Curtain Call for "Accordion Diva" Maddalena Belfiore-Greco
from around the world are saddened to learn of the passing of Maddalena
will be held at the:
Armitage Funeral Home
596 Belgrove Drive, Kearny, NJ 07032.
Monday 21 May, 6-9 PM
Tuesday, 22 May, 4-9 PM
The funeral will be held on Wednesday at 10:30 AM at: St. Stephen's Church,
676 Kearny Avenue, Kearny, NJ 07032.
Messages of condolence, may be sent to:
58 W. Bennett Ave.
Kearny NJ 07032, USA
The family requests memorial donations
to be sent to the Maddalena Belfiore-Greco Fund at the American Accordionists'
152 Home Fair Drive
Fairfield, CT 06825
CURTAIN CALL FOR "ACCORDION DIVA," MADDALENA BELFIORE-GRECO
by Faithe Deffner, LONGTIME FRIEND AND FELLOW AAA BOARD
On May 18, 2007, Maddalena Belfiore-Greco
lost her battle with cancer when she succumbed to the illness, which claimed
her life. She drifted off peacefully at home, with her family. Born in
Kearny, New Jersey, Maddalena began accordion studies as a five-year-old,
and went on to become the "Accordion Diva" of the twentieth
century in a whirlwind career, which spanned decades and encompassed numerous
aspects of the instrument's evolution.
The list of accordion teachers with
whom Belfiore studied reads like a Who's Who of the accordion world: Sanford
Hertz, Charles Nunzio, Eugene Ettore, Joe Biviano, Andy Arcari and the
stellar Pietro Frosini whose protégé she became. While taking
lessons with Frosini, Maddalena also studied at Juilliard in New York
City, immersing herself in music theory, ear training, piano and conducting
courses, while finishing high school so she could become a full time student
at Juilliard. At 17, she had her Carnegie Hall recital.
Maddalena's friendship with Theresa
Costello of O. Pagani & Bro., led to the venerated publishing firm
commission for her to compose three "Bellows Shake" books, describing
the specialized technique, which became synonymous with Belfiore's name.
She also composed Valse Diane (written for her niece), Pan Polka (in tribute
to the Pancordion which she played for more than 50 years) and Cavalier
Waltz (Waltz Brilliante). She arranged Shake a Leg Polka, a Frosini composition.
Most of this music is still available through Ernest Deffner Publications.
Maddalena concertised everywhere and
met all the great accordionists of the period. Eventually, she met TV
accordionist Myron Floren who was also a Pancordion artist. Together with
Myron, she co-authored and edited the Myron Floren Method, "Let's
Play Duets" and the Showstopper Series, all of which were published
by Remick Music during the 1960s.
In 1958, she established her own accordion
school in her hometown of Kearny and dedicated herself to teaching hundreds
of youngsters to play the instrument she loved. This was the hey day of
accordion popularity in the US and her students participated in American
Accordionists' Association competitions throughout the ensuing years,
winning significant numbers of prizes and distinctions. Eventually, Belfiore
became an adjunct professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.
In the midst of her whirlwind life
in the music world, Maddalena met and married Mauro Greco, a real estate
developer. Mauro accompanied Maddalena to accordion events all over the
world and was a dedicated exponent of his wife's career in music. The
couple had two sons, Nat and Frank.
Most of her teachers were past presidents
of the American Accordionists' Association and it was inevitable that
Maddalena would be drawn into this esteemed organization, which was making
great strides in popularizing the instrument and advancing its curriculum.
She was elected to the AAA Board of
Governors in 1955 and to the office of secretary a decade later. In 1971,
she became the organization's first female president, breaking through
the glass ceiling, which dictated that top posts were reserved for men.
Her accomplishment facilitated other women to follow and in subsequent
years, Elsie Bennett (1973), Addie Cere (1982), Faithe Deffner (1985)
and Linda Reed (2005) became presidents.
Maddalena herself held the AAA presidency
three different times and was contest chair on several occasions. Among
her memorable feats, in 1980, she was hoisted up in a cherry picker to
conduct a 1000-accordion massed group playing the Tennessee Waltz at an
AAA competition in Nashville, resulting in tremendous publicity for the
In 1985, Belfiore was appointed Executive
Secretary of the AAA and she held that post until very recently when illness
caused her to relinquish it.
