attend this convention. Three will be in the Washington, DC area on Friday, July 13, and will be playing with Russkie Musikanti at the reception.
Hope to see all of you there!

Picture caption: (clockwise from top) Russkie Musikanti, Guest Artists: Tetiana Khomenko (balalaika), Natalia Marunych (domra), Volodymyr Marunych (bayan)

Daily Reports of video and pictures online at: 2018AAA80th


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

Not Just Oom-PAH! Accordion Workshop and Concert June 16-17, 2018 Summary Report

by Laura Niland, President of the San Antonio Accordion Association
The Not Just Oom-PAH! Accordion Workshop and Concert was held on June 16-17, 2018 which was supported by a grant from the City of Austin, Cultural Arts Division and sponsored by Texas Folklife Resources.

The project was written and coordinated by Shirley Johnson from Austin and Laura Jean Niland, from San Antonio. Picture right: Ben Bradshaw, Ginny Mac, Jan Flemming, Laura Jean Niland, Shirley Johnson, Michael Longoria.

Participants (22 total) ranged in age from 8 to 80, making this a truly generational workshop! Many thanks go to Charlie Lockwood of Texas Folklife Resources for his support in making this project possible.

Application information at: 2018Oom-Pah.pdf
Full report with pictures at: 2018ReportOP.pdf

The International Trio, CD Available online, secure server

Angelo DiPippo Interview

by Rita Barnea
Here is a wonderful and informative interview of Angelo DiPippo. Cameras: Paula Setteducati. Editor: Dave Setteducati. Produced in association with Sellaro Lodge, OSDIA

Angelo DiPippo was the accordionist in the original Godfather movie wedding scene. He’s also done many other movies and was opera great Robert Merrill’s music director for many years.

Angelo recently arranged, conducted and performed some of the music for the Clint Eastwood directed movie, The 15:17 to Paris.

Excerpts from his website: Angelo DiPippo was born in Providence, Rhode Island. He is an alumnus of La Salle Academy, Holy Cross College and received an M.A. from Long Island University and an honorary doctorate from Five Towns College. After graduating from Holy Cross, Angelo came to New York to pursue a career in music.

He became a staff musician at WOR-TV and did shows at ABC and NBC and various local stations. He formed a jazz group featuring Sam Most on flute and Tommy Potter on bass. They appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival, Birdland, Café Bohemia, and numerous other venues. The group recorded an album on the Apollo label entitled "The Jazz Accordion." Angelo, with a trio, twice appeared on the Tonight Show.

He played accordion on Broadway in Fiddler on the Roof, Carnival, Irma La Douce, The Zulu and the Zayde, and was assistant conductor of the Broadway play, Poor Murderer.He has played accordion on thousands of recordings and ha s concertized and recorded with such artists as Randy New man, Peggy Lee, Jonathan Tunick, Toots Theilemans, Eddie Daniels, Harry Belafonte, Theodore Bikel, Don Sebesky, Alan King, Max Kaminsky, Father Mangano, Laurie Mangano, Judy Collins, Jimmy Dean, Jerry Vale, AL Martino, Jackie Gleason, The Ramones, Skitch Henderson and the New York Pops, Gilbert Becaud, Buddy De Franco, Connie Francis, Jimmy Roselli, Claudio Villa, Lester Lanin, Raymond Scott, etc.

DiPippo has written and produced hundreds of albums for such artists as Billy Eckstine, Enzo Stuarti, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor, La Tayna Hall, Mary Duff, the Four Lads, Connie Haines, Bob Hardwick, Lynn Roberts, Ansy DeRose (Haiti's most famous singer), etc. Angelo was the conductor and arranger for the Metropolitan Opera baritone Robert Merrill for twenty three years. He has done extensive arranging and conducting for Roberta Peters, (also from the Met.) He arranged and conducted a Lincoln Center concert featuring James Earl Jones.
Angelo wrote the arrangements for the Museum of Modern Arts' exhibit, "Vienna 1900." He has also performed on the Today Show, the Regis Philbin Show, Sesame Street, the Jackie Gleason Shoe, the Sammy Kay Show, etc. He has also appeared with the New York City Ballet.

Angelo DiPippo wrote a fusion album featuring the music of Jerome Kern. It was a five part album set celebrating the centenary of Kern's birth. The set features Frank Sinatra, Henry Mancini, Sarah Vaughn, Stan Kenton, Nancy Wilson and Anita O'Day, among others.

