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U.S. National Accordion News - 01-Oct-2019
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Titano Accordion Company


Editor's Note
Las Vegas International Accordion Convention 20th Anniversary Celebration
Congratulations to Amy Jo Sawyer: 2019 ISMTA Teacher of the Year
Verne Uvezian (nee Deffner) Passes Away
Texas Folklife Announces “La Música: Paintings by Roel Flores at Texas Folklife’s Gallery
Newly Published Gary Daverne Works
”Mae West and the Count: Love and Loss on the Vaudeville Stage” by Guido Roberto Deiro
AAA Presents Lifetime Achievement Award to Joey Miskulin
IDEAS Symposium 2.0 Announces Tech Level Training for 4x/8x/EVO
"The Life Work of Count Guido Roberto Deiro" by Henry Doktorski
Tango Revenge Composed by Antonio Spaccarotella Performed with Orchestra - Italy
AWAM’s World Stage Becomes More Global as Mihoko Goto Presents Concert on October 12,
Atlanta Opera’s Production of “Frida” in October With Henry Doktorski on Accordion

Voci Armoniche

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

Los Angeles Based Composer Leonard ‘Lenny’ Stack Passes Away
AAA 2019 Festival Competition Winners
Eddie Monteiro and Warren Vache to Perform at Shanghai Jazz in New Jersey
Victor Prieto Releases Blu-Ray Limited Edition “Live at Berklee College of Music”
Brooklyn Accordion Club Presents Duo Imaginique on October 2
Sam Reider and the Human Hands at Ouibache Music Festival
"Papa Joe" De Clemente Brings Accordions to the Philippines
A World of Accordions included in game, “Superior-Opoly!”
MAS President Joe Recchia and Singer Aaron Caruso on Fox TV Live!
Accordionist Joe Heger Receives New Horizon Award From USPA
Egle Ona Bartkeviciute Performs in Classical Accordion and Strings on Oct. 27
Hank Thunander Concert at AWAM
Jay Landers Provides Italian Music for an Evening on Hungry Hill

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Future events

Hanzhi Wang on USA Tour
Hudson Valley Accordion Ensemble in New York Performances
Shapes & Icons: Finnish Music for the Accordion with Matti Pulkki
Stas Venglevski Performs with the Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra on Dec. 14

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



Editor's Note

by Rita Barnea
Rita BarneaThe upcoming season brings exciting concerts, workshops, new books and festivals including Octoberfest celebrations, videos, reports on past events, future programs and more.

Read the USA news each month to stay informed!

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Las Vegas International Accordion Convention 20th Anniversary Celebration

by Harley Jones
LVIACLVIACThe Las Vegas Accordion Convention 20th Anniversary Celebration will take place in Salt Lake City from October 14-17, 2019 coordinated by Paul Pasquale.

This year’s event will include a “Roaring Twenties” celebration with guest performers Grayson Masefield, Cory Pesaturo, Stas Venglevski, Ginny Mac, Mary Tokarski, Kim & Dan Christian, Gina Brannelli, Peter Barbutti, Gordon Kohl plus Joan Sommers conducting the Las Vegas International Accordion Orchestra!

Paul Pasqualie writes: "Come and join our Roaring 20's Celebration in honor of our 20th annual event. We have lots of great music and fun in store and great seats are available.

Please accept my invitation to the best accordion ever - in Las Vegas!"

"Why Las Vegas? - more fun & it really does cost less!"

View information online at Las Vegas International Accordion Convention
or email:

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

Congratulations to Amy Jo Sawyer: 2019 ISMTA Teacher of the Year

by Joseph Natoli, ATG President
Amy Jo SawyerThe ATG association is proud to announce that their own ATG Vice President, Amy Jo Sawyer, was named the Illinois State Music Teachers Association Teacher of the Year for 2019. It is of note that this organization includes all variety of music teachers and is not an “accordion” organization.

Here is a copy of the letter that was sent from the ISMTA to all of their members:

Dear ISMTA Members,
Please join me in congratulating Amy Jo Sawyer, our 2019 Teacher of the Year. Amy Jo will be honored at the ISMTA Conference November 2 at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, and will be nominated as a
candidate for the 2020 MTNA Teacher of the Year.

Amy Jo Sawyer joined MTNA in 1978 and became a Nationally Certified Teacher Member in 1989. Sawyer, who received an MA in Jazz Performance and BA in Piano Performance and Composition, is past President, Certification Chair, AIM Chair for the ISMTA Gateway Arch East chapter, for which she currently serves as Vice President/Program Coordinator. She was Chapter "Member of the Year" 2000, 2014 and 2019, received the ISMTA Composer Commissioning Award in 2014, and is currently the ISMTA Composer Commissioning Program Chair.

Ten of her compositions are approved for the AIM Program. Along with being the 2nd VP for the Accordionists & Teachers Guild, International, Sawyer is accordionist with the St. Louis Symphony and performed "Italian Love Songs" when Luciano Pavarotti sang.

Her Accordion Orchestra, solos and duets have been performed internationally. The Salt Creek Chapter commissioned her to write piano music for "Eight Hands" for their Glorious Grands concert in 2017, for which she composed the three movement "Sweet Salt Creek Suite". Her Tango, "Recuerdos" (Memories) was performed at the World Accordion Festival in Lithuania in 2018. "Juntos" (Together) Tango, was performed in Castelfidardo, Italy in 2012. Sawyer has produced two accordion CD's: "According To Amy" (Jazz) and "Classically Amy" (Classical). She is organist and music chair of her church, and maintains a studio teaching piano, accordion, jazz, theory and composition.

Titano Accordion Company

Verne Uvezian (nee Deffner) Passes Away

by Kevin Friedrich, CIA Ambassador
Verne Deffner Wedding
Verne DeffnerVerne Uvezian (nee Deffner) born on September 22, 1953, passed away September 21st, 2019 just one day shy of her 66th birthday.

Verne Uvezian (nee Deffner) was the only child of the late Ernest and Faithe Deffner, and grew up in Greenwich Village in New York City, before the family business relocated to Mineola, (Long Island) New York.

More recently she lived in Garden City and East Williston, NY before settling in Boynton Beach, FL.

After majoring in English in College, throughout her career Verne worked in Graphic Arts, Copy Editing, Proofreading and Publishing and Sales as well as periodic tenures with her Mother Faithe Deffner at the family business ‘Ernest Deffner Inc.’ which was founded in 1934.

More recently Verne became a published author, with her popular Children’s book ‘The Day Benny Stuck His Neck Out’ addressing the issue of 'bullying' because children were different. (NB. Benny the Giraffe, the book's main character, was different from everybody at home or in his school - he had a short neck).

"It teaches children that disabilities can be looked at in a positive light. You have to believe that being different is a wonderful thing. It gives children a marvelous sense of compassion because they are different and they know how a caring gesture or word can make them feel better," she said. She focuses her message on ability rather than inability.

After the 2014 passing of her Mother, accordion identity Faithe Deffner, Verne was instrumental in ensuring all her Mother’s historical materials from a lifetime of work in the accordion industry were transferred to the World of Accordions Museum in Superior, Wisconsin, where they became part of The Deffner Legacy display.

A mammoth undertaking, more than 70 boxes of materials were driven from New York to the Museum. Faithe was a major inspiration in expanding the World of Accordions Museum to its current location, and thanks to Verne’s efforts, the Deffner Legacy will be showcased for generations to come.

Verne married Ronny Uvezian in June 2010 and the couple celebrated in a reception with friends and family on August 28th 2010 in Bayville, Long Island. After several years in New York together, the couple moved permanently to Florida in 2014.

Details of a memorial service in October will be forthcoming, meanwhile messages of condolences maybe sent to: Ronny Uvezian, 11742 Caracas Blvd., Boynton Beach, FL 33437.

Voci Armoniche

Texas Folklife Announces “La Música: Paintings by Roel Flores at Texas Folklife’s Gallery

by Rita Barnea
Roel FloresFlacoThe Exhibit Opening and Artist Reception with Roel Flores was held on Thursday September 12, 2019 at the Texas Folklife Gallery, 1708 Houston St. Austin, TX 78756. “La Música: Paintings by Roel Flores” will be on display at Texas Folklife’s gallery until Friday December 20, 2019.

Excerpts from their website: Texas Folklife announced the opening of the exhibit La Música. La Música features paintings by Roel Flores, an artist  from Weslaco, Texas. La Música centers on the musical symbols and icons of Tejano music. There are portraits of Tejano legends Flaco Jiminez and  Valerio Longoria along with landscapes of the Rio Grande Valley sprinkled with accordions. Flores love of music began when he was only 6 years old and has stayed with him throughout his life. 

The paintings of Roel Flores were first displayed in Texas Folklife’s gallery over 10 years ago as part of the show “La Labor,'' which chronicled the artist’s experience of traveling and working with planting and harvesting cycles.

A community residency undertaken by Texas Folklife in partnership with the National Endowment of the Arts and The Texas Commission of the Arts granted Texas Folklife the opportunity to meet Roel Flores and learn how his experiences as a migrant worker and resident in Weslaco,Texas shaped his painting and music.  Texas Folklife is honored to once again feature the work of Flores in this new exhibit “La Música”.

This event and exhibit are made possible in part by the board and members of Texas Folklife, and by grants from the Texas Commission on the Arts with an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art, and the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. The exhibit is courtesy of Roel Flores. Installation is by Rebecca Bingman.

For more information, visit

Texas Folklife (TXF) is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to presenting and preserving the diverse cultures and living heritage of the Lone Star State. TXF is designated by the National Endowment for the Arts as the official folk and traditional arts organization for the state. Since 1984, the TXF has honored traditions passed down within communities, explored the importance of traditional arts in contemporary society and celebrated the state’s vibrant heritage by providing arts experiences enjoyable and accessible for all generations. For more information, visit

For further information:
Charlie Lockwood / Texas Folklife / / 512-441-9255

Accordion Jazz Chords

Newly Published Gary Daverne Works

by Harley Jones
Gary DaverneA number of works by Gary Daverne are now being published to make them available for performance by competitors in the "2020 International Video Competition & Promotion of Accordion Music Composed by Gary Daverne".