The American Accordionists' Association's
national membership in the Confederation Internationale des Accordeonistes
(CIA) became the platform for Maddalena to participate in this international
organization which conducts the most prestigious annual accordion competition
of world-wide scope. In 1974 she was elected vice president of CIA and
held that office for 16 years, attending many international events and
serving as one of the AAA delegates to the congresses.
She received the CIA Merit Award in
1995 for "outstanding contributions to the international accordion
movement" in Avesta, Sweden, for her contribution of numerous documents
to the Confederation's archives. In 2007, the Confederation awarded her
its second Honorary Membership.
Belfiore was one of those who were
instrumental in bringing the 2007 Coupe Mondiale to the US to be held
in Alexandria, Virginia from August 13-19, 2007, in celebration of the
60th anniversary. At the same time as the Coupe takes place, the Maddalena
Belfiore Entertainment Competition for Female Accordionists is being held
on August 15, 2007. The event, sponsored by accordion dignitary Sylvia
Prior of California, offers a $5,000 first place prize.
Few people can claim the many honors
and achievements that were ordinary events in the life of Maddalena Belfiore-Greco.
She leaves a great legacy within the accordion community. She received
the International Golden Lady Award (1976); Massachusetts (1977) and Rhode
Island (1978) presented her with Outstanding Achievement awards; Nashville,
Tennessee honored her with the Golden Record Award for AAA's massed accordionist
performance (1980); she was named "Woman of the Year" for New
Jersey (1980); and was selected for the panel for US Life and the Family
in Washington, DC (1980).
Maddalena was founder and director
of the Arcari Foundation, a past president and director of the Accordion
Teachers Association of New Jersey, AAA delegate to the National Music
Council and a member of the All-Arts Society of New York.
On AAA's recent CD, titled "Extraordinary
Performances by Extraordinary Performers," Belfiore plays La Muchacha
de Fuego, Valse Diane, Rita Polka and Shake a Leg Polka.
She is survived by her husband, Mauro
Greco, her sons, Nat and Frank and their respective wives, Joanne and
Maryann, three grandchildren: Christopher, Adrianna and Alex, her sister
Gina Belfiore and niece Diane Venezia.
Celebrity interview with Maddalena Belfiore was conducted at her home
in Kearny, New Jersey on March 26, 2006. It was saved to be published
to cooincide with two impressive honors to be bestowed upon her at the
forth coming CIA Coupe Mondiale in Alexandria, VA.
Now, after her sad passing, we publish this interview in great respect
of her legacy in the accordion world.
Gibson Peforms with Kansas City Civic Symphony
Kansas City based musician Brett Gibson received a rousing standing ovation
and encore performance for his rendition of Piazzolla's Concerto when
he made his debut with the Kansas City Civic Symphony Orchestra under
the direction of Andy Anderson.
was born in Auckland, New Zealand but now makes his home in the Kansas
City area of the United States where he has established himself as one
of the leading accordion specialists in the Celtic music scene having
performed several seasons with The Elders, Gabriels Gate and is a regular
musician with Eddie Delahunt.
Brett began playing the accordion at age seven and at the age of 12 won
his first New Zealand championship for that age category and continued
to seriously perform and compete into his late teens as a soloist and
with duet, trio, quartet, ensemble and orchestra. He
went on to tour overseas with both the Air New Zealand Accordion Orchestra
and also the UMKC Accordion Orchestra.
The Kansas City Civic Orchestra focuses on community enrichment and interaction,
drawing players from all walks of life and bringing music to people of
all ages and interests, the Kansas City Civic Symphony's concert on Saturday
was the last in the 48th season.
Hayes Video Clip Features in VOIP Ad
phone company 2cme featured a video clip of 4 year old Hunter Hayes from
Breaux Bridge performing Jambalaya on his diatonic accordion, backed by
Hank Williams Junior and his band.
The footage for this advertisement was filmed in 1997 and now Hunter is
now 15 years old, but has continued his performing career to this day.
In the case of Hunter Hayes, the saying "He was born to play music"
is not a cliche. This fifteen-year-old Cajun prodigy strolls on stage
with a huge grin and the confidence of a pro who's been performing, quite
literally, all his life, and starts playing. Soon you know it's true.
He was born to play!
the time Hunter was just two years old, the pint sized prodigy was sitting
in with the house band at Mulate's, a famed Cajun restaurant near Breaux
Bridge, Louisiana. Since then, he's performed on numerous television shows
and movies, and played with the likes of Hank Williams Jr., Kenny Chesney,
Brad Paisley, Charlie Daniels, Wayne Toups & Eddy Raven.