Angelo has played on the soundtracks of many films, including Wiseguys, Lovers and Other Strangers, Wait Until Spring Bandini, Cookie, Tuff Turf, Children of the Corn, Johnny Skidmarks, The Dangerous Hero, O.C. and Stiggs, Playing for Time, Almost You, etc. Angelo played accordion on the soundtrack of the Godfather I. He also appeared on screen, playing accordion in the wedding scene of the movie.

He recently wrote and recorded some of the music for the new Woody Allen movie, To Rome with Love released in the summer of 2012. Angelo was voted Best Accordionist in the prestigious Keyboard Magazine poll. In 2011, he was honored at Las Vegas International Accordion Convention. The plaque states in part, "in recognition of your distinguished contribution to accordion music and culture through artistry and performance." DiPippo resides in Garden City, New York and maintains a full schedule of assignments.

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

James Anglisano at the Long Island Accordion Alliance

by Dominic Karcic
At the recent Long Island Accordion Alliance (LIAA) event on June 6, 2018, in attendance for the first time, was a former accordionist, James Anglisano. After some cordial greetings our discussion turned to the accordion and his past involvement with the instrument. 

Photo: (left to right) Dominic Karcic, James Anglisano, Mary Tokarski and Ray Oreggia

What really roused my interest and attention was the fact that he had been friendly and associated with several past presidents of the American Accordionists’ Association (AAA). These included Elise M. Bennett, Joseph Biviano, Pietro Deiro Sr. and Carmen Carzozza.

A Brooklyn, NY native he started studying the accordion at the age of seven at the Pietro Deiro Accordion Conservatory in lower Manhattan. His teacher was the celebrated accordionist Carmelo (Carmen) Carrozza. James studied the accordion for about five years and also spent some time studying with Joe Biviano (1953). 

Eventually he started teaching at the Bennett Music School in Brooklyn, NY (1948 – 1951). The school probably had about two-hundred accordion students at that time and the accordion teaching faculty included Elsie M. Bennett, John Doll, Ben Israel, Hugo Nati and Kate Starr.

Elsie M. Bennett became his close friend, mentor and eventually he began attending, as a “junior board member,” the regular meetings of the American Accordionists’ Association (AAA) at a Greenwich Village, NY restaurant (1949 to 1951) with Ms. Bennett.

Moving on from teaching at the Bennett Music School, Mr. Anglisano taught privately and at some point had well over forty students getting $3.00 for a half hour lesson. He also played in various bands in the local club date circuit.

He served in the USA military in the mid to late ‘50’s doing a tour in Korea. While there, beside his military duties, he also served as a non-commissioned assistant to the entertainment director of the Eight Army Special Service Unit and also performed at various military venues in and around Seoul, Korea.

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

Passing of Beloved Music Teacher Donna Michael: Tribute by Rachel Quirbach

by Rachel Quirbach
Rachel Quirbach
There some people that have been such a significant part in our lives that summarizing all they mean to us is nearly impossible. One of those people for me was my music teacher, Donna. She died this morning, June 29, 2018.

Donna taught me accordion and piano lessons weekly from right when I turned four years old all the way through when I moved to Arizona for college 14.5 YEARS later. Donna was the kind of teacher who pushed you to do your best. Not giving it your all was unacceptable.

Donna often turned my 30-minute lesson time to a 4+ hour slot as competition neared in order to make sure I was ready to go. She made sure to be in the room for all of my big competitions growing up; heck, she even went all the way to Canada to see me compete in the world competition one time. And the most amazing thing is, she had this level of care and commitment to all of her students. Through us, her legacy and spirit will live on.

Donna, I hope you’re having a great time up in heaven. Thank you for mentoring me throughout my life - from playing music with heart to making coffee last as long as possible, I have learned so much from you. I love you and look forward to seeing you again someday.

To other students and friends of Donna Michael: if you need someone to talk to, I am only a message away.

Rachel Quirbach Bio: Rachel Quirbach was a student of Donna’s for nearly 15 years. Rachel is currently pursuing a career in music therapy, conducting her internship at Florida State Hospital and in the process of completing her undergraduate degree in Music Therapy through Arizona State University's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

Rachel actively promotes awareness of the accordion within the music therapy and collegiate musician communities by incorporating the instrument into her practice and advocating for it via her social media. Rachel has advocated for accordion and music therapy at the local, regional, and national level, most notably through her program Building Hope Through Music, which brings music therapy informed interventions into the corrections system. Rachel looks forward to bringing more live music experiences into the correctional sphere in the years to come.