Those wishing to use these works for the 2020 Gary  Daverne music competition with a prize of two airfares, free trip to New Zealand for teacher of winner and student, can email for the music free of charge to:

Full information about the competition at: 2020GaryDaverneCompetition

ED0072 - Tango 130 (Solo) Video above performed by Grayson Masefield
ED0073 - Hokianga Hornpipe accordion solo part and piano accompaniment and accordion solo part only
ED0074 - The German Polka (Solo)

ED0076 - Song of the Far North for solo accordion and accordion ensemble
ED0077 - Song of the Far North for solo accordion and chamber orchestra
ED0075 - Song of the Far North for accordion and piano (Duet)

ED0081a - 2nd Rhapsody Score for accordion solo and symphony orchestra
ED0081b - 2nd Rhapsody Parts for accordion solo and symphony orchestra

ED0082a - 2nd Rhapsody Score for accordion solo and accordion orchestra
ED0082b - 2nd Rhapsody Parts for accordion solo and accordion orchestra


”Mae West and the Count: Love and Loss on the Vaudeville Stage” by Guido Roberto Deiro

by Dr. Helmi Harrington, Curator, A World of Accordions Museum, USA
”Mae West and the Count: Love and Loss on the Vaudeville Stage” by Guido Roberto Deiro
Count Guido DeiroPicture right: This photograph of Count Guido Jnr. in white tie with medals and decorations depicts him as the Grand Chancellor of the ancient chivalric order of the Sovereign Dynastic Hospitaller Order of St. John. He is also one of six Italian American members of the Guardia d'Onore d'Italia.

In the world of sober musical research, it is not often that the word “titillating” can be used. Often even the word “fascinating” may be difficult to apply. This book has every elements of enjoyable reading—humor, a lusty love affair, and facts that shed light on an era in American life.
The book Mae West and the Count: Love and Loss on the Vaudeville Stage", is exceptional. Written by the Guido Roberto Deiro, son of Guido Deiro and based on his father’s oral reports and written documents, the biographic novel delves into the lives of an accordion virtuoso and a notorious beauty whose dual rise to fame in vaudeville and theater stardom remain legendary. The sometimes glorious, sometimes tragic incidents read as factual; fictionalizations are not readily apparent. The writing is detailed but not overworked.
Guido’s life story tells of numerous eccentricities and love affairs, the most notable of which is certainly his involvement with and eventual marriage to stage and film star Mae West. He was a handsome, charismatic, and spirited person who gained substantial wealth through his performances, music schools and instrument sales. He was responsible for manufacture of various accordions, some of which are pictured in the book and are identical to models found in our museum.
An Italian pioneer among accordionists in America, Guido’s performances shaped the dreams of many as he composed and performed music that is still considered dazzling entertainment.  Accordionists should follow the track of author Count Guido Roberto Deiro’s view that his father’s story goes beyond interesting reading to amend conventional views of the history of piano accordions in America.
Guido’s performance accordion was installed in our World of Accordions Museum (AWAM) concert hall at the time of Henry Doktorski’s special concert in 2005. It stands alongside that of his brother’s (Pietro Deiro) in the Special Exhibits Area. Both instruments were donated to AWAM through the generosity of Deiro family members, who bequeathed Guido’s estate to the CUNY Center for the Study of Free-Reed Instruments, headed by director Allan Atlas.
Henry Doktorski compiled a comprehensive edition of Guido’s music (published by Mel Bay) and recorded the music on CDs. He also wrote definitive descriptions and histories of the accordions. Books and recordings are available for purchase online (Amazon)

Henry Doktorski's enitre lecture and recital from the 2019 World Accordion Day event titled "The Life and Music of the Brothers Deiro" can be viewed on Youtube at the following link.  This is a free link, but please consider making a donation to A World of Accordions Museum to help support the continuation of these types of presentations and performances.  Donations can be made at the Donate link in the box below.
The Life and Music of the Brothers Deiro
Mae West and the Count can be recommended to everyone who enjoys famous and infamous personalities and their roles in American cultural life—and especially to accordion aficionados. Published by outskirts press, ISBN 978-1-9772-1064-7, the printed book sells for $21.00 (paperback) to $36.00 (hardbound).
Guido Deiro Snr and Jnr

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

AAA Presents Lifetime Achievement Award to Joey Miskulin

by Rita Barnea
AAA Scholarship Dinner
AAA LogoDr. Joseph Ciccone and Joey MiskulinThis honor is in recognition of the exceptionally prolific contribution Joey Miskulin has made to the recording industry, having played on hundreds of albums with many of country and popular music’s best known names over many years. AAA Board member Dominic Karcic was the Chairman and Master of Ceremonies.

Since the 1970s, Joey Miskulin has recorded with the likes of Paul McCartney, U2, John Denver, Ricky Skaggs, Andy Williams, Ricky Van Shelton, Emmylou Harris, Frankie Yankovic, Garth Brooks, to name but some. Also a singer, arranger, and producer, Joey Miskulin is well known for performing country music as ‘Joey the Cowpolka King’ with the band Riders in the Sky and polkas with Frankie Yankovic, but his versatility extends into jazz, evidenced by his album, ‘The Other Side of the Fence’.

Also in 1990 for his ground breaking ‘Accordion Styles and Techniques" video/DVD, which was the first video of its kind. Miskulin’s production credits include ‘Toy Story’ for Disney/Pixar, and recently in Shanghai, China, where he spent two weeks working with the Walt Disney Company.

About 125 people enjoyed great entertainment, education, and a wonderful dinner with dancing. The program featured the Long Island Accordion Alliance who provided music.

The program began with the Welcome and Benediction given by Dr. Joseph A. Ciccone, President of the American Accordionists’ Association. Enjoyable dance music was provided by accordionists Mario Tacca, Frank Toscano, Dominic Karcic with Phil Battiston on percussion/vocals.

Everyone was delighted by the concert program presented by accordionist Mario Tacca and singer Mary Mancini. The two winners of the 2019 Carrozza Scholarship Competition performed. Gia Ciccone played “Carnival of Venice”. Nathan Chapeton who represented the USA at the 2019 Coupe Mondiale performed an emotional “Schindler’s List”. Nathan has studied for over ten years with AAA Board of Directors member and teacher, Mary Tokarski.

He recently placed 16th in the Coupe Mondiale Master Competition in Shenzhen, China in a field of 49 contestants. Gia Ciccone, 12 year old accordionist is a 7th grade student and presently studies with Mario Tacca. She started taking accordion sessions at the age of 5 with her Great Uncle, Maestro Carmen Carrozza. She has won many prizes. Read more details about Nathan and Gia in the October news.

Joey Miskulin’s award was presented by AAA President Dr. Joseph Ciccone (picture right) and the Board of Directors. Joey entertained everyone with a medley. Joey is friendly, engaging, and very modest about his musical gifts and many accomplishments in the musical world.

Dominic Karcic shares his thoughts; “The 2019 edition of the Carrozza Scholarship Fund Raiser took place on Sunday, September 8th at the Famee Furlane of N.A. in College Point, NY. This event also served as the venue for the American Accordionists' Association to present grammy winner and country music hall of fame member Joey Miskulin with its Lifetime Achievement Award.The event was a total success on many levels featuring great food, good wine, plenty of dancing, great camaraderie and most of all, plenty of talented accordionists creating great music.

The twelve noon arriving patrons were met with music supplied by the Long Island Accordion Alliance (LIAA) featuring members Joe Campo, Bob LaBua, Dominic Karcic, John Perno, Phil Pete, Frank Scardino and Greg Zukoff. They offered a diverse.mix of  toe tapping continental style music (waltz, polka, tango, rumba,merengue). They were followed by lilting dance music supplied Mario Tacca, Mary Mancini and Phil Battiston who were following by Frank Toscano and later Dominic Karcic. Midway through the afternoon Carrozza 2019 Junior Division Scholarship winner Gia Ciccone played a great rendition of her teacher's (Mario Tacca) arrangement of Carnival of Venice and Carrozza 2019 Senior Division Scholarship winner Nathan Chapeton played Unforgettable. AAA president Dr. Joseph Ciccone followed presenting Joey Miskulin with the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award. After acknowledging the award Joey treated the audience to several entertaining selections. More great dance music followed. A good time was had by all.

Save the date for July 10, 2020 when Joey Miskulin will be the featured artist at the AAA Festival at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites in Alexandria, VA. The AAA Festival takes place from July 9-12, 202 and also features Cory Pesaturo and Sam Reider. Linda Soley Reed will receive the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award at that time. More informations will be provided in future publications.

Pictures below: (left to right)
- LIAA Joe Campo, Frank Scardino, John Perno, Greg Zukoff, Joey Miskulin, Phil Prete, Bob LaBua, Dominic Karcic.
- Dr. Joseph Ciccone, Gia Ciccone, Mario Tacca, Ethel Ciccone.
AAA Scholarship Dinner

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

IDEAS Symposium 2.0 Announces Tech Level Training for 4x/8x/EVO

by Bob Donovan Executive Committee Member
IDEAWhen you commit to playing a digital accordion, you have accepted the fact, that a slice of your creative artistic pie will be devoted to learning the technology. Once that technology is understood your love for the instrument grows with your ability to play it skillfully. This is often how the experience differs from an acoustic accordion.

One of our goals at IDEAS Symposium is to supply what is required in that department for the digital accordion enthusiast. For the IDEAS Symposium 2.0 a new approach has been designed to satisfy that piece of the pie and the approach is pervasive throughout the symposium. The technology department of GR8 IDEAS Symposium 2.0 have orchestrated a set of classroom type sessions with hands on training that will build up your technical knowledge so that you can achieve your goals artistically and creatively.