Upcoming performances in May include:
- Friday, May 4: Crawfish Festival (7:30
PM) Breaux Bridge, LA
- Saturday, May 26-28: Taste of Louisiana
in Amana, IA
For more information, please visit www.hunterhayes.com
Las Vegas International Accordion Convention
eighth annual Las
Vegas International Accordion Convention to be held June 18-21, 2007
at the Gold Coast Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada will celebrate the first
100 years of the piano accordion in the United States. It was one hundred
years ago that the famous accordionist Pietro Deiro professed he played
the first piano accordion built in America in 1907, at the Washington
Square Theatre in San Francisco.
years event will feature performances by Jazz Legend, Art Van Damme; Grammy
Award Winner, Walter Ostanek (right); and four-time International Champion,
Peter Soave (below) and others including Leo Aquino (Canada), Gary Blair
(United Kingdom), Tony Lovello, Mario Pedone, Soundscape Trio, and young
accordion star Sammy Thomas, Joe Domitrowich, Gina Brannelli (United Kingdom),
Gordon Kohl, Ron Borelli and more.
Las Vegas International Accordion Convention has attracted over 500 participants
annually and has attracted attendance from around the world as attendees
enjoy concerts, workshops and friendship amongst fellow accordionists.
In exciting breaking news, Presenter Paul Pasquali has announced that
the winner of this years 60th CIA Coupe Mondiale World Accordion Championships
to be held in Alexandria, VA from August 13-18, 2007 will be sponsored
to appear at the Las Vegas International Accordion Convention in 2008.
For more information please contact Paul Pasquali at (800) 472-1695, (801)
486-1695, e-mail email@example.com
or to download registration forms and review convention information, please
| A Weekend
of Questionable, Useless & Far Fetched Information?
2007 American Accordionists'
Association Master Class and Concert Series moderated by Dr. William
Schimmel is entitled HOGUS/BOGUS - A WEEKEND OF QUESTIONABLE, USELESS
AND FAR FETCHED INFORMATION and will be held from JULY 27-29, 2007.
The accordion has two reputations: A REAL ONE - and A BOGUS ONE. The real
one is the one that we accordionists are all aware of - through our festivals,
contests and fellowship among fellow accordionists. WE KNOW WHAT IT CAN
DO! THE BOGUS ONE is the one that all of you out there know - the fact
that the accordion can play Lady of Spain by itself (complete with bellows
shake) - or in the midst of a classical or rock concert half of you in
the audience are yearning to get back to your roots, screaming for polkas,
helgatos, jigs and clogs complete with beer and urinal tents - ONE MAN'S
REAL/ANOTHER MAN'S BOGUS (Marry, Sir, nose painting, sleep and urine -
Macbeth -Act II scene III - Shakespeare).
Here are some starting points:
- The Accordion as Magic Square:
Dr. Robert Young McMahan, an avid 12 tone composer, will present a much
needed lecture that shows all of the "serial" aspects of the
accordion - from original and retrograde bellowing to reed switching
and dynamic control -
All within the dodecaphonic framework - including the chrome trimming
on the grille.
- A Culture if Mis-spelling and Mis-information:
Why can't Leonard Bernstien put accordeen stection in the New York City
Lenny is dead, in case you didn't know. Find out the real reason for
no accordeen stections and learn to turn your own juicy blunders and
misinformed declamations into culture - and liking it - without even
having to go back to night school.
- Delight in a Bogus rendition of Alexander
Only 10 minutes long - no film - no social fuss - NO Stalin!
- Carmina Burana meets the Kama Sutra in
Karmina Sutrana - AND - Ben Whore!
- A method book romp - from old home study
courses that promise the "healing power of the accordion"
to transcriptions of Hanon, Czerney and Cramer - designed to lubricate
your joints and get those fingers flying to the point of - well, thank
God that the accordion came a bit after Robert Schumann.
- Did the great American composer, Roger
Sessions write for the accordion? Absolutely not - but thrill to the
performance of his first sonata.
- What about the myth of the free bass
accordion? You know - unlimited possibilities. Does it go way back?
Or did Richard Pryor start it?
- And the Stradella bass "illusion"-
certainly good enough for us - or do we need a new cultural revolution
that destroys every one in or out of sight? And/or a new work: The Destruction
of the World, by Mee - O?!