The wake for Donna is at the McKenna-Oulette Funeral Home-
327 Hildreth St.
Lowell, Ma.  01850
Visiting hours from 4:00-7:00
Service mass from 7:00-8:00 this Thursday the 5th.
Burial is Notre Cemetery in Fall River on Friday at 11:00.

For further information:

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

Gia Ciccone Performs for Classmates

by Dr. Joseph Ciccone, AAA President
Gia Ciccone and classmates
Gia performsAt the Somers Intermediate School in Somers NY:

Thursday June 14, 2018 was a very exciting morning in Mrs. Groner, Mrs. Peppe and Mrs. Cohen`s 5th grade class rooms at the Somers Intermediate School in Somers NY; as they watched 11-year-old classmate, Gia Ciccone perform on her Titano Accordion.

They were Amazed by Gia`s performance as she played a variety of songs including "Banderas" (by Palmer & Hughes), "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" (by Elton John), "Waltz Theme" (by A. Durand), finishing with "Carnival of Venice" (Arr. By Mario Tacca). The class showed an immediate interest in the accordion and both students and teachers had many questions for Gia.

We all know that kids do not often get to see the Accordion in Public Schools, so this was an opportunity for young students to be exposed to this amazing instrument. There is a definite need to showcase this beautiful instrument to the children in the Elementary, Intermediate, Middle and High schools. Nowadays, the Accordion is an instrument that most children have never seen or heard before in person; but once they do, it sparks an interest.

The American Accordionists’ Association is looking for just that... to see more children interested and wanting to play the Accordion. This can only happen if the Accordion can get this type of exposure in the school system.

The AAA’s Youth Outreach Program headed by chairperson Don Gerundo, has been working tirelessly to achieve these exact goals for the Accordion. Mr. Gerundo and the Youth Outreach Program are committed to succeed in their mission.

If you are interested in supporting the Youth Outreach Program please contact the AAA at for more information. Remember to send in an article if your child plays the Accordion at school.
Gia Ciccone

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

Report on 2018 Accordion Visit to Castelfidardo

by Rita Barnea
The 2018 visit to ‘The Home of the Accordion’ took place in May 2018 consisted of accordionists from England, Ireland, Scotland, USA and Canada. The group visited the various accordion factories in Castelfidardo and accordion museums. Everyone increased their knowledge of accordions while enjoying beautiful music and meeting many accordion personalities.

For anyone interested in joining a visit to Castelfidardo in May/June 2019 please email: Peter Le Geyt at for details.

View a detailed report of the 2018 visit: 2018ItalyVisit.pdf

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

WMAS 2018 Spring Members Concert and Fall Guest Concert Info

by Rita Barnea
WMAS member, Joan Grauman said, “The Washington Metropolitan Accordion Soiety held its annual Spring Members Concert on June 10, 2018. Many members participated and played a nice variety of musical styles, including a few selections with vocal accompaniment.”

WMAS frequently holds guest concerts featuring prominent accordionists. The WMAS annual Fall Guest Article Concert takes place on September 16, 2018 at 4:PM and will feature Will Holshouser. Excerpts from his website: Will Holshouser was given an accordion as a surprise when he was still young and impressionable. He has since found a unique niche for himself as an accordionist, improviser, and composer in many different areas of music. He tours regularly with jazz violinist Regina Carter and her band Reverse Thread.

He also plays in a collaborative trio with Amsterdam-based improvisers, drummer Han Bennink and saxophonist/clarinetist Michael Moore. This group has a new CD out and has toured in Europe, the US and Africa. Will's long-standing trio features Ron Horton on trumpet and David Phillips on bass.

Will has also played with David Krakauer, Antony and the Johnsons, Martha Wainwright, Loudon Wainwright, Andy Statman, Phillip Johnston, Matt Munisteri & Brock Mumford, the Raymond Scott (tribute) Orchestrette, Roberto Rodriguez, Mark Morris Dance, New York City Ballet, Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, and many others.

Will studied composition with Anthony Braxton and Bill Barron at Wesleyan University, where he received a grant to research Cajun and Creole music in Louisiana. After moving to New York in the early 1990s, he studied accordion with Dr. William Schimmel. He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and daughter.

WMAS brings in two guest artists annually, usually one in the spring and one in the fall. These are musicians from outside the DC area to whom a stipend is offered to play a 60-90 minute concert during the regular meeting.