The classroom sessions are organized into three levels: Tech Level I, II, III to grow your knowledge from your starting point. Tech Level I will focus on operation fundamentals, menu navigation, backup, restore, sets and user programs, and sound selection. Tech Level II will focus the next stage of learning with topics such as user program creation, combining sounds, organ and percussion programming, sound editing and recording. Tech Level III will focus on advanced programming, MIDI configuration, effects usage and editing, comprehensive discussions on User Programs and Sets, as well as student initial topics. No where in the world has something like this been offered.

If you are a digital accordion enthusiast who wants to grow your knowledge of the 4x/8x/EVO, then come join us at the IDEAS Symposium 2.0, Nov 6-10, 2019 at the beautiful Avalon Inn Resort and Conference Center located in Warren, Ohio (USA).

For further information:

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

"The Life Work of Count Guido Roberto Deiro" by Henry Doktorski

by Henry Doktorski
Count Guido Roberto Deiro (standing), Henry Doktorski, III, Theresa Doktorski, Henry Doktorski, II (Las Vegas: August 12, 2016)
Nearly two decades ago, in March 2001, I performed in recital at the City University of New York hosted by The Center for the Study of Free-Reed Instruments and The John D. Calandra Italian American Institute. The organizer of the event, Alan Atlas, asked me to play solo accordion works by the three great pioneers of the accordion in the early-twentieth-century: Pietro Frosini, Pietro Deiro and Guido Deiro.

Of course, I had played a great deal of music by the two Pietros, but although I had heard of Pietro’s brother Guido, I had never seen any of his music during my career. Luckily my friend Stanley Darrow, a prodigious collector of accordion music, had some of Guido’s music in his extensive library, and I played Guido’s “My Florence Waltz” and his “Egyptian Fantasy” at the Manhattan event.

Immediately following my performance, an elderly, white-haired, heavy-set, distinguished-looking gentleman wearing a tuxedo with a sash covered with medals came up to me and grabbed my hand. During a long and vigorous handshake, he exclaimed, “Bravo! Bravo! I have never heard anyone play my father’s music as well as you since my father passed away fifty-one years ago! I want you to record my father’s complete original compositions for accordion, and I will pay for the studio recording fees!”

This was my first meeting with Count Guido Roberto Deiro, and the beginning of a decade-long collaboration which ultimately helped reawaken the world to the greatness of Count Guido Deiro (1886-1950). Guido Jr. told me, “As a young boy, I didn’t really appreciate the greatness of my father. He passed away when I was still quite young. But now that I’ve accomplished so much during my life, I have only one more pressing desire: I have made it my mission to set the record straight about the accomplishments of my father, which have been lost during the passing of the last half-century.”

During the next ten years, Guido Jr. and I worked together on a half-dozen projects to help educate the world about the accomplishments of his father:
2001: We created website with hundreds of pages, hundreds of images, and dozens of sound files, for Guido Deiro at
2003: I recorded “The Complete Works of Guido Deiro,” a double CD released by Bridge Records, which received a wonderful review in Gramophone Magazine.
2005: I wrote a book, “The Brothers Deiro and Their Accordions,” a biography of Guido and Pietro Deiro.
2005: I presented a workshop and recital at “A World of Accordions Museum” in Superior, Wisconsin, during which the museum celebrated the acquisition of two historic accordions formerly owned by Guido and Pietro Deiro.
2007-2010: I wrote the CD booklet notes for “The Complete Recorded Works of Guido Deiro,” a four-CD anthology of Guido’s own recordings from Edison cylinders and Columbia and Decca 78 records re-mastered and released by Archeophone Records.
2008: I edited and wrote an introduction for “The Complete Works of Guido Deiro,” a 192-page printed music book published by Mel Bay of forty-five of Guido’s original compositions for accordion.

Count Guido Roberto Deiro also accomplished other notable achievements in memory of his father:
c. 2000: He funded the restoration of the 1928 Vitaphone sound film of his father performing.
c. 2001: He donated the substantial Guido Deiro Archives to the City University of New York
c. 2010: He wrote a screenplay for a proposed movie about his father’s life.
2019: He wrote and got published a biography of his father titled “Mae West and the Count: Love and Loss on the Vaudeville Stage.”

I am very sorry to hear of Count Guido Roberto Deiro’s passing, but I am very happy that Guido was able to accomplish what he told me that he wanted to do nearly two decades ago: to educate the world about the great accomplishments of his father. With the publication of the biography of his father just a few months ago, Guido Jr. had achieved his goal. His mission had been accomplished. I am grateful to have been an important part of his life mission. Guido Jr. will be missed. Rest in peace.

Photograph: Count Guido Roberto Deiro (standing), Henry Doktorski, III, Theresa Doktorski, Henry Doktorski, II (Las Vegas: August 12, 2016)

For further information:

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

Tango Revenge Composed by Antonio Spaccarotella Performed with Orchestra - Italy

by Rita Barnea
Antonio SpaccarotellaGrayson Masefield returns to the Las Vegas International Accordion Convention this month and will be performing the solo version of Tango Revenge for the audience. Above is video in Italy two weeks ago of the Tango Revenge Premiere with symphony orchestra, soloist Grayson Masefield. Grayson was in Italy performing masterclasses and concerts.

Antonio Spaccarotella (picture right), international performer, composer and accordion teacher at the Conservatorio di Musica P.I. Tchaikovsky, Nocera Terinese, Italy composed the accordion solo Tango Revenge in 2018.

Grayson Masefield (picture below) has performed the solo version of Tango Revenge in China, Europe and North America in the last 12 months and on Sunday 15 September it was performed for the first time with symphony orchestra.

The Conservatorio di Musica P.I. Tchaikovsky orchestra was conducted by well known composer and conductor Volodymyr Runchak (Ukraine) for the concert and as you can see from the video, the work was well received by the audience.
Grayson Masefield

Titano Accordion Company

AWAM’s World Stage Becomes More Global as Mihoko Goto Presents Concert on October 12,

by Rita Barnea
Video 1: Mihoko Goto performs “Senbon-zakura”(means 1000 cherry blossoms, arranged by Mihoko Goto) in Kaustinen at the Folk Music Festival in Finland.

The world stage of the World of Accordions Museum is becoming more global as they look forward to welcoming Mihoko Goto as the first Japanese accordionist to present a concert for AWAM at HARTS. She is one of Japan’s leading accordionists, whose unique sound and performance style is highly praised at home and abroad. She will present a concert on October 12, 2019 at 4:00 PM.
Her musical experiences are impressively diverse. After graduating from Osaka College of Music with a major in piano, she taught in the school system for twelve years while independently pursuing studies in contemporary music. She then decided to advance her music studies in Hong Kong and in England, with Nick Ariondo in Los Angeles and with Viacheslav Semionov in Moscow. Upon her return to Japan, she participated in the Roma ensemble “Tengo” as well as offering solo concerts.

Her international travels continued as Tengo became “Friendship and Exchange Artists” for Russia’s 300th anniversary of the founding of the city of St. Petersburg. She was solicited for television and radio performances while also releasing three consecutive albums through Victor Entertainment. Subsequent musical activity in NYC, Germany, Russia, Finland, and always in her homeland Japan, have brought her fame and respect.
Much of her popularity may be attributable to her large repertory that incorporates characteristics of many musicological styles-- traditional Japanese, Russian, Classical, flamenco, rock, and other world music.
Donations to defray expenses are requested in lieu of admission fees. The concert takes place at the World of Accordion Museum, 1401 Belknap St., Superior, Wisconsin.

For further information:
AWAM Poster

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

Atlanta Opera’s Production of “Frida” in October With Henry Doktorski on Accordion

by Rita Barnea
Henry Doktorski
Accordionist Henry Doktorski has been selected to play accordion for the Atlanta Opera's production of "Frida" by Robert Xavier Rodríguez on October 5, 9, 11 and 13, 2019.

Excerpts from the Atlanta Opera website: “Frida” is a fantastical theater piece combining pantomime, puppetry, movement, and vocal performers, Frida enlists mariachi instruments to heat up this blend of tango, zarzuela, ragtime, 1930s jazz and vaudeville. The story conjures a vivid portrait of the courageous revolutionary and magical realist Frida Kahlo as she struggles with her torrid marriage to Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.

The performance takes place at the
Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center,
1 Galambos Way

Sandy Springs, GA 30328

Call: 770-730-5600 Tickets are $25.00

Accordionist Henry Doktorski grew up in East Brunswick, New Jersey, and attended twelve years of Catholic Schools. He received a Bachelor of Music degree with a double major in Piano Performance and Music Education at Park College (today Park University) in Parkville, Missouri. He received a Master Degree in Music Composition at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 2016 he moved to Southern California.
Henry began accordion lessons at the age of seven and studied with Anthony Maiorana at Hi-Way Music in East Brunswick. In high school he abandoned the accordion and began playing a Farfisa organ with a rock band. Around the same time he joined the Saint Peters High School (New Brunswick, New Jersey) choir and discovered classical music and his lifelong career. In college he studied Piano Performance and Music Education.

Later he discovered the classical accordion subculture and became hooked on classical music for the accordion. Since then he has performed with dozens of symphony orchestras, including the Pittsburgh Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Tanglewood Festival Orchestra, Fairbanks Alaska Summer Arts Festival Orchestra, and others.

For ticketing services:
Monday – Friday from 9 AM to 5:PM

For further information: Henry Doktorski, M.Mus., C.A.G.O.
Organist, Pianist, Accordionist, Composer, Conductor, Author, Educator, Chess Instructor
Phone: 951-435-9209

Gary Daverne CD's and eSheet music available online

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

4 Music Books by Stas Venglevski

Los Angeles Based Composer Leonard ‘Lenny’ Stack Passes Away

by Kevin Friedrich, CIA Ambassador
Leonard Stack (right) with World Accordion Orchestra Concert Master Kevin Friedrich and conductor Joan Cochran Sommers in 2007 at the conclusion of the World Premiere of Lest We Forget.
Leonard ‘Lenny’ StackVideo above: This is the commissioned accordion orchestra piece that the World Accordion Orchestra performed August 18, 2007 on the Grand Finale Concert of the Coupe Mondiale in Alexandria, VA. 166 players from 13 nations and 20 USA states.