- Can the accordion "de-camp"
Broadway? We think it can - with new renditions of Fiorello, Pajama
Game (Pajama Party), West Side Story (6th and Pike) and Fiddler. Using
the process of Musical Reality, Dr.Schimmel will demonstrate how Broadway
should be - UNBOUND and dominated with THE BUILT IN IRONIC DUALITY -
and nothing over twelve minutes. Quick, and yer out! More time to get
to Olive Garden for breadsticks and pasta and Leo Lindy's for cheese
- EVOLUTION IN THE REALM OF PERMANENT TRANSITION
. living with the discomfort of its "buzz": self-obliteration,
"bogus suicide" and "being over there".
- AND: Paul Stein as Rabbi Rabbitt singing
and playing in Yiddish - yes playing in Yiddish! My Yiddisha Accordion!
- also: Topical Squeeze - sucking the juice out of accordion-political
- Will Holshouser and Bach Shock - Morning
(broken) becomes electroshock - Bach/Musette/Cat Stevens.
- Sospeso's Kirk Noreen's The Magician
- Ken Laufer's Every Piece Ever Written (in five minutes)
The event will take place at:
THE TENRI CULTURAL INSTITUTE OF NEW YORK
43A WEST 13TH ST. (between 5th and 6th Ave.)
New York City
July 27-29, 2007
Master Classes at 3:00 PM Concerts at 7:00 PM
- $20 per master class - THOSE WHO WISH
TO PLAY, CONTACT DR. SCHIMMEL
- $25 per concert
- $40 per entire day - includes master
class and concert
- $110 per entire weekend - includes three
master classes and three concerts
afternoon workshop will feature up to five performers who wish to receive
advise, criticism and tools for improvement from the presenters, the audience
and Dr. Schimmel. Reserve a place early.
Those wishing to play or needing further information are requested to
contact Dr. Schimmel -212-876-0827. For
further information e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit www.ameraccord.com
Festival in Newton (Boston) MA
Teachers' Association of Massachusetts (ATAM) recently held their
45th New England Music Festival in Newton (Boston) Massachusetts.
and festival performances took place during the weekend, ending with the
spectacular performance by the Falcetti Music reunion accordion orchestra.
The 50 piece orchestra (above) was formed from present and alumni members
to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Falcetti family music business.
With the current conductor Michael Falcetti as concert master, the founding
conductor Sam Falcetti stepped back on the podium to conduct his former
students, while wife Peggy performed in the orchestra and son Anthony
coordinated the elaborate sound system. All four members of the family
continue to make their full time living from Falcetti Music.
awards were given during the weekend, including to honorary ATAM member
Faithe Deffner for her lifetime achievement in the advancement of the
accordion worldwide. Picture above left, Roger Latulippe (ATAM Contest
co-chair), Faithe Deffner, Peggy Falcetti, (ATAM contest co-chair) and
Michael Falcetti (ATAM president) presenting the Lifetime Achievement
Award to Faithe Deffner. In her acknowledgement speech, Mrs. Deffner applauded
the effort of the students, parents and teachers for continuing to promote
and support music education.
The New England Accordion Championship was won by 13 year old Danielle
Renzi (right) and the Entertainment Solo championship was won by Anthony
Falco, both students of Robert Paolo. Anthony also received the special
ATAM scholarship award to assist in his upcoming University studies. The
Senior Orchestra division was won by the Paolo Accordion Orchestra, under
the direction of Robert Paolo.
The 46th Annual ATAM Festival will take place from 4-6 April 2008.
Marocco Featured on Movie Sound Tracks
Marocco's accordion work is featured throughout the sound track of two
upcoming films, due to be released this year. "Pirates of the Caribbean
3 (music by Hans Zimmer) and "Ratatouille" (music by Michael
The Accordion is very prominent in the "Ratatouille" score with
solos accompanied by full Symphony Orchestra. In this new Disney animated-adventure,
RATATOUILLE, a rat named Remy dreams of becoming a great French chef despite
his familys wishes and the obvious problem of being a rat in a decidedly
rodent-phobic profession. When
fate places Remy in the sewers of Paris, he finds himself ideally situated
beneath a restaurant made famous by his culinary hero, Auguste Gusteau.
Despite the apparent dangers of being an unlikely - and certainly unwanted
- visitor in the kitchen of a fine French restaurant, Remys passion
for cooking soon sets into motion a hilarious and exciting rat race that
turns the culinary world of Paris upside down. Remy finds himself torn
between his calling and passion in life or returning forever to his previous
existence as a rat. He learns the truth about friendship, family and having
no choice but to be who he really is, a rat who wants to be a chef.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End, after Elizabeth (Keira Knightly),
Will (Orlando Bloom), and Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) rescue Captain
Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) from the clutches of the Kraken, they must
face their foes, Davey Jones (Bill Nighy) and Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom
Hollander). Beckett, now with control of Jones' heart, forms a dark alliance
with him in order to rule the seas and wipe out the last of the Pirates.
