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


Breaking News: Passing of Gene Van (1936 - 2018)
Editor's Note
United States Military’s Two Accordionists Featured - White House
Octoberfest Las Vegas International Accordion Festival Ready to Start - USA
Ludovic Beier at Carnegie Hall with Django Festival Allstars
Come join the fun and “Celebrate with the Stars”.
Growing up in the accordion schools: The 1950s through the 1970s
Peter Soave Music Academy in Sauris, Dolomite - Italy
25th Anniversary of the Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration
Michael Bridge’s New Album, “Overture” Now Available
Paul Betken Releases New CD “Beyond My Comfort Zone”
78th ATG Festival July 25-28 in Lisle, IL (Chicago)
Dr.William Schimmel: Accordionist for “Carousel” Nominated for 11 Tony Awards
Cody McSherry to Perform with the Accordion Pops Orchestra
Joey Miskulin to headline World Accordion Day at AWAM in Superior, WI - USA
Elena and Gregory Fainshtein Present TED Talks About the Accordion

Voci Armoniche

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

Time to register for the 2018 AAA 80th Anniversary Festival!
“Accordions Rising”: In Celebration of World Accordion Day and Accordion Awareness Month
Peter Gresser Wins “Big Squeeze” Polka Category
Bachtopus to Perform in NYC on World Accordion Day
Connecticut Accordion Association Presents “Music From the Stage and Screen”
Lionel Reekie Returns to the US, AAA 80th Anniversary Festival - Alexandria
Don Gerundo and Spencer Bruno in LIAA Performance
Cody McSherry Performs With Kolo Club Marian at 2018 Croatian Folklore Festival
Texas Folklife Announces 2018 Big Squeeze Accordion Grand Prize Winners
Dan Newton’s Cafe Accordion Orchestra Celebrates World Accordion Day
Student Accordion Band in Queens School Concert
Dominic Karcic Performs for LIAA
Accordionist Ivan Filipchyk Performed in Brooklyn Concert on April 15

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Future events

Grayson Masefield In New Jersey House Concert on July 7
International Digital Electronic Accordion Symposium: Oct. 24-28 in Ohio
AAA Master Class and Concert Series July 27-29 in NYC
David Rothenberg’s New Work for Accordion, Cello, Guitar, Pre-recorded Whale
4 Places Open for V International Jazz Accordion Master Classes in Spain

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

New and Updated Sites

Updated Site: Mike Middleton Adds Pictures and Text - USA



Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Breaking News: Passing of Gene Van (1936 - 2018)

by Rita Barnea
Joe Natoli, Gene Van, Betty Jo SimonWe sadly announce the passing of accordion icon and highly respected teacher Gene Van. On 28 May, Memorial Day, Gene Van peacefully passed away with his loving family by his side.

Picture right: Joe Natoli, Gene Van and Amy Jo Sawyer.

Our sincere condolences to all the family of Gene Van.

Pictures and further information will be in our 1st June edition Accordion USA News.

Visitation information at Hahn Funeral Homes.
Funeral Service
11:00 AM Fri., Jun. 01, 2018
Location: St. Thomas the Apostle Church

Picture below: Gene Van Accordion Orchestra

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

Editor's Note

by Rita Barnea
Editor Rita BarneaWelcome to the May USA news celebrating World Accordion Day on May 6! In this publication, you will read about special accordion concerts and events during the entire month honoring our favorite instrument.

Check out the special site after 6th May about World Accordion Day to see what is happening in the US and around the world to promote the accordion.

World Accordion Day was started in 2009 by the CIA and has been very successful generation much positive publicity for the accordion. No event is too big or too small. This is a CIA promotion for the accordion in which every accordion enthusiast can participate and help bring our accordion world together.

Titano Accordion Company

United States Military’s Two Accordionists Featured - White House

by Rita Barnea
Frank Busso Jnr & Manny Bobenrieth
Manny BobenriethFrank BussoPicture above: Master Sergeant Busso and Sergeant Major Bobenrieth, shown in rehearsal the day before the State Dinner.
Pictures left/right: Pictured in the Entrance Hall of The White House performing.

The United States military’s two accordionists were featured performers during the April 24 State Dinner honoring French President Emmanuel Macron at The White House in Washington, DC.

At the start of the evening, Sergeant Major Manny Bobenrieth and the U.S. Army Strings greeted guests in the East Portico, while Master Sergeant Frank Busso Jr. and the Air Force Strings entertained arriving guests at the Entrance to the East Wing.

After enjoying French-inspired cuisine in the State Dining Room, guests moved to the East Room for a concert. The show began with performances by acclaimed Washington National Opera vocalists and the U.S. Army Chorus. The finale of the concert was a special arrangement of Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose” by Sergeant Major Bobenrieth.

This piece opened up with a warm introduction for solo accordion played by Sergeant Major Bobenrieth, added U.S. Army Chorus vocalists and instrumentalists from both the Army & Air Force Strings, and concluded with a passage for solo voice and solo accordion played by Master Sergeant Busso.

Immediately following the concert, Sergeant Major Bobenrieth and Master Sergeant Busso led their respective ensembles once again as they bid final farewells to guests at the East Wing.

Manny Bobenrieth, a native of Concepcion, Chile, joined the U.S. Army Strings in 1986 and became its group leader in 2004. Outside of the military, he performs as a freelance musician in the greater Washington, DC area and offers private instruction in his Potomac, MD studio. Manny also serves on the board of directors of the American Accordionists' Association (AAA).

Frank Busso Jr., from Staten Island, NY, became The U.S. Air Force Band’s accordionist in 2005 and is also Section Chief of Live Production for the organization. While off duty, he runs the Busso Music School in Alexandria, VA and serves as director of the Ernest Deffner Affiliates. Frank has served on the AAA board of directors since 2007.

Voci Armoniche

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

Accordion Jazz Chords

Ludovic Beier at Carnegie Hall with Django Festival Allstars

by Rita Barnea
Ludovic BeierThe Django Festival Allstars celebrate the guitar legend with performances of his most popular works as well as original music by the band, inspired by Ellington, Armstrong, and partner Stephane Grappelli. The evening also celebrates a symbolic ‘passing of the family torch’ from Dorado to sons Samson and Amati, known as the gypsy family Dorado Schmitt & Sons. The musicians will be joined by special guest, internationally-known vocalist Melody Gardot. Ludovic Beier is the accordionist with the group. The concert takes place on May 1, 2018 at 8:PM

Performers include:
Dorado Schmitt, Lead Guitar and Violin
Samson Schmitt, Lead and Rhythm Guitar
Amati Schmitt, Lead and Rhythm Guitar
Ludovic Beier, Accordion and Accordina
Pierre Blanchard, Violin
DouDou Cuillerier, Scat Vocal and Rhythm Guitar
Antonio Licusati, Bass
Francko Mehrstein, Rhythm Guitar
Gino Roman, Bass
Special Guests:
Melody Gardot, Vocalist
Ken Peplowski, Clarinet
Veronica Swift, Vocalist

Excerpts from Ludovic Beier website: Born in 1978, Ludovic Beier learned the accordion from his father and benefited from being part of a musical family. He was brought up in the French tradition of the instrument and developed his jazz accordion skills. He has a spirited, adventurous style which strays into all kinds of byways.He performs on the French and European scene with some of the top players of the Django/Swing Jazz style including Angelo Debarre, Dorado Schmitt, Florin Niculescu.

Along with his virtuoso playing, Ludovic composes and arranges, and has his own band, Ludovic Beier Quartet, to perform his "cool and latin" French jazz. He has an impressive technique and also a great dose of lyricism with a band that keeps him at full stretch.

Besides performing in Europe at top festivals and clubs, he appeared in the States with the Django Reinhardt Project, performing at Birdland (NYC) with guests such as Paquito D'Rivera, at Lincoln Center with Joe Lovano, at Yoshis (CA) with David Sanchez, and last summer at the Montreal International Jazz Festival with Angelo Debarre and James Carter where he brought the house down. He also had the honor to perform at Carnegie Hall with Toots Thielemans among a prestigious line up including Herbie Hancock, Ivan Lins and Eliane Elias.

For May 1 tickets contact the Carnegie Hall Box Office: 212-247-7800
For booking the Django Festival Allstars and for additional info, contact:


Come join the fun and “Celebrate with the Stars”.

by Rita Barnea
Paul PasqualiCome join the fun and “Celebrate with the Stars”. For nineteen years Paul Pasquali (picture left) has proudly presented the largest line of Accordion Stars annually in Las Vegas! This year is no exception.

The annual Las Vegas International Accordion Convention will be held October 15-18, 2018 at the Gold Coast Hotel located at 4000 West Flamingo Blvd., in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year ALL SEVEN meals will be served in the Ballroom including a special Wednesday night Oktoberfest theme including German cuisine!

Special 2018 Accordion Stars! Grayson Masefield (Zurich, Switzerland), and Cory Pesaturo (Cumberland, Rhode Island) both artists are returning by an overwhelming demand. Grayson is a recent graduate, with a Masters Degree, from University of Music – Lausanne, Switzerland and five-time world champion. Cory is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and first American to win the World cup in three decades.

Featured 2018 Accordion Stars! Husband and wife duo Kim & Dan Christian (Colorado Springs, Colorado) Kim & Dan are amazing, their exact precision and unique ability to play together is unparalleled! Mary Tokarski (Northford, CT), our 2015 Honorary Conductor and perennial favorite will be performing individually and as Concertmaster for the Las Vegas International Accordion Orchestra. Stas Venglevski (Milwaukee, Wisconsin – originally from the Republic of Moldova) or 2014 Honorary Conductor is returning by popular demand and together with Joan C. Sommers (Kansas City, Kansas) our 2004 Honorary Conductor, 2010 Lifetime & 2017 Golden Baton recipient together will certainly bring the house down their amazing musical genius and humor.