Renowned Los Angeles based composer, arranger and music director Leonard ‘Lenny’ Stack has passed away. Born on 18 June 1938, Lenny passed away on 22 September 2019 aged 81. Lenny is survived by his wife Lora.

During his career, Los Angeles native Lenny Stack wrote arrangements for the Doc Severinsen Tonight Show Band, the Buddy Rich Big Band and the Louis Bellson Big Band. A talented composer, Lenny wrote original songs for recording artists including Diana Ross and Dionne Warwick. In addition to being an Emmy Award winning arranger, he had also been the musical director, composer and arranger for many Television series, specials and motion pictures including the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards and the American Music Awards. Lenny Stack's Big Band is known for its appealing arrangements and excellent execution by some of Los Angeles’s most talented musicians.

Leonard (Lenny) Stack received his Bachelor of Music in Composition from the University of Southern California (USC) and studied composition with Halsey Stevens, Robert Linn, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Miklos Rosza.

He has published numerous works for various classical ensembles consisting of: "Sonata for Clarinet and Piano", "Ballads No. 1 and No. 2 for Flute and Piano", "Scherzo for Saxophone Quartet" and "Scherzo for 3 Clarinets and Bass Clarinet" published by Southern Music Company in addition to two works for Accordion Orchestra.

His two compositions for Accordion Orchestra include ‘Lest We Forget’ and ‘Film Noir: City at Night.’ Both works were composed at the request of his close friend and Los Angeles based work colleague Liz (Elizabeth) Finch.

"Lest We Forget" was commissioned by the UMKC Accordion Orchestra for the inaugural World Accordion Orchestra held at the 2007 American Accordionists' Association (AAA) and Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG) jointly hosted CIA Coupe Mondiale World Accordion Championships Festival in Alexandria, VA (Washington, DC), USA.

The programmatic element in it deals with the insanity and misery leading up to and resulting from war. Contained in the composition are jingoistic cries for victory overwhelmed by the suffering of humanity. The music begins with a bleak and austere opening section, which then segues into the first combative episode. This scheme repeats itself throughout the composition. After the battle is a sad, wistful melody followed by another disruption of the peace. Then, a fugal section is employed, followed by the inverted fugal subject meant to depict the clash of opposing armies. Then there is a recapitulation of that sad, wistful melody which serves as a short reprieve between battles. When the military drums begin we have the final clashing of armies with a trite patriotic theme in the background. Finally all is still, victor and vanquished lie together mortally wounded and the short angry coda summarizes the entire folly.

Marking his first accordion composition, Lenny attended the World Premiere performance of "Lest We Forget", conducted by Joan Cochran Sommers on Saturday, 18 August 2007.

His second work "Film Noir: City at Night" was performed by World Accordion Orchestra II in Glasgow, Scotland on Saturday, 25 October, 2008, also conducted by Joan Cochran Sommers. The programmatic idea for "Film Noir", is of a dark deserted street at night where menace lurks anywhere. The second theme announces a "floozy" sauntering in. The middle section increases in tension and violence as all sorts of mayhem occurs. Finally the main theme is recapitulated and it ends with a quiet ominousness. This music is reminiscent of the film noir movies of the late 1940's and early 1950's.

"Film Noir: City at Night" has since been performed under the direction of Joan C. Sommers by groups such as the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC) Accordion Orchestra (2009), the ATG Festival Orchestra (2019) and is to be performed by the Las Vegas International Accordion Orchestra in October.

A member of ASCAP and the Television Academy, Lenny won the coveted Emmy Award for arranging for the television special, "Screen Actor's Guild 50th Anniversary and an Emmy nomination as Musical Director of the television special, "Disneyland's 30th Anniversary Celebration."

Picture: Leonard Stack (right) with World Accordion Orchestra Concert Master Kevin Friedrich and conductor Joan Cochran Sommers in 2007 at the conclusion of the World Premiere of Lest We Forget.

Amy Jo Sawyer CD titled According to Amy

AAA 2019 Festival Competition Winners

by Rita Barnea
AAA logo
AAA 2020 posterAnnouncing the AAA 2019 Festival Winners! Congratulations to all AAA Festival Winners 2019! All have practiced diligently, improved their technical and musical skills, and have been rewarded for their efforts. Best wishes for continuing successes in all your musical endeavors!

Carmen Carrozza Memorial Competition –

OPEN DIVISION:1st Place – Nathan Chapeton
2nd Place – Cody McSherry
3rd Place – Will Comer

JUNIOR DIVISION:1st Place – Gia Ciccone
2nd Place – Daniel Tantsyura
Bronze Medal – Eva Tantsyura

Elsie M. Bennett Composition Competition –

OPEN DIVISION - 1st Place – Dan Mastrioanni
2nd Place – Will Comer
3rd Place – Nathan Chapeton
3rd Place – Rachel Shutt

Open Junior Solos – Superior Trophies to Nicholas Busso, Caroline Lammers, Alexander Lammers, Max Hoffman, Matthew Chen and Nathan Chapeton. Silver Medals to Daniel Tantsyura and Andrew Wu. Bronze Medal to Eva Tantsyura

Founder’s Solos – Superior Trophies to Matthew Chen, Nathan Chapeton, Monique Bellemare, Ray Haines, Wayne Huntsinger, Janice Lavoie, Annette Marinelli, Michael Parziale and Michael Silvia. Silver Medal to Daniel Tantsyura and a Bronze Medal to Eva Tantsyura

Ethnic Solos – Superior Trophies to Aidan Earney, Zoia Levit, Daniel Tantsyura and Andrew Wu. Silver Medal to Eva Tantsyura

Pop Solos – Superior Trophies to Caroline Lammers, Gabriel Abreu, Max Hoffman, Alexander Lammers and Andrew Wu

Standard Solo – Superior Trophy to Zoia Levit

Jazz Solos – Superior Trophies to Zoia Levit, Matthew Chen and Wayne Huntsinger

Adult Open Solos – Superior Trophies to Phyllis Edamatsu, Medumi Hada, Wayne Huntsinger, Janice Lavoie, Michael Parziale and Michael Silvia. Silver Medal to Monique Bellemare, and a Bronze Medal to Janet Fisher-Hughes

Adult Ethnic Solos - Superior Trophies to Janice Lavoie and Mike Silvia, Silver Medals to Medumi Hada and Wayne Huntsinger, and Bronze Medals to Janet Fisher-Hughes, Ray Haines, John Stanhope and Glen Zuroski

Adult Pop Solos – Superior Trophies to Wayne Huntsinger, Phyllis Edamatsu and Brandy DePhillip and a Silver Medal to Monique Bellemare

Duets – Superior Trophies to Nicholas Busso & Caroline Lammers, Max Hoffman & Alexander Lammers, Janice Lavoie & Annette Marinelli

Evaluation Awards were presented to Matthew Chen, Aidan Earney, Wayne Huntsinger, Judy Monro, Suzanne Shayt, John Stanhope, Caroline Lammers, Alexander Lammers, Nicholas Busso, Medumi Hada, Max Hoffman, Michael Parziale and Fernando Costa

Open Senior Ensemble – Superior Trophies to Westmont Accordion Club

Entertainment AAA – Participation awards to the Busso Festival Orchestra and the Westmont Philharmonia Accordion Orchestra

Congratulations to ALL!
A job well done!

Plan to participate and attend the 2020 AAA Festival which will be held at Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites in Alexandria, VA from July 8th to 12th, 2020. The festival will include guest artists Sam Reider, Cory Pesaturo, Joey Miskulin, a festival orchestra conducted by Mary Tokarski plus competitions, workshops and much more.

Many will also be attending to applaud the Lifetime Achievement Award honoring Linda Solely Reed for her enormous contribution to the AAA from the 1970's through until today including being AAA President for many years.

See the AAA website for more information about the 2020 AAA Festival.

Titano Accordion Company

Eddie Monteiro and Warren Vache to Perform at Shanghai Jazz in New Jersey

by Rita Barnea
Warren VacheOn October 9, 2019, accordionist Eddie Monteiro, Warren Vache on trumpet and Earl Sauls on bass will perform at Shanghai Restaurant & Jazz Club, 24 Main Street, Madison, NJ 07940-1818.

About Warren Vache: ”In Vaché, jazz has found a creator whose prodigious, hard-earned skills enable him to craft swinging performances of beauty, emotion and surprise." Warren is a tremendous trumpet and cornet player and, with his acerbic wit between songs he keeps the entertainment rolling. Joined on this evening by Earl Sauls on bass, and acclaimed jazz accordionist Eddie Monteiro!

Eddie Monteiro is an internationally recognized musician and educator with 30 years of musical performance in classical, jazz, dance, theater, cabaret and choral ensembles. He is well known for his harmonic skills and talent. He won several accordion championships as a youth and was also the youngest honoree elected to the American Accordionist’s Hall of Fame. The musician recently returned from Italy where he was performing and teaching, and earlier this week he took time to discuss his music and his involvement with the accordion.

Eddie is also the youngest honoree elected to American Accordionists’ Association Hall of Fame, November 1994. Member of Bobbi Rosengarden, Skitch Henderson, Peter Duchin, Ray Bloch, Michael Lanin and Marty Ames, orchestras from 1971 to present, performing in the New York Metropolitan area and worldwide. Featured member of the pit orchestra on stage in Broadway revival performance of "Carnival" and "Evita" and recording of radio and television jingles for Sesame Street, General Foods, Colgate Palmolive, Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, Bennigan’s Restaurants, Pontiac and more.

Lead artist of innumerable society bands performing throughout the world at social events, political gatherings and corporation conventions. Eddie recently retired as the Music Teacher, Choral Director, Vocal and Instrumental Music Director for the Ann Street Elementary School. Eddie Monteiro has performed at Jazz Festivals throughout the world.