Now, Jack, Barbossa, Will, Elizabeth, Tia Delma, and crew must call the
Pirate Lords from the four corners of the globe, including the infamous
Sao Feng (Chow-Yun Fat), to a gathering that will make their final stand
against Beckett, Jones, Norrington, the Flying Dutchman, and the entire
East India Trading Company.
Using several different instruments, Frank
used a dry tuned instrument for some Bandoneon like segments, a Musette
for some segments and also the Bass Accordion for some drone like effects.
Although almost all of the parts were written, Frank also had the opportunity
to improvise some jazz solos. Frank has played on all three 'Pirates of
the Caribbean' movie sound tracks.
During his outstanding career, Frank's
career has seen him traveling with Bob Hope visiting the servicemen in
many countries; being featured on the Les Brown Band, including six Love
More recently, he has been very busy with studio work: movie soundtracks,
TV movies, TV series , records and advertising jingles. Along the way,
he has managed to find time to compose and arrange both jazz and classical
Pops Orchestra Concert Review
Accordion Pops Orchestra under the direction of Dan Desiderio presented
"A Concert of Hope" Saturday evening, April 21, 2007 in the
Perelman Theatre at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia,
This is the third time that APO has performed at the Kimmel Center for
this very important fund raiser for the ALS Hope Foundation. Last
year the concert raised over $25,000 for the Hope Foundation and it is
expected that this year's concert will do even better.
In addition to the full orchestra performing
such great pieces as "Finale to Symphony No. 4, Opus 36 in F minor
by P. Tchaikovsky," "Selections from My Fair Lady," "Russian's
Sailor Dance," and "Mancini in Concert" to name a few,
there were several soloists.
The orchestra accompanied Rodolfo Veneziano noted Tenor Soloist and Elizabeth
Patterson Mezzo Soprano who performed both solo and as a duo with the
beautiful aria "Parlami d'Amore Mariu". Ms. Patterson
also sang "O Mio Babbino Caro" from Puccini's Gianni Schnicchi.
She was accompanied on acoustic accordion by her brother, Justin Patterson
and they also did a terrific change of pace with the ever popular song
"Crazy" made famous by the late Patsy Cline.
of the APO members is not only a fine accordionist, but is also a concert
flautist. Andrea Maurer thrilled the audience with a magnificent rendition
of "Sonata No. 2, 1st Movement" by B. Holcombe ably accompanied
by Lotus Cheng who is a concert pianist in her own right.
To begin the second half of the program, Aarthi Manohar, a high school
senior and five year piano student of Mr. Desiderio, mesmerized the audience
with Rachmaninoff's "Prelude in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 3 No. 2"
accompanied by the Accordion Pops Orchestra with a special orchestral
transcription by Maestro Desiderio.
Mary Tokarski world renowned concert accordionist, wowed the audience
with a flawless rendition of "Dance of the Demon" by E. Holst,
arr. D. Desiderio. The audience would not let her leave, and as
an encore, and tribute to the late Frank Mucedola, she played his very
exciting descriptive piece, composed especially for the accordion, "The
Fox and the Hound".
A highlight of the concert featured the Accordion Quintet of Diano Squillace,
Sydia Anderson, Al Terzo, Cecilia Hrubovcak and Lenny Feldmann presenting
the world premier of "... And Not A Singe Regret" by composer
Stephen Senderoff. Mr. Senderoff was present to introduce this new
work to the audience and tell them a little about how he came to compose
Mr. Senderoff is currently exploring the application of computers to new
areas of electronic music composition and sound design. He especially
loves the way he can blend the tonal colors and ranges of the accordion
to create note-accurate adaptations of traditional American fiddle tunes.
"...And Not A Single Regret" is an impressionist arrangement
of traditional melodies with names such as Blackbird, Farewell to
Whiskey, Dives and Lazarus, and A Firm Foundation ingeniously
entwined into the parts of the four acoustic accordion and acoustic bass
By the way, as Mr. Senderoff so eloquently expressed it during his opening
remarks: "Good evening, my name is Stephen Senderoff and I am living
with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease
(ALS). This is the the third time I have had the opportunity to
speak at this annual event and, in fact, I have been living with ALS since
1998. I consider the gift of time that has been granted to me the
most precious gift I have ever received. My memories of this time,
every minute, are among my most prized possessions."