WMAS is open to everyone and warmly welcomes out-of-town musicians to attend any of the meetings, to play in their frequent open-mic-type concerts and events, or to perform (on a pre-arranged basis) a short set during one of their meetings.

The mission of WMAS is to bring together accordionists and promote accordion music in the national capital region. The organization meets at 4:PM on one Sunday every month (except for August, usually) at Sleepy Hollow United Methodist Church in Falls Church, Virginia.

WMAS Poster: Created by Dan Grauman

For further information:

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Future events

Sounding Out the Accordion by Thierry Benetoux

28th Annual Cotati Accordion Festival on August 18-19 in California

by Rita Barnea
Cotati Festival 2018
The 28th Annual Nonprofit Cotati Accordion Festival takes place on August 18 and 19, 2018 in La Plaza Park in downtown Cotati. Be sure to attend for non stop accordion entertainment. The line up according to Honorary Director Paul Rogers includes:
Netta Skog (Finland)
Gabe Hall-Rodriguez
Stas Venglevski
Debra Peters
Zydeco Flames
Sourdough Slim
Culann's Hounds with Renée de la Prade
Those Darn Accordions (TDA)
Cory Pesaturo
the Mad Maggies
Accordion Apocalypse Stage
Hernandez Hideaway
Michael Zampiceni
Matthias Matzke (Germany)
The Great Morgani
Two Gypsy Kisses
Future Accordion Stars
Golden State Accordion Band
Steve Balich Jr. Polka Band
Jim Gilman
MotorDude Zydeco
Mark St. Mary
T-Luke and the Tight Suits
Simone Baron
Oddjob Ensemble
The Traveling Spectacular
Thee Hobo Gobbelins
Karla Mi Lugo
Bellow Shakes
Kalei Yamanoha
Nathan & Jesse
JD Limelight
Creosote with Jamie Maschler
The Wild Catahoulas
Tom Torriglia Band

More acts will be added as they are confirmed.T-shirts and posters are available for sale. If you new interested, please write to:

Scott Goree shares, “The Cotati Accordion Festival has been called the “Woodstock of the Accordion World.” We believe the festival has become a seminal event bringing  so many diverse people together in the accordion arena. While we will be featuring international virtuosos Cory Pesaturo, Stas Venglevski, Matthias Matzke Netta Skog, and Jamie Maschler, we also have polka bands, zydeco dance parties, a student program, the jam tent, indie bands, 70 vendors, a Grand Finale,  and much more.

We attempt to make the festival a multi-cultural event that can bring people to the park that might not have been aware of how great Cory Pesaturo and Stas Venglevski are; how Finland produces so many great female accordionists;  and how international players are so interested in coming to play in Cotati, California. 5,000 people a year come to the Cotati Accordion Festival and experience a vast array of uses for the accordion. Plus, we are able to donate the profits each year to local youth groups to the tune of $20,000.00 a year plus.”

The Cotati Accordion Festival is a non-profit organization established in 1991
to promote the love of the accordion and to support local youth service organizations. To date they have contributed just under $500,000 to the youth of the community.

Tickets are $17.00 advance for one-day and $27.00 advance for two-day and are available online at, by calling 888-559-2576, or by mailing to C.A.F, P.O.Box 809, Cotati, Ca., 94931.
For any questions, please call Scott at 707-479-5481

"Accordions Around the World" in Bryant Park, NYC, in August and September

by Rita Barnea
Bryant ParkBryant Park Corporation has announced the schedule for its newly-renamed summer performing arts series Bryant Park Picnics. At each Picnic, Bryant Park provides over 200 blankets to borrow, and Hester Street Fair curates local food vendors. Beer and wine are available for purchase, and the grass is dotted with jugglers and supersized games.

Grab a blanket, get comfortable, and enjoy the show! All Picnics events are free and open to the public. No tickets, no lines. Come as you are and leave when you please. Hester Street Fair selects acclaimed local food vendors. Beer and wine is also available for purchase. Enjoy lawn games including corn hole, juggling, giant Jenga, hula hoops, and more.

Accordions Around the World - A musical journey representing cultures from all over the globe each week, culminating in the Accordion Festival. Curated by Ariana Hellerman. Accordions Around the World is a five-week series that brings dozens of accordionists, as well as bandoneón, bayan, concertina, and harmonium-players of different musical genres, to perform at Bryant Park. Audiences have a chance to experience the range of the accordion.