National performances include the JVC Jazz Festival and the Toyota Jazz Festival in New York City, Salishan Jazz Festival and the Centrum Jazz Festival both in Washington. Internationally Eddie was a guest at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland, the Jakarta Jazz Festival in Indonesia, Sea Jazz Festival in Helsinki, the Norwegian National Accordion Competition, Sweden's Annual Accordion Festival in Ransatter and in January of 2000 Eddie closed the Jazz In El Tambo Festival in Punta del Esta, Uruguay performing with Paquito D'Rivera, Leny Andrade, John Patitucci and Benny Golson.

He has conducted workshops and seminars at the Manhattan School of Music, Kansas City Jazz Workshop, Artists in Jazz at Pace University, Topeka Jazz Workshop and a Harmony & Improvisation Clinic in Norway. His numerous recordings include Double Standards, The Real Thing, A Perfect Match (with Nancy Marano featuring Gerry Mulligan, Roger Kellaway and Claudio Roditi), Under Paris Skies (with Karen Akers), A Walk on the Wilde Side (with Ronny Whyte), Jazz Influence and  Arkadia Jazz All Stars: Thank You John! (a tribute to John Coltrane) and was featured on the album with the vocal group ‘String Of Pearls’. His work has also included numerous jingles for Colgate-Palmolive, Budweiser, General Motors, Folonari Wines, General Foods a soundtrack recording with Marvin Hamlisch and an appearance on film ‘Mortal Thoughts’ with Bruce Willis.

A graduate of NYU with a B.S. in Music Education, Eddie studied accordion with Charles Nunzio, (one of the founding members of the American Accordionists’ Association), piano with Madame Olga Van Till and advanced harmony studies with Marty Holmes.Eddie is a member of the AAA Governing Board and is a Certified Teacher Member of AAA as well as a member of Music Educators' National Conference, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Technology Institute for Music Educators, National Education Association, Jazz Educators Association the Sommelier Institute and is an Amateur Radio General Class Operator.

A member of pit orchestras on stage in Broadway revival performances of both "Evita" and "Carnival". He has recorded radio and television jingles for Sesame Street, General Foods, Pontiac, Colgate, Palmolive, Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, Bennigan's Restaurants and more. Lead artist of innumerable society bands performing throughout the world at social events, political gatherings and corporation conventions.

He has conducted workshops and seminars at the Manhattan School of Music, Kansas City Jazz Workshop, Artists in Jazz at Pace University, Topeka Jazz Workshop and a Harmony & Improvisation Clinic in Norway. His numerous recordings include Double Standards, The Real Thing, A Perfect Match (with Nancy Marano featuring Gerry Mulligan, Roger Kellaway and Claudio Roditi), Under Paris Skies (with Karen Akers), A Walk on the Wilde Side (with Ronny Whyte), Jazz Influence and  Arkadia Jazz All Stars: Thank You John! (a tribute to John Coltrane) and was featured on the album with the vocal group ‘String Of Pearls’.

The Shanghai Jazz is a jazz club-cum-restaurant with an Oriental influence. The focus here is mainly on three things, namely, the food, music and lovely atmosphere. It serves excellent Asian varieties, the chefs also include seasonal menu with flavors and veggies as per the season; every dish is prepared with utmost care and served in huge portions. Shanghai Jazz also has a bar that features wines, beers and cool cocktails. As far as music is concerned, the restaurant hosts live music concerts sans any extra cover charge. You can also hire this establishment for private events and celebrations; off-site catering services are also offered.

No music charge, $25 food and drink minimum, performance begins at 7:PM. Reservations strongly recommended.Phone: (973) 822-2899

For further information:

Jeff Lisenby CD A Spy In Tortuga

Victor Prieto Releases Blu-Ray Limited Edition “Live at Berklee College of Music”

by Rita Barnea
Victor Prieto
Video: Sample from the Blu-Ray: Victor Prieto performs his original, "Six Note Samba", live as part of The Checkout - Live at Berklee

Victor Prieto has just released his Blu-Ray Special Edition HD "Live at Berklee College of Music". The concert was broadcast live at WBGO Jazz, 88.3 Radio. Victor was accompanied by Carlo De Rosa, Vince Cherico and Chris Cheek.

Victor Prieto is a native of Galicia, Spain born in the town of Orense in 1975. At the age of nine Victor was encouraged by his mother to study the accordion-an instrument deeply ingrained in Galician folklore. While studying classical accordion at the Orense Conservatory Victor understood the immense musical potential of his instrument and branched out from the classical education by concurrently taking harmony, arrangement and improvisation classes at Estudio Escola de Musica (Santiago de Compostela, Spain).

In 1998 Victor received a scholarship from Berklee College of Music where he majored in performance under the direction of Joanne Brackeen. Victor Prieto holds a Degree in Jazz Accordion Performance from Berklee College of Music (Boston), where he studied with a full schoolarship and a Diploma in Classical Accordion from Ouresnse - Spain Conservatory. 

Today Victor Prieto is revolutionizing the way that the accordion is played by creating new sounds and techniques for this instrument. His music embraces Jazz, Tango, Classical and Celtic Roots enriched with new rhythms and colors. He is the creator of a new technique for the accordion which creates rich and elaborate harmonies.
For the past 20 years, Victor has been developing and improving his curriculum for teaching modern harmony and jazz for the accordion.  These classes will help you establish a strong foundation in the understanding of modern harmony or jazz harmony in the accordion.

Some of Victor’s awards and prizes are: The Creative Performer award from the Spanish Association of Artists and Performers, and the first prize CMZK’s Concourse of Composition.
As a leader Victor has performed at many prestigious venues and events such as Berklee Performance Center, Dizzy?s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Blue Note NY, New Jersey Performance Art Center, Three Rivers Musical Festival, Williamsburg Jazz Festival, Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center. Victor has performed and recorded with Yo-Yo Ma (Songs of Joy and Peace, Sony BMG Masterworks. “2010 Grammy Winning Album”), Arturo O’Farrill Latin Jazz Orchestra, Billy Hart, Jeff Ballard, Paquito D'Rivera, Matt Wilson, Donny McCaslin, Lionel Louke among others and is involved in projects such as The Maria Schneider Orchestra and Emilio Solla?s Jazz Tango conspiracy.

He teaches Master Classes in Spain, Italy, Portugal, USA. He is a recipient of numerous awards and prizes for excellence in accordion performance and composition, among them are: the Creative Performer award from the Spanish Association of Artists and Performers, and the first prize at CMZK?s Concourse of Composition (Argentina). Victor now lives in New York City dividing his time between performing, teaching and recording. He has recently introduced his third recording, “Chris Cheek and V. Prieto. Rollo-Coaster.”, Cheekus Music.

For details email:
Victor Prieto


Brooklyn Accordion Club Presents Duo Imaginique on October 2

by Rita Barnea
Duo ImaginiqueThe Brooklyn Accordion Club presents Duo Imaginique who will perform on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 from 7-9:PM at The Parlors-Threes Brewing, 113 Franklin Street, Brooklyn, NY. Suggested donation is $5,00

The program consists Ignacy Zalewski, “Mazurka”; Georg Friedric Handel, “Sonata for Violin and BC”; Graiane Finzi, “Impression Tango”; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, “Violin Sonata in G Major"; Bela Bartok, “Romanian Folk Dances; Krzysztof Penderecki, “Sonata for Violin and Piano”; Rodion Shchedrin, “Imitating Albania”.

Excerpts from their website: Iwo Jedynecki is a classical accordionist. Together with violinist Karolina Mikolajczyk, they form Duo Imagine, a unique ensemble performing classical music. Duo Imagique is an interesting young chamber ensemble. They have claimed Grand Prix and 1st prizes at international music competitions in France, Italy, Austria, Croatia and Poland. They have performed at the Warsaw Autumn festival, in the New York Carnegie Hall, as well as played recitals in France, Switzerland, Spain, Georgia, China, United States, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.

In May 2017 they performed a sold-out debut recital at the National Philharmonic in Warsaw. In July 2018 they went on a concert tour in China, performing in venues such as Guangzhou Opera House and Jinan Shandong Grand Theatre.

The Duo's performances are described as perfect and mature, yet luminous and filled with youthful vitality. Many pieces gain new interpretations and original sounds thanks to Iwo Jedynecki's accordion transcriptions. Both artists boldly venture into renowned works of chamber music literature giving them new quality and delightfully diverse colouring. Eager to perform contemporary music, the ensemble collaborates with leading Polish composers who dedicate their works to the Duo.

In 2016, Marcin Błażewicz composed a double concerto for violin, accordion and symphonic orchestra. The composer dedicated his work to Karolina Mikołąjczyk and Iwo Jedynecki, who premiered the piece. The Duo's vast repertoire spans from baroque to contemporary music.

In 2016 the debut CD "Premiére” by Duo Karolina Mikołajczyk and Iwo Jedynecki was published courtesy of Requiem Records’ "Opus Series” dedicated to contemporary music. The album contains pieces for violin and accordion written between 1952 and 2015 by three generations of composers. Most of these pieces have never been recorded before. This is a unique album with new music by a duo violin-accordion.

Both musicians are graduates of The Frederic Chopin University of Music. Karolina Mikołajczyk also studied under the guidance of prof. Zakhar Bron at Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne (Germany) courtesy of Erasmus” programme. In 2019 Iwo Jedynecki completed a prestigious "Konzertexamen” postgraduate course at Hochschule für Musik Detmold (Germany) in prof. Grzegorz Stopa’s accordion class.

Sam Reider and the Human Hands at Ouibache Music Festival

by Rita Barnea
Sam Reider and the Human Hands
Sam ReiderThe Ouibache Music Festival was held at the Tippecanoe County Ampitheatre in West Lafayette, Indiana, USA on September 27th and 28th. This roots festival attracted musicians from all over the world who gathered to play tunes, share stories, and commune with one another. The laid back attitude of the festival allows musicians of all types and skill levels to take time away from the daily routine of life and just enjoy the sweetness of playing a guitar or singing a song.