After the performance of the piece by the Accordion Quintet, Mr. Senderoff
received a five minute standing ovation in appreciation of the beautiful
new piece of music he has composed and the deep emotions the music touches
in everyone who heard it.
The concert concluded with the orchestra playing "Americana - A Tribute
to America and our Armed Forces" - a stirring arrangement by Dan
Desiderio that had the entire audience of over 250 attendees on their
feet singing God Bless America.
by Lenny Feldmann
and Keyboards Moves To New Location
Gaunt, owner and operator of the popular Florida accordion center has
moved his business to a new location on Highland Ave.
ACCORDIONS & KEYBOARDS
1248 S. Highland Ave.
Clearwater, FL 33756
Phone: 727 443 4113
Gaunt has been selling accordions in Clearwater Florida, Tampa Bay area
for over 20 years where "Accordions & Keyboards" is your
one stop shop for your accordion needs!
John said the coffee pot is always on and if it's accordions you want
to see, this is the right place! John started the business in 1970, selling
Iorio accordions from his home, then in 1984 he started "Accordions
& Keyboards", which he has run ever since.
Accordions and Keyboards has an extensive stock on instruments of all
sizes, accessories, electronics, t-shirts, recordings and a repair shop.
Please visit www.accordionsandkeyboards.net
for the latest stock and information.
International Accordion Celebration 21-23, June, 2007
has been said that there are no unemployed accordion players in Leavenworth
. And why should there be? Accordions originated in Germany and now theyre
headed back to the Bavarian Village!
Frequently maligned, but as frequently beloved,
the accordion has been adopted by musicians in every part of the world
where it has been introduced since the first one was manufactured in Germany
in the early 1800s. Small, large, often beautifully crafted - to
pick one up and learn how it works has proven irresistible. From 21 -
23 June, Leavenworth will hold its annual celebration of accordions and
the many people who play them.
The Leavenworth International Accordion
Celebration, or LIAC, affords accordionists of all ages a chance to compete,
attend w or kshops and jam sessions. LIAC also brings in world-class performers
Competitions, Jamming, W or kshops,
Concerts and More! The 2007 Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration
will be an exciting event - full of talented musicians, enthusiastic music
lovers, friendly competitors of all ages and lots of surprises including
the Annual Accordion Parade down Front Street! Entertainment at the Gazebo
in Front Street Park is free. The Northwest Accordion Society organizes
entertainment and Jam sessions in the Gazebo Thursday through Sunday.
The Competitions and Concerts are held in Leavenworth s Festhalle
on the corner of Front and Tenth Streets.
For more information and to purchase
tickets to the concerts phone the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce at (509)
548-5807, e-mail: email@example.com
or visit www.accordioncelebration.com.
Boy Plays Largest Accordion in the World
you're 8 years old...traveling to Italy with your parents...you've only
been playing the accordion (seriously) for 4 months...and you find yourself
in the "accordion manufacturing capital of the world" - Castelfidardo!
Lucas Denney did just that in March, 2007, with his father and mother, Shawn
and Mary Ann Denney.
The International Accordion Museum is located in the lower level of the
City Hall of the Village of Castelfidardo Now, this would be worth the trip
in itself. There is a large and varied collection of accordions, tracing
the development of the instrument and its production techniques.
Then, there are around 40 Italian factories, mostly in the territory of
Castelfidardo, where the instrument is produced. Most of these Italian brands
are probably familiar: CEMEX/Excelsior, Pigini, Gabbanelli, Guerrini, Menghini,
Piatanesi, SEM, Serenellini, Victoria, Zero Sette, Alessandrini, Beltuna,
Bompezzo, Borsini, Brandoni, Bugari and Castagnari. But, you must arrange
for a tour in advance through "connections".
However, there IS the "palazzo Soprani" with its fine display
of accordions, and something even more amazing...the world's largest accordion
and the man who made it. Featured in the Guinness Book of World Records,
the largest playable acoustic accordion in the world is basically 8 ft.
tall, 6 ft wide and nearly 3 ft deep and weighs approximately 440 pounds.