More 2018 Stars set to perform! Gordon, Kohl (San Diego, CA) our 2017 Honorary Conductor, co host Gina Brannelli (Blackpool, UK) 2003 Honorary Conductor and 2014 Lifetime, Pete Barbutti (Las Vegas, Nevada) 2003 Lifetime & 2009 Honorary Conductor – famous comedian and accordionist. Paul Pasquali host and founder has a few special surprises and promises this will be the BEST event YET!

Registration fee for the event includes 7 wonderful Las Vegas banquet meals with concerts plus over 40 workshops and master classes taught by top experts. Check out special AWW discount pricing valid until June 15 plus get an additional $50 discount when you book your hotel on our block with the Gold Coast. See our website for complete pricing details.

Paul Pasquali encourages young accordionists and offers a FREE scholarship program to youth 18 and younger who play the accordion. Please see the Diero Youth Scholarship for more details at YouthScholarship

Special group room rates are only $39/$47 (Deluxe/Premium) per room Sunday thru Thursday nights (weekend nights $89/$104 a night) and special lowered resort fee of only $9.99 with group block (resort fee off block $20.99) a night per room – but you must use group code A8ACC10 to get these lowest guaranteed rates PLUS $50 registration discount by booking on our block! Rates are valid until the block fills or until September 15, 2018 (when the block goes away and so do the savings). The Gold Coast has cautioned that the hotel will fill rapidly this year. Recommended stays -- check in before 3PM Monday, October 15 and check out Friday morning, October 19, 2019.

If you are interested in attending you may register online at or contact the Paul Pasquali, event organizer, by phone at 1-800-472-1695 or (801) 485-5840, email, or mail - LVAC, 1760 South 450 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84115.

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

Growing up in the accordion schools: The 1950s through the 1970s

by Joan Grauman, AAA Historian
AAA Logo
Joan GraumanRita Barnea, Editor USA News: This is the 5th article in the series by AAA Historian Joan Grauman (picture right) in cooperation with the USA News, to help promote the 80th AAA Anniversary Celebration. An article is planned each month containing a segment of the history of the AAA, from its creation on March 9th, 1938 through to 2018. Thank you very much to Joan Grauman for these articles.

Growing up in the accordion schools: The 1950s through the 1970s

Thank you Joan C. Sommers, Liz Finch, Joe Cerrito, Mark Yacovone, Linda Soley Reed, Rita Barnea, Karen Malan-Uribe and Marilyn O’Neil for their contributions to this article!

Read the full article by Joan Grauman at: Growing up in the accordion schools: The 1950s through the 1970s

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Peter Soave Music Academy in Sauris, Dolomite - Italy

by Harley Jones
Peter Soave Music Academy header
Peter & Mady Soave, Viatcheslave SemionovMary Tokarski & Damir BuzletaVideo: Diatonic tutor Manuel Savron performs Bésame Mucho

The prestigious Peter Soave Music Academy (PSMA) will take place from July 22nd to August 5th, 2018 in Sauris, a picturesque tiny alpine village nestled in the Dolomite mountains of Italy, bordering Austria.

From the first seminars in 1999 organised by internationally renowned accordionist Peter Soave, the PSMA is a high-level music academy dedicated entirely to the accordion and its bellowed relatives.

In the 2018, Manuel Šavron will be the teacher of the diatonic accordion course which is being presented for the first time. Other tutors include: Peter Soave (USA), Mady Soave (FRA), Viatcheslav Semionov (RU), Eddie Monteiro (USA), Mary Tokarski (USA) and many others!

PSMA generously offers a rich musical experience that plunges each participant into the depths of musical artistry. This summer session includes workshops, intensive coaching, master classes, chamber music, and rehearsals culminating in concerts where participants and professionals will be playing side by side.

The PSMA strongly recommend a full two-week immersion, although an "à la carte" program can also be arranged upon request.

Full details regarding the event can be found on the website
or you can email

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

25th Anniversary of the Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration

by Kathleen Falco
Header Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration
2018 Leavenworth PosterThe 25th Anniversary of the Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration (LIAC) is fast approaching. This looks like it is going to be one of the best events ever.

Note the outstanding performers, Michael Bridge, Alicia Baker (newly added to the performers list), Bruce Gassman, Cory Pesaturo, and Murl Allen Sanders just to name a few.

The variety of music will showcase the versatility of the accordion. Also, there will be performances by the former Leavenworth Open winners from past years as well as workshops that will hone your skill and musicianship.

This year, the Gazebo Ensemble will perform on the Festhalle stage. This is a first!

There is also competition in different categories, workshops, concerts in the evenings, jams in different Restaurants. There also is an Accordion Parade on Saturday during the Celebration.

Rules and entry information at: 2018LIAC-Rules.pdf
Entry closing date: 08 June 2018

Leavenworth, WA is a Bavarian town located in the Cascade Mountains, you will almost feel like your are in Bavaria with the gorgeous painting on most of the buildings in the downtown area. This is a Celebration not to be missed and with all the music that will be there.

Again check out the website at Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration (LIAC)

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

Michael Bridge’s New Album, “Overture” Now Available

by Rita Barnea
Video 1: Michael Bridge - Bach: Gigue (French Suite No. 5 in G major BWV 816)

Accordionist Michael Bridge shares his thoughts on his latest album: “Do Bach and Leonard Cohen belong on the same album as contemporary tangos and Armenian folk songs? Overture is born from my passion for performing amazing music that shatters accordion stereotypes. Drawn from years of concerts, this unique cocktail reflects my passion for the multifaceted history and future of the accordion.

Makkonen’s “Tango-Toccata” takes me back to playing at the 2011 world championships in Shanghai, with its fiery opening and passionate exposé of the power of the free-bass accordion (where both hands have full range). Bach’s “French Suite no. 5” shows the accordion’s pure voice – balanced, refined and with pristine clarity of lines. The accordion grew popular partly because it could accompany itself, and in “Moon River”, I take this to the extreme, creating a complex harmonic fabric with the left hand, allowing the right hand total freedom to sing. A pair of Armenian selections follows; “Tzaghgatz Baleni” is mournful and beautiful, spinning layers of sounds into webs. Khatchaturian’s “Tokkata” was originally for piano, but I think it’s spectacular on accordion.

Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” can be played many different ways; here I elected for a more somber, sentimental interpretation. Except for “Tokkata” (Friedrich Lips), all these transcriptions are my own. Since I have enjoyed writing music for many years, I also wanted to include my composition, “Intoxicating”, inspired by my infatuation with the music of Piazzolla and infused with a dangerous playfulness.

For both “Misty” and the “1812 Overture”, I play digital accordion, which gives me the ability to play all the sounds you hear live in a single take. Its incomparable power as a synthesizer is both daunting and liberating, putting me into the role of an orchestral conductor who gets to decide ‘when’ and ‘how’ every part should be played – with the power of an orchestra at my fingertips. This album is just my ‘Overture’, so until next time, happy listening…

Excerpts from his website: Concert-accordionist Michael Bridge is a captivating young musician, redefining the sound and image of his traditional instrument. Named one of CBC’s “30 Hot Classical Musicians Under 30”, he is internationally renowned for his dynamic stage- presence and unique musical versatility. His repertoire – classical masterworks, baroque, jazz, world music, folk dances, contemporary classical, and digital accordion compositions – smashes all stereotypes concerning the limitations of his instrument. He made his solo orchestral debut with the Boston Pops at 17, and has performed on four continents, now playing over 100 concerts per year.

Michael was given his first accordion at age five, purchased at a garage sale for $5. Now studying accordion performance at the University of Toronto with Joseph Macerollo, he has won numerous prizes including the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta’s Emerging Artist Award, the U of T Concerto Competition, and the Calgary Stampede Talent Search. In 2013, he placed 2nd at the World Digital Accordion Championships. He has adjudicated accordion competitions and taught masterclasses across the USA and Canada.

Michael is a founding member of Double-Double Duo, having toured Ecuador, Poland, France and across Canada with his collaborator Dr. Kornel Wolak (clarinet). Their debut album launched in 2015, entitled ‘Rock Bach’. He performs in Ladom Ensemble, an acoustic Iranian-Serbian-classical-tango quartet.

An ardent supporter of new music, Michael has over thirty world premieres to his credit, including works by Anna Pigdorna, Airat Ichmouratov and Pouya Hamidi. As a composer, he wrote and recorded two folk albums and is the primary arranger for several of his chamber ensembles. He has gratefully received support for his academic work and touring from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, The Sylva Gelber Music Foundation, the Government of Alberta and the University of Toronto. 

For further information:

Titano Accordion Company

Paul Betken Releases New CD “Beyond My Comfort Zone”

by Rita Barnea
Beyond My Comfort Zone CD Cover
Paul BetkenAccordionist Paul Betken has released his latest album “Beyond My Comfort Zone” a welcome addition to the musical world. Paul mentored under the legendary blind jazz accordionist, Leon Sash, at age 15 for seven years. Their friendship blossomed into a life long relationship ending with Leon's death in 1979. During that time, Leon blessed him with gifts of his wisdom, music and philosophy.

Paul became a member of "Leon's guys" which was a small group of professional accordionists in Chicago promoted by Leon to the musical artists community. Paul performed for many years (as a soloist, with small groups and larger ensembles) throughout Metro Chicago. His experience is anchored in most all musical genre’s. He has performed in shows, private parties, theatres, corporate functions, country clubs, hotels and lounges etc. Paul was a former resident accordionist in Chicago for Bobbi Vinton and his concert shows.

Residing in Tempe, AZ for the last 12 years, Paul enjoys casual engagements and jam sessions all around Phoenix. He is a member of the Board Directors, Arizona Accordion Club. In 2017, he published a book on jazz accordion arrangements of select tunes from the Great American Songbook. In the past few years, he has performed concerts and given workshops at the Cotati, CA Festival, the ATG Convention, Chicago, the Las Vegas International Accordion Convention, the National Accordion Association Convention, Dallas and in Rome, Italy.