Popular group “Sam Reider and the Human Hands” (picture below) gave a free workshop on “Working Together as a Band” where they discussed how they navigate the rigors of the road, creating music and understanding the human element of working together. The group, which includes accordionist, composer, pianist and vocalist Sam Reider, Alex Hargreaves (violin), Eddie Barbash (saxophone), Grant Gordy (guitar), Dominick Leslie (mandolin), Roy Williams (guitar) and Dave Speranza (bass) also entertained on the main stage.

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

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

Representing the U.S. Department of State as a musical ambassador, Sam has travelled to China, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Estonia, Turkey and Azerbaijan, carrying his accordion on his back everywhere he goes and collaborating at with international artists. Sounds and stories from these travels frequently serve as the inspiration for Reider’s compositions, which together form an ongoing musical travelogue. As a side-man, collaborator and recording artist, Reider has worked with artists including Sierra Hull, Jorge Glem, Phoebe Hunt, Courtney Hartman, Jon Batiste and Stay Human, T-Pain, David Amram, Nellie McKay Ranger Doug, the Brother Brothers and more. A passionate educator, Reider leads ongoing performances for public school students throughout the New York City area in partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center. He has designed curricula and taught courses at the Stanford Jazz Festival, San Francisco Jazz, and other private institutions around the country.

The festival featured 2 x stages of continuous music with local, regional, national and international acts, from 12 midday till late, the Americana Classic & Custom Car Show, workshops, demonstrations, dancing and jam sessions.

For details email:

The International Trio, CD Available online, secure server

"Papa Joe" De Clemente Brings Accordions to the Philippines

by Rita Barnea
Papa Joe De ClementePapa Joe“Papa Joe” De Clemente, who lives in Queens, New York, was brought up in an Italian family environment and started playing the accordion at the young age of nine years old in 1956.  He was interested in playing because he used to visit his relatives, the Iorio's, who manufactured accordions in NYC, as far back as 1907. Joe has performed in numerous venues and loves to entertain people. He is also a member of the Long Island Accordion Alliance.  

Joe DeClemente volunteers once a week early in the morning to assist the music teacher, Linda Holcomb, at an elementary school music program at Public-school 203Q, in Bayside, Queens which may be one of the only elementary schools in the five boroughs of New York City that has a student accordion band.

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. 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!

Joe shares his love for the accordion, “To me, music has been a language that crosses all barriers, speaking to all people and bringing joy to those who listen. The box has been my pal for over 60 years and I am glad the Lord gave me this special gift” Joe has been married to his wife, Janet, for 50 years and is the father of 4 kids and has 11 grandchildren. Over the years, he has shared his love of the accordion with many people all over the world who developed a love and appreciation of the instrument because of his enthusiasm.

Papa Joe shares his experiences in his most recent trip to the Philippines: “During the later part of 2018, my granddaughter Emily expressed her desire to go to Ireland for her upcoming 16th birthday in 2019. She wanted to include my daughter Susan and my wife Janet, leaving me alone at home for about a week. That situation stirred up the idea of visiting my old buddy Jack in the Philippines who was the pastor of the Payatas Baptist Church which is located northeast of Manila. So I purchase airfare tickets to the Philippines.   
Pastor Jack Wilson has a fantastic music ministry to the children in the Philippines, which includes; violins, piano, guitars and flutes, however no one there plays the accordion. So my original thought was to bring my accordion on the trip so I could use it to minister to the kids. After further consideration I thought it might be better to see if I could get a couple of accordions and some music books to donate to their church. 
During the next few months I was able to acquire a few accordions but none suitable for the kids.  Then I got a call from another buddy who worked for the Salvation Army who told me he had a broken medium size Casino accordion. I got hold of that box and had to do major surgery on the bass machine to fix it. After further discussion, the Salvation Army agreed to donate that box for my trip which was perfect for the older kids. 

During January 2019, I reworked several other accordions, sold them and bought a beautiful small red Weltmeister Stella accordion which was perfect for the smaller kids. On April 23rd, I got a call that one of my former students wanted to donate his old accordion to someone, so I told him about my planned trip. It now looks like I will be taking 3 accordions to the Philippines.

On July 11th, I wrapped up the accordions in bubble wrap and realized that I didn’t have enough room for my clothes which meant I would have to check a 3rd piece of luggage.
On July 25th, at 1:45 am, I took the 16 hour flight to Manila to see Pastor Jack.  I arrived in the Philippines at 6:30am, Friday, July 26th, and was picked up by Pastor Ben. He drove me to meet Pastor Jack Wilson and his family. On Saturday, I had the opportunity to meet the adults and kids from his church. I fell in love with them immediately.

Joe shares that the church is now using the accordion to accompany their services!

All three accordions that I brought with me make it in perfect condition. I also met Assistant Pastor Ben Quezada who instantly wanted to learn how to play. So we gave him the challenge that if he learned a song in 1 week we would give home 40 Pesos (about $.90). He has been practicing ever since and earned the 40 Pesos.  Since then several kids have started to learn how to play the accordion and have played at their Sunday morning worship service.  I keep in touch with them and am available, via Skype, if any help is needed.” 

Papa Joe is an inspiration and example to all of us on how to share our love of the accordion and music, with the world.

Photo: Paster Jack and family
Photo: Papa Joe De Clemente

For further information:
Pastor Jack and family

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

A World of Accordions included in game, “Superior-Opoly!”

by Rita Barnea
AWAMA World of Accordions Museum is included in the game, “Superior-Opoly!” as a landmark location!

A World of Accordions Museum seeks to serve the general public by providing insight into the musical artistry, physical beauty, complexity, and cultural significance of accordion-family-instruments and artifacts as displayed in a noble setting. Its mission statement embraces the following goals:  
* preservation and restoration of instruments in the collection
* scholarly research in accordion history, organology, and classification
* presentation of world cultures through artifacts, figurines, and art works associated with accordions
* concerts that bring the instruments to life
* library housing of sound/video recordings, published and manuscript music, books, literature, artists estates and pertinent documents
* research into technology, acoustics, and physical sciences. The Museum provides a complete perspective that is accurate in scholarship, understandable in presentation, interesting and relevant to modern life. Its members receive periodic Newsletters. In 2005, the museum won

Scheduled opening hours are:

Saturday 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Sunday 10:00 to 6:00 PM

Monday 10:00 to 6:00 PM 
Self-conducted tour: $10.00 per person
By appointment only: Curator-narrated tour (30-min):  $20.00 per person
Museum Instruments demo tour (30-min):  $20.00 per person

Contact curator: Helmi Harrington, Ph.D.,
(phone) 218-393-0245
Discounts available for groups of 10 or more

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

MAS President Joe Recchia and Singer Aaron Caruso on Fox TV Live!

by Rita Barnea
Joe Recchia and friends
Playing the accordion is great fun!! Especially when cooking! Watch Joe Recchia, Aaron Caruso and friends as they accompany Chef Nahra creating a delicious Italian dish! The song is awesome and the food is amazing! MAS President Joe Recchia invites all to see a video of their live performance on the Fox 2 (TV2) morning show on Sunday, September 29, 2019.

Singer Aaron Caruso said, “Thanks Chef Bobby Robert A Nahra Joseph Recchia Francesco Cavallini and Dominic Lombardi for a great time this morning. So glad you like the song!” Chef Robert A Nahra said, “You guys are outstanding 🎸🎶⭐🔥. Thank you for helping us making some amazing TV together!”

How this all came to be:……………

Famous Detroit Tenor and Italian celebrity Aaron Caruso received a call from Chef Bobby asking him to come down to sing at an Italian food segment on Fox TV2 news during a early morning show in Eastern Market in Downtown Detroit on Sunday September 29, 2019.  Aaron then contacted three musicians all members of the Michigan Accordion Society and asked us if we could meet him early on Sunday morning prior to the Live TV Interview.  Aaron advised that he wrote a song for Chef Bobby and would like to work on it with the musicians and perform the Pasta Song Tune during the Live TV segment.    

The musicians agreed to meet the morning of the Live TV recording at 7:00 AM in the Eastern Market parking lot and worked on the Pasta Tune for the show.  Aaron had a basic idea for the melody and he and the musicians worked and collaborated together right before the Live TV performance to finish the tune.

Joe Recchia, president of the Michigan Accordion Society said "We basically had less than 1 hour to put the song together before we were called onto the set.  It was great working with very talented musicians and it was amazing how quickly we worked together to pull off the Pasta Song”  

After the Live TV performance Chef Bobby loved the song so much he asked Aaron for a professional recording,  The Musicians later met at Joe Recchia’s home studio the same day and began working on a updated version of the Pasta Song to record and present it to Chef Bobby.  "We are hoping that the tune is used on his Cooking segment for future Fox TV2 shows", said Recchia  

Left to right are the following: Fox TV2 Detroit Newscasters Ryan Ermani & Alan Longstreet, Fox TV2 Award Winning Chef Bobby Nahra, Owner of Nino Silvaggio Produce Leo Silvaggio, Tenor singer Aaron Caruso, Mandolin Francesco Cavallini, Saxophone Dominic Lombardo & Accordion Joe Recchia.

For further information:

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

Accordionist Joe Heger Receives New Horizon Award From USPA

by Rita Barnea
Joseph HegerAt the 51st annual convention of the United States Polka Association in in Cleveland, Ohio in May 2019, MAC member Joseph Heger was presented with the New Horizon Award . The award recognizes a young musician (under 21) who has demonstrated great interest and accomplishment in performing polka music. Joe is a 2018 graduate of West Bend East High School and plays trumpet, concertina, accordion and electric bass.

USPA, based in Cleveland, OH, is a national organization dedicated to the promotion of polka music and traditions, with an emphasis on the Polish genre.