The instrument was built by Giancarlo Francenella, in Castelfidardo, who
overseas the Soprani accordion display. It required over 1,000 hours to
create this accordion, which features 45 treble piano keys, 120 bass buttons
and 240 reeds. It's built on a 5-to-1 ratio from the original and is made
of conventional materials including fir, cedar, mahogany, walnut, aluminum,
steel, cardboard, cloth, celluloid and special varnishes. An electric pump
at the base of the accordion pushes air through the bellows and it is possible
for a person to actually play the accordion acoustically.
left are Lucas Denney and Giancarlo Francenella. Above, Lucas is pictured
with the massive "Castelfidardo Accordion".
Lucas Denney is the youngest member of the Peoria Area Accordion Club, Peoria,
Illinois. His teacher is Jay Landers, Past President of the club.
Note: Information for this article was supplied by Shawn Denney and the
International Accordion Museum brochure and related materials and compiled
by Jay Landers.
Doktorski at the Heinz Chapel
Concert Accordionist Henry Doktorski performed with contralto Daphne Alderson
and a quintet of five classical musicians in a concert titled "Songs
for Dreamers" at the Heinz Memorial Chapel on the campus of the University
The musicians in the ensemble consisted of: Daphne Alderson, contralto;
Tom Roberts, director and pianist; Henry Doktorski, accordionist; Roy
Sonne, violinist; Jeffrey T. Mangone, double bassist, and Albert J. Wrublesky,
program featured songs by Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer, Richard Rodgers
and Lorenz Hart, George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Carlos Gardel
and Alfredo Lepera, Joe Negri and Lou Tracy, Édith Piaf, and other
song writers and composers. Doktorski was featured in the two tangos:
Por una Cabeza and Mi Buenos Aires querido, along with Pittsburgh
Symphony violinist Roy Sonne. The accordion was also featured in three
French chansons popularized by Édith Piaf: Mon menage a moi,
Hymn a l'amour and La vie en rose.
Daphne Alderson made her New York Cabaret debut in 1998, performing her
show Songs and Chansons. She has appeared at Avery Fisher Hall
and Merkin Hall in New York City, The Kennedy Center for the Performing
Arts in Washington D.C., the Bach Aria Festival in Stoneybrook, New York,
and at various arts organizations and churches throughout the United States,
Canada and Italy. Her opera credits include performances in the roles
of Hansel, Purcell's Dido, Nicklausse, Isabella, Rosina, Orefeo, Siebel,
Suzuki, and Maddalena. She also serves on the music faculty at Seton-Hill
Doktorski said, "It is always a pleasure for me to perform with Daphne
and her friends. Her voice is so dark and velvety and full of personality.
And to top it off, she is one of the sweetest persons I have met!"
The Heinz Interdenominational Chapel, dedicated in 1938, stands as one
of the foremost examples of French Gothic architecture in the United States.
head to Austria
of the Accordionists
and Teachers Guild, International (ATG) Joan
Sommers and CIA President Kevin
Friedrich have both been invited to Innsbruck Austria to attend World
Accordion Orchestra Festival held as part of the 9th Annual World Music
Festival from 17-20 May, 2007.
More than 300 accordion orchestras and accordionists from Germany, Austria,
Switzerland, Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Poland, Russia,
China, Japan, Croatia, Slovakia, Senegal and more will attend to compete
in the various competitions.
to feature at the Spoleto Festival
Festival USA's 31st season will take place from May 25 through June 10,
2007 in Charleston, South Carolina. Spoleto's acclaimed contemporary music
series, Music in Time, will begin with an appearance by the Bowed Piano
Ensemble, followed by a concert of new music for accordion headlined by
the renowned accordionist and composer Guy
Described by The Wall Street Journal as "a trailblazing virtuoso,"
experimental composer and accordionist Guy
Klucevsek has created a unique contemporary repertoire for the accordion.
His solo program, The Well-Tampered Accordion, explores the possibilities
that a new music virtuoso can achieve on an old world instrument, and
will make you forget everything you thought you knew about the accordion.
be performing at 5:00 PM on June 1, 2007. Tickets are available for purchase
starting today at www.spoletousa.org.
Weblog Devoted to All Things Accordion
Lets Polka is a daily weblog devoted
to all things accordion, including information about the latest accordion
news and events, new music releases and reviews (any style as long as
theres an accordion!), and much more.
and Chris Saccheri are the primary contributors to Lets Polka. They
met through their mutual love for the accordion, and while they don't
profess to be professional musicians, they love playing the accordion
and look forward to learning more about their favorite instrument through
their work in putting this site together.
Anna has been playing since 1992, after a friends mom agreed to
teach her everything she knew. Some early recordings of those songs can
be found on her accordion site. Later, inspired by Weird Al,
she began composing silly songs. Her accordion playing appeared in a radio
commercial and an album released by The Corner Laughers.