His earlier CD, “Paul’s Turn – Jazz Accordion,” June, 2014 showcases the accordion in a Pop/Jazz mode featuring songs which one would not expect to be performed on the instrument. It was featured on the podcast Sunday-Riff, 21 June, 2015," hosted by Dermott Husey of Sirius XM, Accordions and Accordions worldwide hallmark internet venue for the accordion. The album has received both national and international recognition including praise from Howard Reich, music critic of the Chicago Tribune, August 12, 2014 and Paolo Picchio, President of Consorzio Music Marche, Castelfidardo, Italy, September 5, 2015.

This album looks to present many types of accordion jazz arrangements with jazz improvisations that are simply not often performed by many accordionists, if at all. It is pleasing and fun to hear. The arrangements include jazz take-offs, complex harmonic patterns and chord progressions which tend to hold the line with existing popular and standard melodies.

These techniques most of which were uniquely used by the great accordion jazz masters are meant to attract the ear of the audience while holding on to the authenticity of the musical selection. Indeed, "SUNSHINE SUPERMAN" is a funky bluesy accordion arrangement exemplifying these ideas as is Bob Marley's reggae song, "WAITING IN VAIN." The accordion as a keyboard instrument blends well in beautiful tone colors; the timbre of the accordion takes advantage of the various authentic rhythms and accompaniments offered by the superb quartet instrumentation.

The album includes the ever popular "Feel So Good" by Chuck Mangione and "Just Go Out and Get It", Paul’s own original composition. There is a playful blend of rubato solo accordion and changing tempos in the fine marriage between John Lennon's "Imagine" and Judi Mitchell's "Both Sides Now." The standards offer everything from a cautious ballad which segues in to a "businessman's bounce" with "Embraceable You" arranged by my mentor, Leon Sash, and followed by a "jazz waltz" mode with "Bluesette" (with an intro and ending from the Merry Widow) and to the swing-style of Benny Goodman in an arrangement of "Lady Be Good."

Other selections of time-tested standards arranged for jazz accordion performance, including, "There'll Never Be Another You", "Autumn Leaves", a dn "Al The Things You Are" AUTUMN LEAVES" resonate in the ears and minds as mainstays of society's musical heritage. Lastly, "Wave" as a bossa nova with the influence of Dexter Gordon and Lullaby of the Leaves" with the influence of Leon Sash,embrace what the accordion can accomplish in by following the jazz greats.

Paul Betken's Stated Objectives for Doing this Project“: This album represents an eclectic compilation of jazz accordion arrangements involving a unique blend of accordion artistry and style. Since most of the great jazz accordionists have passed this way--Leon Sash, Art Van Damm, Frank Marocco, Matt Mathews, Johnny Miejer and others, there is a great need to fill a vacuum in the jazz accordion genre. My earlier recording, the project, "Paul's Turn," Jazz Accordion, (a CD currently available at CD in addition to the inclusion of standard songs of the great American Songbook, stood for the goal of bringing more contemporary and popular music into the scope of accordion performance. It is believed that there is need to refresh the older accordion repertoire which prevails today. This album focuses on that need.

The intention of this album is meant to bring back the spirit of those popular deceased jazz accordionists. This compilation expresses in its style a methodology accordionists can use to expand the popularity and acceptance of the instrument. The proposition for proclaiming the accordion as a legitimate musical instrument is supported through the use of some bold new contemporary musical choices.”

Paul added, “ I had the pleasure of being very active as a participant at the recent National Accordion Association.During the convention, I performed on the main stage along with Cory Pesaturo, Grayson Masefield and Joe Natoli. This was a program led by Jessica Fallot as a dedication program in honor of great accordion artists. I had the honor and pleasure to perform selections dedicated to the memory of Frank Marocco. My performance included a favorite standard from the great American songbook along with a contemporary adaptation of a John Lennon selection. I also was the designated performer for a program called “Ballarini’s Ballroom.” Nick and I played the main program in duet fashion thereafter anyone was welcome for open play. I had the opportunity to give a workshop with power point on the subject of “Studying under the Legendary Master of Jazz Accordion” (Leon Sash).
Rich De Labio performed the percussion activities in and out of the recording studio on my CD. Rich has been the Drum/Percussionist-in Residence at the Las Vegas Internal Accordion Convention for the past 17 years. His credits over the years include all of the concert appearances of Art Van Damm, Frank Marocco and Kenny Kotwitz. The accordion world treasures and really knows the work and performances of Rich De Labio . He has specialized in enhancing and bringing accordion performance to another level or maybe "Beyond My Comfort Zone."

Photo Left to Right: Ted Sistrunk, Rich De Labio, Paul Betken and Stan Sorenson.

For further information:

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

78th ATG Festival July 25-28 in Lisle, IL (Chicago)

by Rita Barnea
2018 ATG Poster
Welcome to the 78th Annual Competition and Festival to be held at the Hyatt Regency in Lisle, IL (Chicago) from July 25-28, 2018. This year you will have the opportunity to hear some of the world’s finest accordion artists in concert, attend a variety of interesting and informative workshops, perform in the popular ATG Festival Orchestra, celebrate at the Gala Banquet and Luncheons, shop at the ATG Marketplace, enjoy a variety of Concerts and meet your fellow accordionists from around the world!
All events are open to the General Public. You will find a diverse array of musical genres performed by a variety of accordionists. There is truly something for everyone. Discover the magic and diversity of the accordion as presented by this year’s ATG Guest Artists. You are invited to purchase an all-inclusive package of tickets (with details available on the Registration Form at or you are also welcome to buy individual General Admission Tickets at the door for each event. Free parking is available at the Hotel.

The festival includes great concerts, workshops and food and also provides two opportunities for accordionists to perform with a group and have a lot of fun:
1) There is the Festival Orchestra  which gives you the opportunity to perform some incredible orchestra music under the baton of the world famous accordion orchestra conductor, Joan Sommers.  
2) There is also a fun Mixed Ensemble that will include high school students from local high school bands mixed with accordion players and is open to all players and all ability levels under the leadership of Murl Allen Sanders. Last year was the first year, enjoyed by both participants and audience!

2018 guest artists include:
Matthias Matzke, Germany
Leoni Kratz (Soprano), Germany
Cory Pesaturo, USA
Mike Alongi, USA
Donna Dee and Dennis Ray, USA

2018 workshop Presenters and Topics:
1. Joan Cochran Sommers: FIRST LESSONS FOR BEGINNERS....
This workshop is planned for a 50-minute presentation and is intended for use by accordionists, pianists or other musicians who may never have taught accordion but might like to teach some. 
For attendees who do not have an instrument, we may have some 12-bass accordions available for demonstrations.

There will be handouts for workshop attendees.  This workshop has been presented in the past to teachers actively teaching accordion students at all levels and they often expressed appreciation for the presentation, saying it gave them several new ideas to use in their own teaching methods.
This workshop can be presented with or without participants, but works nicely using volunteer students for demonstration purposes, limiting participants to to students with a 12-bass accordion.

ATG can provide some but if you have one and would like to bring it with you to the workshop that would be helpful. A 12-bass instrument when teaching beginner students is very helpful and eye-opening when applying these teaching techniques.
There are so many accordionists in the world who have perhaps just returned to playing and might assume they can teach the instrument or are pressured by others to do so. Therefore, this workshop hopes to help all attendees and teachers at any level become better teachers and may even encourage them, especially the non-accordionists, to take some lessons, too.

2. Cory Pesaturo
: AUTHENTICITY OF STYLES....Just because you know a Frank Marocco arrangement, does not mean you know a lick about Jazz.  Just because you play Nunzio's version of Under Paris Skies, does not mean you know anything about French music.  Playing a style takes years to understand, let alone master.  Cory will take you through over 10 genres, and dive into the details of each, using just one simple song as an example all the way through. 

The song will transform in groove, ornaments, tempo, key, touch, feel, and many other aspects as it is put through the paces of each genre.  By the end, you will have an idea of how to identify certain details in a style, apply them to your playing, and hence, make yourself sound more authentic.  

Title: IMPROVISATION/ENHANCING YOUR MUSICIANSHIP...Improvisation is the door that leads you to a Massive room in your musician house that you never knew you had.  Cory will give you some keys to unlock your potential, even just simple ideas of how to change a melody, so that every time you play a song, it's slightly different.  He'll also get into how to hear different chords inside your head that can add to an arrangement you are playing, and also improve your ability to "borrow" ideas others have played / learning a song on the radio you heard only once.  

3. Mattias Matzke
Matthias demonstrates his approach to increasing the accordion’s attraction by focusing on the following topics:
Sound and arrangement for solo and band performances 
Accompaniment of a vocalist 
Accessing current literature

4. Mike Alongi
: REHARMONIZATION AND A SURVEY OF USEFUL FACTS CONCERNING THE LH STRADELLA SYSTEM...The two-fold subject matter in this workshop consists of (1) Simple ways to view reharmonization. (2) A discussion on how the LH Stradella System gives us a clearer understanding of root movement with respect to the progression of chords.

5. Helmi Harrington
: WHAT MOST ACCORDIONISTS DON'T KNOW ABOUT THEIR INSTRUMENTS AND CONVENTIONAL NOTATION SYSTEMS....Our system of two-clef notation evolved over centuries and continues to develop as contemporary music introduces new symbols for sound and action. Beginning with diatonic accordion notation in tablature forms, we will next consider implications and problems in standard accordion music. Among these are shifts vs. keyboard placements, bass/chord notations vs. reed contents, and dynamic balance between instrument sections.
If you think you understand what conventional notation presumes of your sound product, awareness of its imprecision will cause reconsideration of your accordion’s components while exposing covert implications of notation. This information will promote improvements in your musical delivery and encourage advanced technical skills.

6. Murl Sanders: ACCOMPANYING EFFECTIVELY AND BEAUTIFULLY....Suggestions to make yourself a better accompanist and team player with your accordion. Learning to integrate or "fit in" with an ensemble of any size. This is a hands-on workshop. Bring your accordion. Be prepared to play because you will be asked to play with other folks during the workshop. If you play another instrument other than accordion, please consider bringing it so we can have realistic examples. If you are a singer, please consider singing and bring music for a simple song of your choice. Some simple sheet music will be provided as well.