The USPA award was presented to Heger by Allen Bales, the leader of the Julida Boys Band which has played polka music in the Washington County area and beyond for the past 40 plus years. Bales was Heger’s first trumpet teacher and ultimately became a great mentor and friend after he discovered young Joe playing along and twirling his plastic toy trumpet to the music of Hank Guzevich and his Polka Family Band at the West Bend Germanfest about 13 years ago. Heger also performs professionally with his own Polka Fusion Band and with the Chad Przybylski Band from Pulaski, WI.

Excerpts from the West Bend Current by Jessica Steiger: Joe can can play the piano, trumpet, accordion,bass guitar, drums, and, most recently, the concertina. All of this started when Heger became infatuated by none other than polka music.“I liked the way it sounded,” Heger said. “The beat and the tempo, it just kind of hit home for me when I was little. And I saw a band on TV, and I didn’t know who they were at the time, but they became my favorite band.”

Little did six-year-old Heger know that he would one day be playing with that very band, the Polka Family Band. Chad Przybylski, a member of the band, has gotten to know Heger and his talents.“He’s very talented, just a natural,” Przybylski said. “He can pick up anything and play it without the sheet music.” Heger has performed with other bands as well, such as the Julida Boys, Box On and the West Bend High Schools Band.

Band director Leah Duckert-Kroll noticed Heger’s talent in class. “For a student musician in high school, Joe is far ahead of his time,” Duckert-Kroll said. “He has the chops of a seasoned musician, and has an ear for improvisation that is better than some older musicians. I don’t say this about students often, but I think if he stays focused, Joe will become one of the household names of the polka world.”

To add to his resume, Heger also created his own band called Polka Fusion. While the band has several other members on bass guitar, fiddle, keyboard, concertina and drums, Heger also performs solo gigs and creates solo tracks. “I record all the tracks myself,” Heger said. “So I can create an entire band just out of myself by recording each track by itself. So I play the first trumpet then the second trumpet then I do concertina then I do accordion then I do drums and then I do bass guitar. Then I do the vocals first second and third.”

Heger has been mostly self-taught throughout his music career. He begins to learn an instrument by simply picking it up and “fooling around a bit.” He has written some of his own songs, although he relies little on sheet music.

“I read some sheet music but I mainly play by ear,” Heger said. “I hear a song and I can jump right in and start playing it.” Certainly, we will hear more about the very talented Joseph Heger in the future.

For further information:

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

Egle Ona Bartkeviciute Performs in Classical Accordion and Strings on Oct. 27

by Rita Barnea
Dr. Paul Merenbloom presents "Classical Accordion and Strings" -- Classical Accordion and Strings, Sunday, October 27, 2019 at 2:00 PM, Hilton Seelbach Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky. Featuring Anastasia Lee, vocal (left); Egle Ona Bartkeviciute, classical accordion; Beo String Quartet, with Sean Neukom, viola, Jason Neukom, violin; Ryan Ash, cello; Aviva Hakanoglu, violin.

Vocalist, Anastasia Lee, from Green Bay, Wisconsin is a college senior, sings contralto, and considers herself a classical cross-over artist.  Her trio, Tre Principesse, has an award winning album, “Getting to Know You.”  Josh Groban called her on stage to sing with him in Green Bay in 2011, when she was 14 years old. 

The music venue at the Hilton Seelbach hotel is directly across the street from Louisville's entertainment and retail complex, Fourth Street LIVE. Come to the Grand Ballroom at the Seelbach Hilton Hotel in downtown Louisville, on Sunday, October 27, 2019, for the 2:00 PM concert.

"Classical Accordion and Strings" is open to the public. $32 for adults; $26 for students. Children under 12 will be admitted free of charge and will be given front row seats with their families.

A limited number of hotel rooms at a reduced rate is being held under the group name, "Classical Accordion and Strings." The hotel phone number is 502-585-3200. Valet and public parking are available. Cash bar. Business casual attire.

For further information:
Cell: 502-759-0248

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

Hank Thunander Concert at AWAM

by Rob Howard
AWAM Poster
HankA World of Accordions Museum (AWAM) will host a concert by popular accordionist Hank Thunander (picture left) on October 27, 2019 at 2:PM.

Hank Thunander is a favorite entertainer throughout the region and beyond and his personable nature radiates through his music.

While known for his spontaneous interpretations in any “key,” and for his stylistic accuracy in performing 18 types of polkas, Hank can also incorporate other dimensions in his programs. For example, he plans to explain the music demonstrated as a learning experience to benefit accordionists and musicians at this concert.

The concert is sponsored by Barbara and Dennis Vargason of Superior as a special fund-raiser for the museum. Their son Paul Vargason will play a set or two with Hank. Paul studied with Helmi Harrington for decades.

For further concert details email:

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Jay Landers Provides Italian Music for an Evening on Hungry Hill

by Rita Barnea
Jay LandersJay Landers has been an accordionist his entire life. He entertains frequently in the Illinois area. Jay shares the following about his life in music:

"Jay Landers and his family are native Kentuckians who have lived in Springfield, IL, for over 22 years. He’s played the piano accordion since the second grade in 1958…and never “put it down” for any length of time in over 61 years! His musical journey began in his hometown, Louisville, with lessons and opportunities to play in public. His performances have included: live TV and radio; countless “gigs” of all kinds in small ensembles and as a soloist; pit orchestra’s for musical theatre productions that have included “Cabaret”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, and most recently “Evita” to name a few; onstage on several occasions with a concert band, chamber orchestra winds, and a full orchestra; and special programs such as theatre organ concerts, church services and community concert series.

Beginning in 2018 Jay has provided banquet music comprised entirely of Italian music (traditional folk and the Italian-American Songbook) for the “Italian Caucus” of the Illinois State Legislature. Toward the end of the legislative session, scores of legislators with Italian-American lineage gather for a celebratory banquet. Jay was a last-minute fill-in in 2018. In 2019 he’s become their first-call accordionist.

This has also led to a special night of music that he provided on September 19, 2019, in Chicago Heights, IL, in an area called “Hungry Hill” where immigrants, especially Italian, have settled for generations. The Amaseno (“a-mah-ZAY-no”) Lodge stretches back over 100 years in the heart of Chicago Heights. It is named for an ancient village in Italy. Many of its members and scores of other supporters and sponsors were there to support the campaign for IL State Representative Anthony DeLuca, who has represented the 80th District since 2009. Prior to that he was the Mayor of Chicago Heights from 2003-2009. Rep DeLuca also organizes the annual Italian Caucus banquets.

Jay performed over 2 hours of non-stop music, and highlights of that included:
Tony Dannon’s arr. “Oh Marie” in a medley with Tony Lovello’s arr. “Because of You”, Gary Dahl’s arr. “Come Back to Sorrento” and then his “Vicino La Mare” paired with Frank Marocco’s arr. “Fascination”. Other Gary Dahl arrangements included: “Amour”, ”Amapola”, “Besame Mucho”, ”Maria Elena”, “Tango Della Rosa” and “Solamente Una Vez” (You Belong to My Heart). There were Frank Marocco’s arrangements of “Parlame D’Amore Mariu (Speak to Me of Love), “Domino”, “More”, “Begin the Beguine”, “Poinciana” and “Sway” in a medley, “Jalousie”, an Italian Medley of “Anema E Core”-“O Sole Mio” and “Arrivederci Roma” and his original “Samba Italiano”. Another medley consisted of Stas Venglevski’s arr. “La Violetera” coupled with an uncredited arr. of “Por Una Cabeza”.

It’s easy to play off of piano-vocal arrangements and some of these were “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” (Io Che Non Vico Senza Te), “Al Di La”, “Summertime in Venice” (Tempo d’Estate a Venezia), “Rags to Riches”, “Cara Mia” (in waltz and 4/4), “Be My Love”, a medley of “Mona Lisa” and “Innamorata” and “Mala Femmena” (Angel with a Devil’s Heart). Arrangements by Helene Criscio included these folk and traditional titles: “Wedding Tarantella”, “Funiculi-Funicula”, “Come to the Sea” (Vieni Sul Mar), “Core’ n Grato”, and “Non Sei Tu”."

For further information:

Sounding Out the Accordion by Thierry Benetoux

Future events

Hanzhi Wang on USA Tour

by Rita Barnea
Hanzhi Wang Tour
Video 1: First Prize Winners Concert 2017 Young Concert Artists International Auditions
November 13, 2017, Hanzhi Wang, accordionist performing Moritz Moszkovski: “Etincelles”

Hanzhi Wang is very busy on her USA tour this season. Excerpts from her website: Praised for her captivating stage presence and performances that are technically and musically masterful, the groundbreaking young musician Hanzhi Wang is the first accordionist to win a place on the roster of Young Concert Artists in its 58-year history, and her hour-long interview and performance on the 2,145th episode of New York WQXR’s Young Artists Showcase marked the first appearance of a solo accordionist on the program.
In 2018, Musical America named Hanzhi Wang “New Artist of the Month,” and Naxos released its first-ever solo accordion CD, Ms. Wang’s “On the Path to H.C. Andersen.” It features music by Danish composers including “The Little Match Girl,” written for her by Martin Lohse, and was nominated for the prestigious DR (Danish Radio) P2 Prize 2019. In addition to Mr. Lohse, Ms. Wang’s artistry has also been recognized by other contemporary composers, with works dedicated to her by James Black and Sophia Gubaidulina, with whom she has worked extensively.
First Prize Winner of the 2017 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Ms. Wang’s debut opened the Young Concert Artists Series in New York in The Peter Marino Concert at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, and her Washington, DC debut opened the 40th Anniversary Young Concert Artists Series at the Kennedy Center, co-presented with Washington Performing Arts.
Ms. Wang was awarded YCA performance prizes with the Candlelight Concert Society in Columbia, MD; the Sinfonia Gulf Coast in Destin, FL; the Tri-I Noon Recitals at Rockefeller University in New York City; the Vancouver Recital Society; Tannery Pond Concerts (NY), the Usedom (Germany) Festival; the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle (NC); the University of Florida Performing Arts Prize; and at the Krannert Center at the University of Illinois in Urbana. Additional engagements include appearances for IRIS Orchestra in Tennessee, Bravo! Vail Music Festival, and YCA alumnus Alexander Fiterstein’s Clarinet Academy in Minneapolis.
Ms. Wang won First Prize in the 40th Castelfidardo International Accordion Competition in Italy, has served on the jury for the Accordion Competition of Rome and Portugal’s International Accordion Festival, and inspired the next generation of accordionists with lectures, performances and master classes at the Manhattan School of Music, Royal Danish Academy of Music, Tianjin Music Conservatory, Beijing’s Capital Normal University, Tilburg and Ghent Music Conservatories (Belgium), and the inaugural 2018 Nordaccordion Festival in Norway.
A Young Concert Artists Fellowship for Hanzhi Wang for the 2018-19 Season has been sponsored by Alan & Judy Kosloff and Mike Lubin & Anne-Marie McDermott. In addition, she holds YCA’s Ruth Laredo Prize and the Mortimer Levitt Career Development Award for Women Artists of YCA.
Ms. Wang earned her Bachelor’s degree at the China Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and her Master’s degree at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen as a student of Geir Draugsvoll.