The series culminates on a Friday with the Accordion Festival, which showcases five bands, each featuring an accordion, playing music from a range of different cultures.

Performers include:
Wednesday, August 15, 5:30pm - 7:30pm - Bryant Park Lawn; Phil Passantino (Cajun + Zydeco), Maestro Tito Castro (Bandoneón: Argentine Tango), Foncho Castellar (Colombian Cumbia + Vallenato), Gregory Grene (Irish Rock), Eduardo de Carvalho (Brazilian Forró), Christina Crowder (Klezmer & Moldavian Folk), Jenny Luna (Balkan + Turkish), Susan Hwang (Blues + Soul), Jody Kruskal (Concertina: Old Americana), Dmitry Sokolovsky (Retro, Samba, Musette + Jazz), Nathan Koci (American and English Folk Tunes), and Barry Adler (German + Austrian)

Wednesday, August 22, 5:30pm - 7:30pm - Bryant Park Lawn. John Sherman (Cajun, Appalachian + Blues), Tinta Roja (Argentine Bandoneón + Guitar), El Toro de la Sierra (Mexican Norteño), Dan Gurney (Traditional Irish), Felipe Hostins (Northeast Brazilian), Ben Rosenblum (Jazz + Klezmer), The Bumper Crop Boys (Blues and Country), Yuri Lemeshev (World, Classical + Jazz), Sam Reider (American Roots), Erica Mancini (Jazz, Blues + Country), Mario Tacca (French Musette + Waltz), more artists TBA

Wednesday, August 29, 5:30pm - 7:30pm - Bryant Park Lawn. Kenny Margolis (Zydeco + Blues), David Hodges (Bandoneón: Argentine Tango), Harold Rodriguez (Colombian Vallenato), Annmarie Acosta (Williams Traditional Irish), Rob Curto (Brazilian Bluegrass), Ed Goldberg & the Odessa Klezmer Band (Eastern European Klezmer), Peter Stan + Peter Stan (Balkan), George Saenz (Music from Texas-Mexico Border), Smörgåsbandet (Scandinavian), Earl Ball (Polka, French + Tango), Mindra Sahadeo (Harmonium: South Asian), and Rachelle Garniez (Genre-fluid story-songs)

Wednesday, September 5, 5:30pm - 7:30pm - Bryant Park Lawn. Laren Droll (Cajun + Zydeco), Laura Vilche (Bandoneón: Argentine Tango), Nain, Acordeonista de los M-1 (Mexican Norteño), Cordeone (Portuguese Fado), Ilya Shneyveys (Traditional + Original Klezmer), Eva Salina and Peter Stan (Vintage Balkan Roma Ballads), Melissa Elledge (Pop + Rock), Albert Behar (French Musette + Gypsy Jazz), Alan Morrow (Waltzes, Tango + Blues), and Papa Bavarian (German Oktoberfest), more artists TBA

Wednesday, September 12, 5:30pm - 7:30pm - Bryant Park Lawn. Julie Winterbottom (Cajun Music from Louisiana), Javier Sánchez (Bandoneón: Argentine Tango), Sadys Rodrigo Espitia (Colombian Cumbia + Vallenato), Patty Furlong (Traditional Irish), Vitor Gonçalves (Brazilian Choro + Forró), Shoko Nagai (Japanese + Jewish), Papa Joe De Clemente (Italian + American Standards), Will Holshouser (Jazz + Folk), Ismail Butera (Ancient Mediterranean), Ryan O'Donnell + Friends (Ukrainian), Maestro (Electronic Balkan), and Guillermo Vaisman (Coastal Argentine Chamamé)

Accordion Festival - September 14, 5:00pm - 10:00pm; Bryant Park Stage. Shashmaqam (Bukharan Jewish music and and Central Asian dance), Rimel (Norteño from Northern Mexico), Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino (Pizzica tarantata from Puglia, Italy), Shilpa Ray (Indie rock with the harmonium), and more TBA

Irish Music, Song and Dance Cruise – Seattle to Alaska

by Rob Howard
Irish Cruise
Irish CruiseJoanie Madden, of the band Cherish the Ladies, is organising an Irish Music, Song and Dance Cruise, August 19th to 26th. The entertainers include several accordionists and bands featuring accordions. The cruise offers a $99 Unlimited Open Bar, dining and internet packages or excursion discounts as incentives!