7. Nick Ballarini
This is a hands-on workshop, accordion Required For Admission and music will be provided. • To Swing or Not To Swing
* Blues Riffs To Develop Your Swing
* 12 Bar Blues, 8 Bar Blues
* Major and Minor Blues
* Lazy (Wo)Man's Blues/Rock Bass
* Stradella Bass System Chord Structure
* Plucking Bass, Walking Bass, Strumming Bass

8. Gordon Kohl
....Placing an importance to the accordion tones being included and mixed in with other digital musical instrument voices. His workshops includes the accordion (voicing, registers, tuning, and chords); combining accordion reed voices with Digital Piano, Strings, etc.) He also mixes sounds from Broadway, French, Italian, County, and European music. 

Read future USA news publications for additional information on guest artists and workshop presenters. For further information: ATG

Gary Daverne CD's and eSheet music available online

Dr.William Schimmel: Accordionist for “Carousel” Nominated for 11 Tony Awards

by Rita Barnea
Bill Schimmel
CarouselAAA Board member Dr. Schimmel is the featured Accordionist in the Hit Broadway revival of “Carousel”. Dr. William Schimmel performs Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel in a new orchestration by Jonathan Tunick which heavily features the accordion. Ironically, the accordion was not part of the original orchestration in the first 1945 production and subsequent productions. Here, the accordion adds a new dimension to the dark story with redemption at the end.

“Carousel” has been nominated for 11 Tony Awards!

It features a multi racial cast with Joshua Henry (Hamilton) as Billy Bigelow, Jessie Mueller (Beautiful) and Rene Flemming (international opera diva). The Chicago Tribune says: “God is in Carousel”. It has been nominated for 12 Drama Desk Awards, 6 Outer Critic Awards and 3 Drama League Awards. A Cast recording will appear soon.

Dr. Schimmel also can be heard on the new CD “Jarvis and Friends” which features Dr. Schimmel and percussionist Peter Jarvis performing their collaborative composition, “Devotional Suite” and Schimmel’s New York Classical. A second CD features Schimmel in “The Concerto for Accordion and Percussion” by Peter Jarvis performed by The New Jersey Percussion Ensemble. Both CD’s are on The Composers’ Concordance label distributed by Naxos.

Up coming work includes a new album by Schimmel titled, “What’s Tango about the Classics”,A new video by his wife, dancer/choreographer/video artist, Micki Goodman with music by Schimmel entitled “The Owl I thought I knew”.

Dr. Wlliam 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 virtually every major symphony orchestra 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 Stokowski.

Dr. Schimmel's theatre works in collaboration with Micki Goodman have made accordion history.He 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). . 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’s yearly Accordion Seminars will take place on July 27, 28 and 29 at The Tenri in New York going into it’s 24th year. The theme is: “Thinking inside the Box”. The event is sponsored by The American Accordionists’ Association.

For further information: AAA

4 Music Books by Stas Venglevski

Cody McSherry to Perform with the Accordion Pops Orchestra

by Rita Barnea
APO Poster
The Accordion Pops Orchestra will be celebrating World Accordion Day on May 6, 2018 with a concert in East Brunswick, New Jersey. The concert has particular importance for orchestra member Cody McSherry. As part of the event, Cody will have the distinct honor of performing the world premiere of a new composition by composer Guy Klucevsek.

The piece, entitled “Carousel of Dreams” has special meaning for fourteen year-old Cody. Last year, at the American Accordionists’ Association’s festival, Cody won the Carmen Carrozza Scholarship Competition, Junior Division. One the pieces he performed for the competition was “Evan-essence,” composed by Guy Klucevsek. When Cody chose it for the Carmen Carrozza competition, he secretly hoped that the composer would be there to hear the performance. Unfortunately that coincidence did not occur but a chance meeting was not far off. The next evening Cody was attending another concert at the festival, and by coincidence, seated nearby were Mr. and Mrs. Klucevsek. Mutual friends introduced them. Cody found that not only was Guy a brilliant composer, but also a very warm human being. Guy welcomed Cody’s offer to play “Evan-essence,” for him. A friendship was born.

Guy Klucevsek needs no introduction to readers of the Accordion News. His talents have taken him around the world, from Germany to Tasmania and across the United States. His band, “Accordion Tribe,” travelled around the world composing and performing from 1996 to 2008. He was the 2010 recipient of the 2010 United States Artists Collins Fellowship, a fifty thousand dollar award given annually to "America's finest artists." His list of achievements continues on from there.

Cody, not usually a fan of contemporary music, finds Klucevsek’s works to be timeless, and full of surprising dynamic twists and turns, much like the perfect novel. As he studies Klucevsek’s works, they unfold along new and unexpected ways with challenging rhythms and deep melodies. After learning “Evan-essence,” he decided to learn the other two pieces of the “Three Tributes” of which “Evan-essence” is the first. Each of the new pieces soon became one of his favorites.

One morning, not long after meeting Klucevsek, Cody checked his email and found a message from Guy, along with a new, original musical composition. The full title of the piece was “Carousel of Dreams for Cody McSherry.” The piece was challenging and beautiful. Cody was unbelievably thrilled.

Through the kind cooperation of Al Terzo, conductor of the Accordion Pops Orchestra, Cody will debut “Carousel of Dreams” at the Orchestra’s May 6 concert. He will briefly introduce the piece prior to the premiere. Guy Klucevsek plans to be in attendance.

The concert will be held at the East Brunswick Community Arts Center, 721 Cranbury Road, East Brunswick, NJ, 08816 at 3:00 PM. The cost for the concert is a $10.00 donation.

For further information:

Amy Jo Sawyer CD titled According to Amy

Joey Miskulin to headline World Accordion Day at AWAM in Superior, WI - USA

by Kevin Friedrich VP - A World of Accordions Museum
World Accordion Day, Willard Palmer FestivalA World of Accordions Museum in Superior, WI is excited to announce that renowned accordionist Joseph (Joey) M. Miskulin (picture right) from Nashville, TN, will headline the weekend's events for the annual Dr. Willard A. Palmer Festival and World Accordion Day hosted at A World of Accordions Museum in Superior, WI on May 5 and 6, 2018.

To acknowledge the importance of the weekend's events, Superior's Mayor Jim Paine is proclaiming May 5, as Dr. Willard A. Palmer Day, and also proclaiming May 6, as World Accordion Day.

Joey is the first accordionist to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. His April 14, induction into the '"Nashville Cats” is the highest accolade given to a very select few recording session musicians. The award ceremony highlights the hundreds of albums he recorded with some of music's greatest names that to date result in over 100 million sold.

Joey is extolled nationally as accordionist, arranger, spontaneous improviser, studio musician, pedagogue and unequalled entertainer. In a music career spanning more than four decades, Joey has collaborated with a range of artists including Paul McCartney, John Denver, Ricky Skaggs, Andy Williams, Ricky Van Shelton, Emmylou Harris, Frankie Yankovic, Garth Brooks and many others.

Museum Curator Helmi Harrington, Ph. D. recounts in a personal note "I’ve known Joey for over 25 years and consider him one of the most accomplished and kindest gentlemen in the accordion world."

In addition to Joey, the Palmer and World Accordion Day event will showcase the talents of and include the support of Carolyn Carver, Kevin Friedrich, Tracey Gibbens, Dee Langley, Dr. Michael Middleton, Willard A. Palmer III, John Scaffeo and Stas Venglevski.

A World of Accordions Museum Curator Helmi Harrington is offering complimentary e-Newsletter mailings to those who would like to be kept up to date on this and other events held at the Museum. Send your e-mail to Helmi Harrington at:

A World of Accordions Museum will live stream select parts of their World Accordion Day Festival on May 6, 2018 including the popular seminar on the History of the Accordion as narrated and presented by Helmi Harrington, Ph. D. You can access this coverage via the CIA World Accordion Day page.

On May 6, you can access/livestream the event at the World of Accordions Museum at this link:

For all other information, please visit

Titano Accordion Company

Elena and Gregory Fainshtein Present TED Talks About the Accordion

by Rita Barnea
Video 1: In this Talk, Elena explains how she lost her voice as a child and regained it through the gift of music. Elena and her husband Gregory, who are a part of the accordion movement, share their musical expertise in an awe-inspiring performance! Elena Fainshtein is a professional musician. Her instrument of choice from childhood has been the button accordion.

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

Elena Fainshtein has been teaching accordion over 30 years, the last 15 years working in her studio in Plano, Texas, working with students with various backgrounds and abilities, children and adults, in person and on Skype.
Recently, one of Elena accordion students, Peter Gresser, won the State of Texas “Big Squeeze” contest in the Polka category in Austin (see article in this publication). Elena’s student, Elijah Clements, was awarded Honorably Mention. This is the 12th year for the Big Squeeze program that supports up-and-coming Texas youth accordionists. The contest is one of the ways in which Texas Folklife carries out its mission to preserve and present Texas’s diverse cultural heritage. The contest recruits players in all genres of the Lone Star State’s accordion-based music, including German, Czech, and Polish polka; Creole, Cajun, and zydeco; conjunto, norteño, and Tejano.

Elena has scheduled the musical recital of her students from her studio “Musical Expressions” to be followed by a performance of her ‘Accordion student Orchestra’ and their Duo “Together” on June 9, 2018. in Plano, Texas, open to the public at the International Education Center, 903 W. Parker, TX 75023.   

Elena started to play the button accordion at the age of five years old. She first took private lessons and then attended the School for Gifted kids in Minsk, Belarus. She enjoyed playing accordion from a very young age. Born into a family of teachers, she had the opportunity to play at school for many occasions. At the age of 17 at music college she began playing as an accordion duo with her classmate, Gregory Fainshtein, who become her husband and music partner six years later.

They moved to different countries, speak four different languages, but what has remain constant – is their love, passion and dedication for music. Since their school days, Elena and Gregory performed in a variety of concerts all over the world, including Belarus, Russia, German, Ukraine, Lithuania, , Israel and the United States.