Hudson Valley Accordion Ensemble in New York Performances

by Rita Barnea
Hudson Valley Accordion Ensemble
Accordionist Mario Tacca and Mary Mancini (vocals) will perform with the Hudson Valley Accordion Ensemble at the Taormina Restaurant in Peekskill, New York on October 3, 2019 at 6.30 PM. The popular ensemble play a variety of music with the aim of making great music together and bringing the melodic and unique sounds of the accordion to people of all ages!

New dates for the Hudson Valley Accordion Ensemble!  
* Thurs., Oct 3 at 6:30pm
* Thurs., Nov 7 at 6:30pm
* Thurs., Dec. 5 at 6:30pm
All HVAE performances will be at Taormina Restaurant, Peekskill, NY. 
For reservations, call 914-739-4007

Mario said, “ I founded this group because I would like to give aspiring accordionists, both amateur and more advanced, an opportunity to perform in an ensemble setting.”

The Ensemble consists of immediate to advanced players ranging from two to 10 years experience. Performing a variety of music, Director Mario Tacca writes all the arrangements for the group and this enables him to tailor the parts according to the needs of the members of the group who perform on both digital and acoustic instruments. Artistic Director, acclaimed International Vocalist Mary Mancini also sings with the group. Singing in eight languages, Mary adds tremendous scope to the available repertoire.

In an interview in WAG Magazine conducted by Jena Butterfield, Mary and Mario provided insight into the background of the Hudson Valley Ensemble. “We’re keeping true to our total commitment to live music,” Mancini says. “And with accordion, there’s just no end to what you can do. I hear different styles of music coming from every student. Mario emphasizes each student individually, ex- posing them to all styles.” And the styles are vast. There is always something new to learn, even among professionals.”

Mario Tacca, on the Board of Directors of the AAA, was born in Italy. During his childhood, his family moved to the Alsace Lorraine region of France where he began his musical studies. This is where his love and intense desire to play the accordion began. He loved the sound! He would pick up the accordion and imitate some of the songs his mother used to sing. The desire and love never diminished, despite having to walk three miles weekly to his teacher with his instrument strapped to his back!

While in France, he was the winner of many regional and national accordion competitions. He went on to become a world champion, winning the World Cup of Italy, the Grand Prix of Paris, the US National Competition and the International Accordion competition held at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Mario Tacca dazzles audiences across the US and around the world with his outstanding virtuosity and his exciting interpretations of international music, the classics and pop.

Mario has recently been seen on MTV in a commercial for a pilot Italian Food program. Also, he was seen on the Food Network in a commercial for “Throwdown with Bobby Flay.” His latest recording, “Journey Through the Classics” features great melodies from the Classic Repertoire.

Internationally acclaimed vocal artist Mary Mancini has been featured in the New York Times, the Forth Worth Star-Telegram, and the Journal News and has performed in a variety of venues around the world. Able to sing in eight different languages, Mary draws from a deep repertory reservoir. She is adept at pop, show tunes, operatic arias, and sacred music and has received worldwide acclaim. Le Republicain Lorrain, in Alsace-Lorraine, France, writes that the “purity of her voice, the ease with which she interpreted the most difficult pieces showed that she is a great artist.” The Spring City Evening News in Kunming, China, writes that “audiences were greatly impressed by Mary Mancini’s singing ability…Through her music, we see her heart is smiling.”

Mary has headlined numerous concert halls and festivals in North America, Europe, and China. She has performed at the Garden State Arts Center, Resorts International Casino Hotel, Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, and Mohegan Sun Resort Casino in CT. As a dynamic and popular performing duo, they have completed two concert tours of China. As guests of the China Ministry of Culture, they toured five cities in three weeks and performed with three symphony orchestras. Joining them on their tour was highly acclaimed Chinese tenor, Douglas Song. In addition to performing with the Symphony Orchestras, some of the most memorable moments included a performance held at the 1600 seat True Color Jazz Supper Club in the booming city of Shenzhen and in the 3500 seat Golden Opera House.

Remember you can always check out their performance schedule on: 

For reservations phone: 914-739-4007

Shapes & Icons: Finnish Music for the Accordion with Matti Pulkki

by Rita Barnea
Matti PulkkiVideo: José María Sánchez-Verdú: “Microludios (1995-1996”)
Annemarie Åström, violin
Matti Pulkki, accordion
Jonne Grans, guitar
Recorded @ Helsinki Music Center, Camerata Hall, January 2018

Combining iconic late 20th-century soundscapes with brand-new ones, Matti Pulkki presents a concert of Finnish music for solo accordion by Einojuhani Rautavaara, Cecilia Damström and Magnus Lindberg with a premiere performance of a piece by Reiko Füting. Compositions include an adaptation of Rautavaara’s “Icons,” written in 1955 and based on his experiences in New York; an exciting, recent work by Cecilia Damström; and the widely celebrated, classical accordion piece “Jeux D’Anches” by Magnus Lindberg.

The concert takes place on Nov.12, 2019 at 7:30 PM, Scandinavia House, 58 Park Avenue, New York.The concert is made possible by generous support from the Finlandia Foundation National. New work by Reiko Füting is commissioned by Ralph Crispino.

Matti Pulkki (b. 1991) is a Finnish accordionist performing as a soloist and with different chamber groups around the world. Recently he has focused on collaborating with composers on renewing the soundscape of the instrument through experimentation. Pulkki primarily concentrates on original music written for accordion, and also arranges, transcribes, and performs music from a wide range of styles. Pulkki is currently pursuing his doctorate at the University of Toronto, studying with professor Joseph Macerollo, and completed his Master’s degree at the Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki as a student of professor Matti Rantanen in 2017.

Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America is the leading center for Nordic culture in the United States. It offers a wide range of programs that illuminate the culture and vitality of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Scandinavia House offerings include diverse exhibitions and film series, as well as concerts and other performances, readings, lectures, symposia, language courses, and children’s activities.

Established in 1911 by Danish-American industrialist Niels Poulson and a group of other forward-thinking leaders from business and education, the American-Scandinavian Foundation (ASF) was the first international non-governmental society to have as its sole purpose the development of goodwill through educational and cultural exchange. It was designed to meet the needs of its time through fellowships, scholarly exchange, exhibitions, and publications.

These programs have grown over the years, and along with the cultural programs at Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America, have provided a comprehensive platform for ongoing international exchange between the United States and the Nordic countries.

Ticket Information:
All sales are final. Tickets are non-refundable.
Once you purchase your ticket(s), you will receive an order confirmation email from Eventbrite on behalf of Scandinavia House. Your e-tickets will be attached to your order confirmation email. Make sure to print them out and bring them to the event. Or go green and download the Eventbrite app on your smart phone! If you do not see your confirmation in your inbox, make sure to check your junk/spam folder.

Photo by Alejandro Lorenzo

Voci Armoniche

Stas Venglevski Performs with the Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra on Dec. 14

by Rita Barnea
Stas VenglevskiThe Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra (MFSO) Winter Pops Concert will feature Stas Venglevski on December 14, 2019. The concert is titled “Christmas Fairy Tales and Fantasies."

Christmas is the season of many fairy tales and fantasies! Come and hear some fantastic
music including the "March of the Tin Soldiers", "The Snow Maiden", and "Babes in Toyland".

Special guest artist internationally acclaimed button accordionist, Stas Venglevski, will perform a concerto by Galla-Rini, along with music from "The Nutcracker" and other holiday favorites!

Excerpts from his website: His artistry, dazzling technical command, and sensitivity have brought Stanislav, "Stas," Venglevski, a native of the Republic of Moldova, part of the former Soviet Union, increasing acclaim as a virtuoso of the Bayan. A two-time first prize winner of Bayan competition in the Republic of Moldova, Stas is a graduate of the Russian Academy of Music in Moscow where he received his Masters Degree in Music under the tutelage of the famed Russian Bayanist, Friedrich Lips. In 1992 he immigrated to the United States.

Stas is an Accordionist, a Musician, an Arranger, an Entertainer and a Teacher. Stas' repertoire includes his original compositions, a broad range of classical, contemporary and ethnic music. He has toured extensively as a soloist throughout the former Soviet Union, Canada, Europe, and the United States, including numerous performances with Doc Severinsen, Steve Allen and with Garrison Keillor on the Prairie Home Companion Show.

Additionally, he has performed with symphony orchestras throughout the United States. He performed the world premiere of "Concerto No. 2" by Anthony Galla-Rini and also the world premiere of "Bayan and Beyond", composed for Stas by Dan Lawitts. He is also former president of the ATG. Stas has many wonderful CD’s and musical compositions including solos, duets, and ensembles available for purchase. A great holiday gift for accordion aficionados.

For further information on Stas Venglevski:

Stas will also be performing with the Nuremberg Symphony on April 25, 2020.
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