The cruise departs from Seattle, Washington and sailing to Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan in Alaska, also sailing through majestic Glacier Bay and stopping in Victoria, British Columbia.

Full size flyer: 2018Alaska.pdf

The entertainers on board include: Cherish the Ladies, Sharon Shannon, Lúnasa, Johnny McEvoy, Eddi Reader and Phil Cunningham, Pat Shortt, Susan McCann, Dermot Henry, The Ennis Sisters, Don Stiffe, Makem & Clancy, Daoirí Farrell, Tommy Sands, Padraig Allen and the McLean Avenue Band, Gerry Timlin, Patrick and Conor O’Sullivan, Arty McGlynn and Nollaig Casey, Gabriel Donohue, Máirtín de Cógáin, Kate Purcell, Billy McComiskey, Dylan Foley and Josh Dukes, Pride of Moyvane Ceili Band, The Great Craic Band, Sean Fleming Band, Ronan O’Flaherty, Donie Carroll, Seanie Moloney, Kevin Crawford, Cillian Vallely, Colin Farrell, Trevor Hutchinson, Ed Boyd, John Nolan, Donnchadh Gough, Mary Rafferty, Rory Makem, Donal Clancy, Hughie Boyle, Brendan O’Shea, Cormac DeBarra, Joe Biancorusso, Jake James, Kevin McHugh, Tony Corbett, Bruce Foley, Pauline Conneely and Ger Carey, Pat Kane and Terry Kane, Hughie Boyle, The Sailor’s on the Rock, Monsignor John Griffin, Mark Murphy, Bruce Gordon, Justin Jordan. Irish Step Dancing with Donny Golden, Cara Butler, Jon Pilatzke, David Geaney, Anne Marie Keaney, Declan McHale, Michael Boyle, Michael Holland, Tom Lavin, Set Dance Masters Padraig and Roisin McEneany, Ceili Dance with Paul Keating and Marianne MacDonald. Plus Norwegian Cruise Line's amazing entertainment with fantastic music and Broadway Shows will be there for your enjoyment too!! Waltzing, Jiving, Ceil and Set Dancing, Concerts, Lectures, Music and Singing Sessions, Golf outings and more!!!

Joanie Madden is also organising her Folk 'N Irish Cruise from May 12th to 19th 2019, departing from New York and sailing to Bermuda on board the Norwegian Escape.

For further information email:

Accordion Pops Orchestra ALS Benefit Concert in September

by Rita Barnea
The May 20, 2018 concert for the benefit of the ALS Hope Foundation, which was originally planned to be held at Temple University's Ambler, PA campus, has been rescheduled for September 23, 2018.  It will be combined with their annual Shannondell concert (see below).  

A Concert of Hope
Shannondell at Valley Forge - Auditorium
10000 Shannondell Drive
Audobon, PA 19403

This will be their ninth concert at beautiful Shannondell, a retirement home near historic Valley Forge!  It is open to the public.

A portion of the proceeds are for the benefit of the ALS Hope Foundation

APO Conductor Al Terzo is a teacher, conductor and arranger and has been a member of the orchestra since it began in 1970. He is a member of the New Jersey Music Teachers Association and National Association of Music Educators. He is also on the governing board of the American Accordionists' Association an a founding member of the Mid-Atlantic Music Teachers Guild. As an accomplished accordionist, he has given performances at the Garden State Arts Center and Newark Symphony Hall. He also teachers accordion and piano in New Jersey.

The orchestra's roots can be traced to 1970, when it was organized by the Accordion Teachers' Association of New Jersey. Over the next ten years it performed at various community functions throughout the state under the direction of its first conductor, Dr.Jacob Neupauer of Philadelphia.

In 1980 the orchestra members took a leave of absence, but four years later the membership was reorganized under the direction of the late Eugene Ettore of Livingston, New Jersey. In 1985, Daniel Desiderio was invited to act as a guest conductor of the orchestra and a few years later the A.T.A. of NJ appointed him as conductor in residence. The name of the orchestra was formally changed to the Accordion Pops Orchestra and its membership was expanded beyond the original members from New Jersey to include performers from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Maryland, and Rhode Island. Maestro Desiderio retired as conductor in May 2011 and turned over the baton to Al Terzo.

One of the largest professional accordion orchestras of its kind on the East Coast, the group consists entirely of accordions plus percussion instruments. In addition, the orchestra often accompanies guest soloists including pianists and vocal artists. 

For further information: if you are interested in engaging the orchestra
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