They are active members of the National Accordion Association for over a decade, performing nationally at various conventions and are actively engaged in introduction the accordion to young  generation. Recently Elena gave a Talk and they both performed on TEDx Talk Show.

At the 2018 NAA Convention, Elena Fainshtein presented a workshop on Teaching Accordion Students, with her students and audience participation included they played several duets together for the first time: PH arrangements of Clarinet Polka, Lets Play Polka, and a Fainshtein arrangement of Yankee Doodle. There were about 25 participating accordionists and students, enjoying the music together. Elena shared her experiences working with students and pre-paring to play. Later Elena and Gregory Fainshtein played a beautiful waltz , the 2nd Waltz by Dimitri Shostakovich and demon-strated the style of working together as a duet performer.

They are actively engaged in introducing the accordion to younger generations who have never been introduced to this unique instrument in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex taking every possible opportunity to perform at various venues and have expanded our musical services to private parties, festivals, events, and weddings.
Elena shares her passion for the accordion, “I have been teaching piano and accordion for over 25 years in three different languages, working with children and adults in Belarus, part of the former Soviet Union, in 1991 we moved to Israel, and from 2003 we live in Plano, Texas, and I work in my private home studio, called Musical Expressions.

I like to share my musical passion to my adult and children students! Recently, I took the role of conductor of the Happy Fingers Accordion Band, which was assembled with the purpose of getting more accordion enthusiasts engaged in performance in an effort to showcase their talents to a greater audience.

In the TED talks video, Gregory and Elena perform three special compositions: Roger Dufas “Princess of Accordion”, “Sunrise, Sunset”, and “Belorussian Wedding Polka”. 

For further information:

Jeff Lisenby CD A Spy In Tortuga

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

Time to register for the 2018 AAA 80th Anniversary Festival!

by Joan Grauman, AAA Historian
AAA Festival Flyer
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 weekend!

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 and Argentina, as well as our world-renowned conductor of accordion orchestras, Professor Joan Cochran Sommers.

A new addition to our performer list is the delightful accordionist and singer, Lionel Reekie from New Zealand. Also from New Zealand 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 Cochran 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:

The International Trio, CD Available online, secure server

“Accordions Rising”: In Celebration of World Accordion Day and Accordion Awareness Month

by Rita Barnea
Accordions Rising
Roberta CantowHave you seen Roberta Cantow’s amazing documentary, “Accordions Rising”?Purchasing/watching this film is a great way to celebrate World Accordion Day! “Accordions Rising” offers entertaining interviews, anecdotal commentary and both formal and informal music performances from celebrated accordionists, composers, and bands working in America today.

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

Film maker Roberta’s independent films have been recognized with production and distribution grants from: The American Film Institute, The New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and The Jerome Foundation, among others. Her latest film is about the accordion entitled Accordions Rising!

Accordions Rising Documentary filmmaker Roberta Cantow shares, “ Attention all Accordion Lovers and Those Who Appreciate Accordion Music. I would like to reach out to public libraries this year in honor of June as Accordion Awareness Month. Libraries interested in a special public event can purchase the public performance rights from me for $99.00 and with that, the option to purchase multiple copies of the DVD for $7.00 - less than places like Amazon, where it is also available for purchase.

I am asking for your help, if interested, in reaching out to your local libraries regarding their interest.I will be happy to send you the promo I created for this purpose exclusively, and who would be better at making the suggestion than you out there, among the film's many fans? Time for the rest of the world "to get what can come from a good squeeze."

“Accordions Rising is the most exhaustive and fair representation of the accordion in all its facets—popular, ethnic, jazz, contemporary classical, avant garde– I have encountered thus far in film. Thank you for this lovely exposé. It covered all the bases of the accordion’s strange and wonderful world and truly needed to be done.”
Robert Young McMahan, DMA /composer and contemporary classical accordionist / Prof. of Music Theory, Composition, and Accordion, The College of New Jersey / Officer of the American Accordionists’ Association and Chair of its Composers Commissioning Committee

Roberta thanks everyone for their support. You can email her for the promo she mentioned at:

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

Peter Gresser Wins “Big Squeeze” Polka Category

by Rita Barnea
Peter Gresser
Peter Gresser and his teacher, Elena FainshteinPeter Greaser, accordion student of Elena Fainshtein, recently won the State of Texas “Big Squeeze” contest in the Polka category in Austin,Texas. Peter, who is thirteen years old, frequently plays accordion in his church. Peter will participate in the ATG Festival in Lisle, Ill. in July where he will perform a new composition , “Spanish Nights”, written especially for him by former ATG President Amy Jo Sawyer.

Peter intends to continue his accordion and musical studies. His future goals include becoming an engineer or architect. Peter is a talented, intelligent and determined young man with a great future. We all wish him continuing successes in all of his endeavors.

Photo right: Peter Gresser and his teacher, Elena Fainshtein

For further information:

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

Bachtopus to Perform in NYC on World Accordion Day

by Rita Barnea
Bachtopus poster
The Bachtopus Accordion Ensemble performs at 4:PM on Sunday, May 6, 2018, at St. Peter's Episcopal Church at 346 W 20th St, New York, NY 10011 (between 8th and 9th Ave.) as part of the Music in Chelsea series. The proceeds go to the St. Peter’s food pantry. The program theme is “Bach to Basics,” in which the music of J.S. Bach will be featured. Also included will be a composition by Arvo Pärt, a new arrangement from Jeanne Velonis, and a premier of new work by Peter Flint. $10 suggested donation

Bachtopus is an accordion ensemble from New York City that performs music by contemporary composers and Johann Sebastian Bach. The ensemble was borne out of a fruitful musical duet between Robert Duncan and Mayumi Miyaoka, who partnered during the Winter of 2011. Denise Koncelik and Peter Flint, who were members of the Brooklyn Accordion Club, joined the duet to play Bach’s organ music, which is well suited to the accordion.

The group soon shifted focus to become one of the few accordion ensembles in the United States that focuses on new music. Having established a large repertoire in just a few years, Bachtopus seeks to play more original compositions, commissioned works, and contemporary music that is interesting, accessible, and grounded in traditional folk music.

The ensemble has performed for diverse audiences, and previous performance highlights include: Make Music New York, Bach in the Subways, The New Museum, Accordions Around the World, the United Nations, and the American Accordion Association Seminars.

Bachtopus performs music by and is inspired by the Accordion Tribe, Motion Trio, the Kronos Quartet, the Bang On a Can All-Stars, and Jacques Cousteau. The group features original compositions by Bratko Bibič, Peter Flint, Philip Glass, Lars Hollmer, Guy Klusevsek, Sy Kushner, Arvo Pärt, Elliot Roman, and Stas Venglevski.

Bachtopus is an accordion quartet from New York City that focuses on music by contemporary composers and Johann Sebastian Bach. Having established a large repertoire in just a few years, Bachtopus seeks to play more original compositions, commissioned works, and contemporary music that is interesting, accessible, and grounded in traditional folk music. The ensemble has performed for diverse audiences, and previous performance highlights include: Make Music New York, Bach in the Subways, The New Museum, Accordions Around the World, the United Nations, and the American Accordion Association Seminars.

Bachtopus performs music by and is inspired by the Accordion Tribe, Motion Trio, the Kronos Quartet, the Bang On a Can All-Stars, and Jacques Cousteau. The group features original compositions by Bratko Bibič, Peter Flint, Philip Glass, Lars Hollmer, Guy Klucevsek, Sy Kushner, Ryan O’Donnell, Arvo Pärt, Elliot Roman, William Schimmel, and Stas Venglevski.

Robert Duncan, is an Associate Professor of Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience at the City University of New York, and he received a BA in Music Humanities at the University of California at San Diego. He is a recovering jazz pianist and swing dancer who spent eight years directing a traditional jazz band and Lindy Hop dance ensemble in California. He is the founder and director of Bachtopus.

Members of the ensemble: Peter Flint, comes from a musical family and has degrees in electronic music, history, and composition from Oberlin College and Conservatory and New England Conservatory. He has studied accordion with Walter Kuehr, William Schimmel, and Rob Curto. He has also studied composition with Conrad Cummings, Michael Gandolfi, Scott Wheeler, and Lee Hyla. He is deeply interested in Afro-Cuban music and recently had an orchestral composition performed in Havana, Cuba by the Camerata Romeu. He performs with Reggae-Son, an Afro-Latin fusion group, and is the founder of the Avian Orchestra, a contemporary chamber ensemble. He is on the board of directors at the Third Street Music School Settlement and likes to travel with his family, play soccer, and sail small boats.

Mayumi Miyaoka, is an Academic Librarian/Archivist by day, and accordionist by night. She is the founder/organizer of Brooklyn Accordion Club, and is the compiler/editor of a self-published magazine, SqueeZine! – Chronicles of Accordionists. Mayumi studied with Stanley and Joanna Darrow at ACME Accordion School in NJ, and with Dr. William Schimmel in NYC.

Jeanne Velonis, is a classical recording engineer and producer who has worked on hundreds of albums, including those of contemporary music icons like the Kronos Quartet, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, John Adams, Philip Glass, and Guy Klucevsek. Initially self-taught, she has studied accordion with Leah Barkan and Mary Tokarski, and serves on the board of Directors of the American Accordionists’ Association. She lives with her husband, three children, and several accordions.

For more information:

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

Connecticut Accordion Association Presents “Music From the Stage and Screen”

by Rita Barnea
CAA Banner
Conductor Peter PelosiThe Connecticut Accordion Association proudly presents “Music From The Stage And Screen,” featuring the Connecticut Accordion Association in Concert on Saturday, May 19, 2018 at 2:PM at St. John's Episcopal Church, 16 Church St., Waterbury, CT.

Conducted by Peter Peluso, the full accordion orchestra, joined by area vocalists, will perform a variety of favorites from award winning movies and plays. Soloists will complete the program. AAA President Mary Tokarski will perform Eugene Ettore’s “Manhattan Concerto” accompanied by the the accordion orchestra.

The Connecticut Acccordion Association began in 2004, the brainchild of Marilyn O'Neil and her accordion teacher, Mary Tokarski. The CAA is dedicated to the promotion of the accordion through all music genres and all variations of accordion instruments! They welcome musicians who play all types of accordions....piano accordion, diatonic, chromatic button and more. The CAA invites accordionists at all levels, and people who may not play the accordion, but love to listen.

CAA goals are:
* To promote public interest in the accordion through public awareness.
* To hold gatherings, concerts and other activities throughout the state of CT.
* To act as a resource to provide referrals in accordion instruction, repair, sales and/or trade, sheet music, accessories, etc.
* To network with fellow associations throughout the USA in an effort to provide unity within the accordion world.

Donations at the concert will be graciously accepted.
For more information, call Marilyn at 203-272-1202 or

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

Lionel Reekie Returns to the US, AAA 80th Anniversary Festival - Alexandria

by Harley Jones
Lionel ReekieInternationally acclaimed accordionist and vocalist Lionel Reekie returns to the US for the AAA 80th Anniversary Festival, Holiday Inn, Alexandria, VA 22314.

This exciting and dynamic performer and will be featured on the Thursday evening concert of the AAA Festival and will also be performing daily at the Titano display sponsored by Ernest Deffner, Inc., throughout the AAA Festival , July 11-15.

Lionel Reekie has been popular all over the world and is sure to wow the AAA audiences at the 80th Anniversary Festival too.

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Don Gerundo and Spencer Bruno in LIAA Performance

by Dominic Karcic
Spencer Bruno and Don GerundoOn Tuesday evening April 3, 2018 accordionist and AAA Board Member, Don Gerundo (New Rochelle, NY) paid his third visit as guest artist to a Long Island Accordion Alliance (LIAA) monthly event at La Villini Restaurant in East Northport, NY. On this occasion he teamed up with his good friend and woodwind specialist Spencer Bruno (Yonkers, NY). Mr. Bruno, who is executive director of the noted Lester Lanin Orchestra, performed on flute, clarinet and soprano saxophone.

The duo collaborated in playing a nice variety of noted melodies that included "Chattanooga Choo Choo", "Emily", "Polka Dots and Moonbeams", "Under Paris Skies", "Chiquilin De Bachin", "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" and "Indifference".

Noteworthy of their performance is that they maintained a beautiful balance between the accordion and the reed instruments used by Mr. Bruno, utilized a volume level that was never overpowering, used tasty, creative improvisations and very sensitive, dramatic dynamics changes. This judicious use of expression is especially note worthy. They really "set a mood" with each rendition performed. 

In all selections Mr. Gerundo showed his mastery and knowledge of modern harmony by interjecting so many beautiful chord changes and passing harmonies. Their whole session was so professionally presented and orchestrated. Mention should be made that they had the full and total attention of the entire audience throughout who, responded with many compliments at the close of the evening. It was a great evening for the accordion and good live music on Long Island.

Congratulations to Don Gerundo and Spencer Bruno on a job so well done. Bravo! Bravo!

The next Long Island Accordion Alliance (LIAA) event sponsored by La Villini Restaurant in East Northport, NY will be on Wednesday, May 2, 2018 and will feature accordionist Dominic Karcic and vocalist Cheryl Spielman.

Photo: (left to right) Spencer Bruno (soprano saxophone) and Don Gerundo (accordion)

Cody McSherry Performs With Kolo Club Marian at 2018 Croatian Folklore Festival

by Pat McSherry
Cody McSherry and Kolo Club Marian
Video 1: Kolo Club Marian Performs a St. Lucy's Day Festival Dance
Published on Apr 16, 2018. Kolo Club Marian performs a dance reminiscent of the St. Lucy's Day celebrations of Croat community of the Molise province of Campobasso, Italy. The dance was performed at the Croatian Folklore Festival, sponsored by Sts. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church in New York City, April, 2018. The group is led by Rick Vukmanic, assisted by Marija Krpan Kuren. The button box is being played by accordionist Cody McSherry.

Broadway reverberated with the unmistakable sounds of Croatian music on April 14. Croatian traditional circle dance groups, called “kolo clubs,” from across the U.S. and Canada filled the Symphony Space on Broadway at 95th Street in New York City for a celebration of dance and music. The dance groups provided their own traditional accompaniment, and the stage resonated with music from dozens of tambura players, and one accordionist – Cody McSherry.

The event, hosted by the Kolo Club Kardinal Stepinac, associated with Sts. Cyril and Methodius and St. Raphael Catholic Church, was the 2018 Croatian Folklore Festival. The festival drew invited groups from Chicago, Mississauga, Oakville and Montreal Canada; Steelton, Pennsylvania and three groups from New York. Accordionist Cody is a member of Kolo Club Marian, which is associated with the Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Steelton.

The group is led by Rick Vukmanic who donates an incredible amount of time to teach song and dance to the group, as well as manufactures their costumes and props. Under Vukmanic’s direction and nearly infinite patience, the organization had prepared two presentations for inclusion in the concert. The two presentations came from a Croat community of the Molise province of Campobasso, Italy. The first was an instrumental and vocal presentation of “Lipa Mara Homo U Ruzice.” The group entered the stage with the accordion front and center, with the tamburists and vocalists surrounding.

The second presentation was a complicated dance recreating the celebrations surrounding St. Lucy, full of changing patterns with street festival energy and spontaneity. The dance was accompanied by a group of musicians playing the stringed prim, brac and berda tamburas, all following Cody’s lead as he poured out the dance’s music on the diatonic button accordion.

With all of the groups involved, the show of costume, music and dance went on for several hours, showcasing traditions from all areas of the small Balkan country which is part of the former Yugoslavia. The nearly sold-out theater reverberated with enthusiasm and applause for the work of those preserving the traditions of the land from which many in the audience, or their parents and grandparents, hearkened from.

Cody’s position of being the sole accordion was not lost on the audience. He was approached by appreciative audience members who congratulated him on his keeping this musical tradition alive and sharing it. Cody loves the music of Croatia and the other Balkan countries and has begun adding the tambura to his repertoire of instruments.

At present Cody plays not only the piano, diatonic and chromatic accordion, he also performs on both theater and pipe organ, baritone and tenor saxophone, bass ukulele, marimba and hammered dulcimer and also sings. His time is divided between his personal concert schedule, performing on the accordion with his school’s pit orchestra, playing in the school’s concert band, jazz band, and percussion ensemble, as well as singing in the school’s concert choir, Mass choir and the competitive acapella group “Vox Pop.”

Cody has performed in many professional stage productions and now is in rehearsals for another – “I’ll Fly Away” – with Servant Stage Productions. Cody also leads his own band – “Polterabend.” Cody has won many national and international awards for accordion and has performed on both the east and west U.S. coasts and in Europe. In his spare time, he maintains his position on the school’s distinguished honor roll. Though a freshman, Cody hopes to study secondary education and Classics at Duquesne University, and travel and perform with the Pittsburgh Area Tamburitzans.

In the meantime he will soak up the traditional music and dance of Croatia with his friends in Kolo Club Marian.

For further information:

Texas Folklife Announces 2018 Big Squeeze Accordion Grand Prize Winners

by Sheree Scarborough
Big Squeeze 2018 Winners
The free concert and contest finals held at the Bullock Museum on Saturday, April 21, 2018. Grand Prize Winners selected in each category: Polka, Cajun & Zydeco, Conjunto, and the Anthony Ortiz Jr. Grand Prize.
Texas Folklife is pleased to announce the names of the young accordionists who were chosen as this year’s Big Squeeze Accordion Contest Champs (picture above, left to right).
·      Cajun & Zydeco (21 and under): Steven Williams, age 14, from Humble
·      Polka (25 and under): Peter Gresser, age 13, from Weatherford
·      Conjunto (17 and under): Melenie Lissette Gonzalez, age 17, Rio Grande City
·      Anthony Ortiz Jr. Conjunto Prize (18-21): Jesus F. Venegas, age 21,Brownsville
The winners were chosen at the Big Squeeze Statewide Accordion Contest Finals and Concert that was held at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin on Saturday, April 21, where 12 finalists competed for the four titles. It was an afternoon celebrating Texas’s vibrant roots music and all things accordion with approximately 500 in attendance.

The crowd was treated to a fabulous, energetic performance by Grammy-nominated Alex Meixner and his band. Meixner had the audience on its feet and dancing to his inspired accordion squeezing while the judges were deliberating. Congratulations to our new Big Squeeze Champs, the finalists, the honorable mentions, and all of this year’s contestants—thank you for keeping the accordion tradition alive in Texas.
This was the 12th year for the statewide program that supports up-and-coming Texas youth accordionists. The contest is one of the ways in which Texas Folklife carries out its mission to preserve and present Texas’s diverse cultural heritage.

The contest recruits players in all genres of the Lone Star State’s accordion-based music, including German, Czech, and Polish polka; Creole, Cajun, and zydeco; conjunto, norteño, and Tejano.

Since 2007 Texas Folklife has built a reputation as a champion of Texas accordion music genres through the Big Squeeze program, and has supported over 300 young, talented players from dozens of Texas towns and cities in their efforts to carry on these vital community-based accordion music traditions.

This spring Texas Folklife held 9 Big Squeeze talent showcases that were free and open to the public, held in communities throughout the state, and featured music by established accordion artists as well as the young accordion contestants. The showcases were held in Ennis, Dallas, Houston, Nederland/Groves, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Los Fresnos, and Palmview. Those who were not able to attend a showcase were able to mail or e-mail their entries to Texas Folklife.

The four Big Squeeze 2018 Grand Prize Winners will receive a prize package valued at more than $4,000, including a Hohner accordion, cash prize, performance opportunities with Texas Folklife, publicity, professional development, and other professional opportunities. Additionally, the Grand Prize Winners will perform onstage with legendary Texas musicians at Texas Folklife’s Accordion Kings & Queens Concert, held at Houston’s Miller Outdoor Theatre on June 2.

“Congratulations to our 2018 Big Squeeze Champs,” said Executive Director Charlie Lockwood. “And to all the young squeezeboxers and their families who entered the contest. This year we had 47 contestants, one of the highest contestant turnouts in the history of the Big Squeeze program. In addition, the skill level of the contestants this year was at an all time high.

And because of that, the judges had great difficulty deciding on this year’s Grand Prize Winners. We are very proud of all our contestants and want to encourage them to remain part of the Big Squeeze community. They all have our support. We are so grateful to our sponsors and partners throughout the state who are helping us keep the tradition of the national instrument of the Lone Star State alive and well.”
The Big Squeeze Finals is supported by the board and members of Texas Folklife, Hohner, Inc., El Norteño Foods, Rancho Alegre Conjunto Festival, Texas Polka News, Alamo Music Center, The Texas Music Office, and by grants from H-E-B, Texas Commission on the Arts, the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin’s Economic Development Department, and the City of Houston through the Miller Theatre Advisory Board.

Regional community and venue partners include Hacienda Records, Cajun Sounds Internet Radio,, Conjunto Heritage Taller, McDonald Public Library in Corpus Christi, Dallas Public Library Pleasant Grove Branch, Café 4212, Multicultural Education & Counseling through the Arts, Larry’s French Market & Cajun Restaurant, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, Los Fresnos High School, La Joya Independent School District, Central Texas Accordion Association, Munoz Snapshots, Nuestra Musica Monthy, Motorblade Postering Serivce, Debra Peters Music & Accordion Round-Up, and the Bullock Texas State History Museum.
Texas Folklife is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to presenting and preserving the diverse cultures and living heritage of the Lone Star State, and is designated by the National Endowment for the Arts as the Folk & Traditional Arts organization for the state. Since 1984, Texas Folklife has honored cultural traditions passed down within communities, explored their importance in contemporary society, and celebrated them by providing accessible and joyful arts experiences.
Media inquiries:
Sheree Scarborough 512-922-5483/
Program inquiries:
Alysha Hernández 210-286-1999 /

Photo: Courtesy Texas Folklife, by Marcy Garriott 
From left to right: Steven Williams, Peter Gresser, Melenie Lissette Gonzalez, Jesus F. Venegas
2018 Big Squeeze competitors

Dan Newton’s Cafe Accordion Orchestra Celebrates World Accordion Day

by Rita Barnea
Cafe Accordion
Dan Newton’s ( Daddy Squeeze) Cafe Accordion Orchestra presents "Cinema" on Saturday, May 12 at 7:30 PM - 10 PM CDT at the Phipps Center for the Arts, 109 Locust St, Hudson, Wisconsin 54016. The event will feature film clips, cartoons, and live music.

Excerpts from their website: Delighting audiences from Lincoln Center to the International Akkordeon Festival in Vienna, Dan Newton’s Café Orchestra will perform great songs heard in films ranging from the Marx Brothers to Quentin Tarantino, revised to evoke the sound of a Parisian café, with film clips, cartoons, and a silent short.

Dan Newton’s Café Accordion Orchestra (CAO) performs an eclectic mix full of French flare, Latin heat and Bohemian attitude. The heart of the CAO repertoire is the romantic, gypsy-influenced valse-musette. The group complements the musettes with swing, ballads, tangos, cha chas, rumbas, and cumbias to create a wonderfully varied show.Their high level of musicianship and passion for performance makes them an entertaining concert act as well as a great dance band.

CAO is led by Dan Newton on accordion and vocals, with Eric Mohring on mandolin, violin and vocals, Erik Lillestol on bass and vocals, Robert Bell on guitar and vocals and Joe Steinger on percussion. CAO has been delighting audiences and dancers alike since 1995. They have appeared in New York at the Lincoln Center's Midsummer Night Swing series, the International Akkordeon Festival in Vienna, Austria, the Minnesota State Fair, as well as festivals, theaters and dance halls across the United States.

Tickets are $24 for adults and $17 for students of any age.

For further information:

Voci Armoniche

Student Accordion Band in Queens School Concert

by Rita Barnea
Queens Accordion students with Joe
PS 203Q presents their Spring Concert at 53-11 Springfield Blvd in Oakland Gardens (Bayside) NY on May 15th, 2018 at 7:PM. Admission is $8.

Music teacher Linda Holcomb will direct the program which includes an Accordion Band made up of ten 4th & 5th graders who will perform some of the following selections:
- Come to the Sea
- In the Mood
- The Chicken Dance
- The Star Wars Theme & more

Assisting the group is “Papa Joe” DeClemente, who is a local professional Accordionist/Entertainer from Bellerose, NY. 

Excerpts from LIAA publication: Public-school 203Q, in Bayside, Queens may be one of the only elementary schools in the five boroughs of New York City that has a student accordion band. It is made up of ten 4th and 5th graders and is conducted by the school’s music teacher, Mrs. Linda Holcomb.

The school started their accordion band fifteen years ago. They meet once a week, at the beginning of the school day to practice various songs that they will perform throughout the year. “We enjoy performing for concerts and events in our school, and we love taking our show on the road, into our community,” says Holcomb. During December, the group braved the frigid weather and played holiday songs outdoors for the Bayside Hills community holiday lighting celebration. They also entertained at the Clearview Senior Center located in that same area.

Holcomb adds, “Performing for nursing homes and Senior Centers brings such joy to the people there. They love to see the children play their accordions. Our students always come home from those trips so excited, having experienced how their music can really be a blessing to others.”

For the past two years, the group has been fortunate to have the guidance of community member and professional accordionist, “Papa Joe” De Clemente. Papa Joe volunteers his time to join the students for rehearsals and he inspires them to be better accordionists. Among the many things he does for them, he also fixes their accordions! (Sometimes nine and ten year olds don’t exactly treat their accordion like it deserves to be treated!)

For more information about the concert, please contact Ms Holcomb at

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Dominic Karcic Performs for LIAA

by Rita Barnea
Dominic KarcicAccordionist and AAA Board member, Dominic Karcic, will be the featured guest artist with vocalist Cheryl Spielman at La Villini Restaurant in East Northport, NY, sponsors of the next meeting of the Long Island Accordion Alliance (LIAA) on Wednesday, May 2, 2018 at 6:PM

Originally from Astoria, NY Dominic attended St. Francis of Assisi grammar school, William Cullen Bryant high school, New York College of Music where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree and continued his education at the City University of New York (CCNY) where he received his Masters Degree in Music.

He was one of the founders and first president of the Adriatic Islands Charity Committee and served as its president for thirteen years during his tenure the committee raising thousands of dollars for senior citizen homes, hospitals and churches in the Mali Losinj (Lussin Piccolo) area of Croatia. The organizations first fund raiser at the Oyster Bay caterering house in Astoria, NY attracted nine-hundred and fifty people and Dominic and his orchestra supplied the music for the monumental event.

Dominic has always played professionally (accordion and piano) in the New York metropolitan area and continues to do so today. He and his musicians “The Continental Sound” have been house musicians at the Columbus Citizens Foundation (NYC) for over twenty-five years and he has played for organizations like the Valtarese Foundation (Parma, Italy), Fubinese Society (Piemonte, Italy), Italian Charities of Queens, NY, Italian Heritage Association of Long Island, La Pace Restaurant (Glen Cove, NY) and also at Magnanini Winery in Wallkill, NY.

His love for the Valtaro Musette music was instilled in him through his years of study with noted accordionist Peter Spagnoli. In recent years he has been involved in the preservation and documentation of this musical style. He collaborated in writing a biographical article on the life and career of accordionist John “Scudlein” Brugnoli (founder of the Valtaro Musette Orchestra).

Come join them for a fun evening.  

 Place:        La Villini Restaurant
                  288 Larkfield Road.
                  East Northport, NY 11731
For reservations:  631-261-6344

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Accordionist Ivan Filipchyk Performed in Brooklyn Concert on April 15

by Rita Barnea

Rita Barnea, Ivan FilipchykVideo1: Classic accordion and painting
Video 2: "J.S. Bach. Sheep May Safely Graze. BWV 208". Ivan Filipchyk

Accordionist/pianist Ivan Filipchyk presented a program including both J.S. Bach’s and his own original piano compositions on April 15, 2018  in Brooklyn at the South Oxford Space. Ivan’s performance was sensitive, displaying a virtuosic and accurate technique on both instruments. He offered interesting and enlightening comments before each selection and displayed an emotional and dynamically diverse expression in his music. The audience was mesmerized by the feelings conveyed in the music. Ivan, an accomplished musician, spoke sensitively and modestly from the heart and his music conveys these feelings. He received a well deserved standing ovation at the conclusion of the program. 

The program included: 
1. J. S. Bach. "Sheep May Safely Graze" from the "Hunting" cantata
2. J. S. Bach. "Come, Sweet Death" from the book of sacred songs and areas
3. J. S. Bach. “Three Chorale Preludes” (BWV 639, 727, 745)
4. J. Pachelbel. “Chaccone in F Minor”
5. I. Filipchyk. “Prelude and Fugue for Piano”
6. I. Filipchyk. “Three Musical Moments for Piano”
7. I. Filipchyk. “Romantic Tryptic for Piano”

Ivan Filipchyk (born 1991), is a New York-based artist and musician. He graduated from Russian Gnesiny Academy of music in Moscow with a Master's degree in music. He acquired his music foundation in Belarus and Russia, countries with rich musical history, traditions and well-established education in music and arts. As a musician (accordion, piano) he takes part in various competitions and gives recitals performing (as a soloist and participant of an ensemble) on stages of some European countries, Russia, Japan, USA and Canada.

Ivan commented on his compositional style: “I don't think I can say much about my pieces... I might be delusional about it but I'd like to think that I write music (I want to, but I can't judge if I'm in any way successful) that doesn't need a story following it. I want it to be clear and simple but expressive. That's why none of my pieces so far have any program titles (except for very general titles, indicating the genre or form, like "prelude and fugue")... It might change in the future if I keep composing, but that's how I feel now.

The "musical language" I have is quite traditional (tonal). And I'm well aware that, given the limitations of tonality, my music might remind of the music already existing, written before, and would be probably considered by many unoriginal or outdated. But, as one my good friend often says: "a creative person should live "from the inside out". I guess that's what I have in me now, so I feel like going with it... But it might change.

Writing all this also reminded me of something T. S. Eliot wrote in his Four Quarters:"And what is there to conquer by strength and submission, has already been discovered once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope to emulate...but there's no competition...for us, there's only the trying. The rest is not our business."

I highly recommend that you attend his next concert which will be announced in future publications.

For further information: Ivan Filipchyk, Mobile: 917.443.2190


Future events

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Grayson Masefield In New Jersey House Concert on July 7

by Rita Barnea
Grayson Masefield
Grayson MasefieldVideo above: Grayson Masefield performs "a fun light-hearted disco medley created for me by Renzo Ruggieri."

On Saturday, July 7, 2018 at 3:PM Leslie and I will host a house concert in our home in West Orange, New Jersey featuring international concert artist, Grayson Masefield. Admission will be $10 per person.

Guests may arrive at 3:PM and you will have a chance to meet and talk with Grayson. The concert begins at 4:PM and lasts for about one hour. Please be early! Light refreshments will be served.

Grayson is a recent graduate, with a Masters Degree, from University of Music – Lausanne, Switzerland and five-time world champion.

Grayson Masefield will also perform at a special concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC on Monday, July 9th and at the 80th Anniversary of the AAA in Alexandria, Virginia on July 11, 2018 at 4:PM. He will also present a workshop on Friday, July 13 at 1:30 PM. and will be a guest artist at the AAA Gala Concert in Alexandria, Virginia on July 14.

Space in our home is limited, so if you wish to attend, it is absolutely critical that you RSVP ASAP. Kindly respond just to me,, by June 1 indicating how many people will attend.These reservations will, of necessity, be on a first-come, first-served basis.  

I will then send details with address, directions, parking, etc. to those who have confirmed they are coming. Thank you, and we hope to see you there to hear Grayson Masefield. National Editor Rita Barnea

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

International Digital Electronic Accordion Symposium: Oct. 24-28 in Ohio

by Joe Natoli and Michael Soloway
Michael Soloway and I (Joe Natoli) are pleased and proud to announce the results of a year’s worth of planning and effort regarding our new visionary organization entitled International Digital Electronic Accordion Society (IDEAS).

This group is for ALL digital accordion enthusiasts and is a place where deep and profound knowledge sharing discussions can carry on continually in our new Facebook group (“GR8 IDEAS”). Since the GR8 IDEAS Facebook group became open and available only one week ago, the level of discussion taking place is already impressive and will continue to expand.

The faculty of the GR8 IDEAS International Digital Electronic Accordion Symposium, Oct. 24-28, 2018 will include Eddie Monteiro, Joe Natoli, Richard Noel, Alex Chudolij, Don Gerundo, Cory Pesaturo, Michael Soloway, Gordon Kohl, Dr. Ian Fries, Tony Monaco, Steve Albini and more! The symposium will take place at the Avalon Inn Resort and Conference Center in Warren, Ohio. There is no other accordion event in the US like this. Space is limited so don’t miss out!

In addition to the free Facebook discussion page, they offer a $45 yearly membership (for the duration of 2018) that will get you access to other benefits only paid members will receive (which includes discounts to the Oct 24-28, 2018 Symposium -- also called IDEAS for “International Digital Electronic Accordion Symposium, as well as access to members-only pages that will ultimately include educational webinars, user programs, orchestrations, online workshops, etc.).

The IDEAS group is a completely inclusionary gathering for professionals and amateurs alike, where everyone is welcome to share in the joy of owning and performing on these instruments, no matter the manufacturer, make or model. We also encourage discussions on any peripherals related to the digital accordion (amps, recording equipment, music notation software, music display software and tablets, pedal boxes, Bluetooth devices, wireless devices……well, you get the IDEA!).

Come visit our Facebook page (again search for “GR8 IDEAS”) and mark your calendars for Oct 24-28, 2018. It’s going to be an amazing gathering of some of the best digital accordion artists and faculty in the world, where you will be immersed in meaningful and extended workshops, hands-on knowledge sharing, individual lessons, daily concerts, jam sessions, and wonderful surroundings that will feel like you are in a beautiful scenic secluded retreat.

It is intended to be a one of a kind event, different from anything being offered currently in the accordion world, enabling you to acquire immediately applicable, useful, and deeper knowledge of your instrument and its peripherals on many levels.This is the 21st century and digital accordion is here to stay!! Our expectation is that the impetus of this organization will demonstrate to manufacturers globally that there is a huge demographic out here wanting to use and purchase this technology well into the future so that they can be motivated to manufacture and market to that demographic -- which is all of YOU!

Request and/or complete the membership by contacting Michael Soloway or Joe Natoli:

Titano Accordion Company

AAA Master Class and Concert Series July 27-29 in NYC

by Rita Barnea
American Accordionists' Association Master Class and Concert Series
William Schimmel, 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 finalised.

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.

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

Voci Armoniche

David Rothenberg’s New Work for Accordion, Cello, Guitar, Pre-recorded Whale

by Rita Barnea
David RothenbergComposer David Rothenberg’s new work for accordion, cello, guitar and pre-recorded great whale will be premiered at ShapeShifter Lab, Brooklyn on Sunday, June 10, 2018 at 8:15 PM.

David Rothenberg is a composer, performer and author who specializes in combining instrumental music with sounds from nature (whale, birds, insects). He is the author of many widely popular books on the subject including “Thousand-Mile Song: Whale Music in a Sea of Sound”, “Bug Music: How Insects Gave Us Rhythm and Noise”, “Survival of the Beautiful: Art, Science and Evolution” and “Always the Mountains”, among many others. David has also released many CD’s.

Excerpts from his website: As a composer and jazz clarinetist, Rothenberg has sixteen CDs out under his own name, including On the Cliffs of the Heart, named one of the top ten CDs by Jazziz Magazine in 1995 and a record on ECM with Marilyn Crispell, One Dark Night I Left My Silent House. 

Other releases include "Why Birds Sing and Whale Music".  He invited many musical colleagues to join him on "Whale Music Remixed", with contributions from noted electronic artists such as Scanner, DJ Spooky, Lukas Ligeti, Mira Calix, Ben Neill, and Robert Rich. Rothenberg’s duet CD with keyboardist Lewis Porter, is "Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast". Next is a duet with British electronic music wizard Scanner, called "You Can’t Get There From Here".

His 2014 CD features accordionist Pauline Oliveros and Timothy Hill, called "Cicada Dream Band".  His 2015 CD featuring live performances with nightingales is Berlin Bülbül, made together with Korhan Erel. In 2016 he released "And Vex the Nightingale" with Czech accordionist Lucie Vítková. David Rothenberg is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Music at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, which has encouraged and supported all of his creative projects since 1992.

Shawn Lawson, internationally-acclaimed computer graphics artist, and The Progression Ensemble will present the world premiere of David Rothenberg’s newest work for accordion, cello, guitar, pre-recorded whale and live-coded real time computer graphics at ShapeShifter Lab, 18 Whitwell Place, Brooklyn on Sunday June 10, 2018 at 8:15 PM. They will also perform new works by Christopher Cook, Eric Despard, Michael Dilthey, Gene Pritsker and Bjorn Bolstad Skjelbred, and a new arrangement of Dan Cooper’s “Lullaby”. The Progression Ensemble consists of Rocco Anthony Jerry, Accordion- Eric Despard, Guitar and Michael Gilbert Ronstadt, Cello.

Accordion Jazz Chords

4 Places Open for V International Jazz Accordion Master Classes in Spain

by Rita Barnea
Jazz Master Classes
There are only 4 places left for the “V International Jazz Accordion Master Classes City of Ourense, July 14-15, 2018. Registration is still open. It will be an unforgettable musical and fun experience for all the attendees. English, French, Spanish and Portuguese are spoken.

Group and Schedules:
-The group will have a maximum of 8 students. Once the 8 spots are filled more students will not be accepted. Students will be admitted by order of registration.
-The Master Class will last for 10 hours distributed as follows: 3 hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon each day.
-The classes will run from 10:30 to 13:30 and 15:30 to 17:30. The lunch break will be from 13:30 to 15:30.
-The Master Class will be entirely in English translated into Spanish as needed.

Jam sessions:
July 14th during the night, there will be an open Jam session at the best Jazz Club of the city "Cafe Cultural Auriense", so all the participants can play with other instruments, experiment, socialize and have a great time performing in front of an audience.
The Master Classes:
-Please watch this video from previous Master Classes. During the Master Class we will work on the following subjects:
-Rhythm section (bass and drums) both days.
-Improvisation: in different styles and understanding scales. (Pop, rock, bolero) not only in jazz.
-Comping: How to form chords, close position, open position, Upper structures.
Poly-Chords: "Chord Approach on both hands.".
-Styles ,How to frase and comp: Jazz, blues, Brazilian, traditional tango, new Tango and other styles of modern harmony.
-How to work and what to do in a recording studio when you get only chord changes.
-Watch videos and analyze them. How the accordion interacts with other instruments depending of the instrumentation of the groups. (Duo, Trio, Solo, singer, piano)
- A book with Material will be given to each student for further studies and review (to take home with you).
-Practice and perform with a rhythm section (bass and drums). So everyone can apply all the information that we have gone over.
-How to use the registers and voices of the accordion to orchestrate and and have a bigger variety of colors and sounds.

For further or
Contact the organizers at: Phone 34-665-629-110.


New and Updated Sites

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Updated Site: Mike Middleton Adds Pictures and Text - USA

by Harley Jones
Mike Middleton
Mike MiddletonUpdated Site: Picture above of Texas accordionist Mike Middleton performing at the National Accordion Association (NAA) Convention. Updated site adds pictures and text to the website. Also lists future events.
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