Chris has been playing since 1995, when he started playing with the (in)famous
Stanford Band. He cites John Linnell of They Might Be Giants as his inspiration
for learning to play, and shares the same hometown (Fresno, CA) as accordion
legend Dick Contino.
Your Accordion Services Free at AWW
Internet is changing the way your customers are searching for services.
The days of lugging out a 12 lb. telephone book to find very limited and
outdated business information are coming to an end. People are still letting
their fingers do the walking, but they're doing it over a computer keyboard.
Below are some revealing facts from the Kelsey Group.
- 74% of US households use the Internet
as an information source when shopping.
- Approximately 45% of searches had a buying
- The percentage of respondents who used
yellow page directories decreased from 75% to 62%.
(If you have a printed yellow page ad, it
is time to consider buying a smaller ad and shifting your marketing dollars
to the Internet.) The off-line Yellow Pages see the writing on the wall
and are scrambling to transfer their business model to the Internet.
Businesses can no longer ignore these
facts. If you want to be successful, you must have a presence where your
customers are searching. Being found on the Internet is vital to the future
of your business.
Accordion Yellow Pages offers free of charge listing for all accordion
businesses, teachers and for every type of service for accordionists.
On the Accordion Yellow Pages site, you do not need to have a website
for accordionists find you and contact you.
search-accordion.com site is also free of charge, being a listing service
for every type of accordion service but you must have a website. Viewers
of search-accordion.com can click to your website.
popular is the AccordionLinks.com site where those accordion service providers
with a website, can attract accordionists free of charge to their website.
All it takes is a little effort, to make sure your information on these
three popular and very effective accordion sites is up to date. Your future
success may well be determined by your ability to effectively adapt to
the Internet. Should it be your New Year's resolution for 2006?
Saluzzi and Anja Lechner make USA Debut
artist Dino Saluzzi (Argentina) and Cellist Anja Lechner (Germany) appeared
at the Merkin Concert Hall in Manhattan, New York this month, as part
of their first USA concert tour.
In addition to this debut tour in the USA, they have just released a CD
entitled 'Ojos Negros' on ECM Records, which is described as "chamber
music with inspirational roots in Argentinean traditions."
Saluzzi and Lechner say that when they play live, their pieces never sound
the same twice. The interplay of instruments has been described as making
sentimental and introspective music. Saluzzi says that Music is aimed
to the spirit, and the spirit has no age.
Dino says "There's only one way of getting what you want". "When
you want salt, you go and grab it. We'll never know if the taste that
I feel from salt is the same as the one you feel."
During his career Dino was mostly self-taught, and he has wandered about
the worlds of jazz, classical music, tango and Argentine folklore, from
which traces of each can be found in his work.
Kammermusik with Accordion Performances
Concert Accordionist Henry Doktorski will perform on accordion with the
Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic under the direction of Juan Pablo Izquierdo
in performances of Kammermusik No. 1 by Paul Hindemith on Tuesday
May 1, 2007 at Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and again
on Thursday May 3 at Severance Hall in Cleveland Ohio.
The Philharmonic's program will include
Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes of Carl Maria von Weber,
Kammermusik Number 1, Five Dances From der Daemon and Symphony
Mathis der Maler.Paul Johnston, a faculty member in Carnegie Mellon's
School of Music, will host a pre-concert talk at 7:00 PM.
|"The orchestral music
of Paul Hindemith (above) is a rich legacy of early 20th century creativity
and innovation," said Marilyn Taft Thomas, interim head of the School
of Music. "Yet his symphonic works are seldom included in mainstream
concert programming. This unique all-Hindemith concert, along with a pre-concert
talk by Paul Johnston, provides a backdrop for the considerable performance
abilities of the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic and its renowned music director
and conductor, Juan Pablo Izquierdo," Thomas said.
Izquierdo has conducted Chile's National and Philharmonic Orchestra and
won first prize in the Dimitri Mitropoulos International Competition for
Conductors in 1966. That same year, he was named assistant conductor to
Leonard Bernstein of the New York Philharmonic. His international appearancesinclude
conducting the Bavarian Radio and BBC orchestras, as well as other radio
orchestras in Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Madrid, Glasgow, Paris
and Brussels. He has conducted ensembles around the world, including the
Vienna Symphony, the Holland Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, the Dresden
Philharmonic, the Jerusalem Symphony and the Israel Chamber Orchestra.
"Featuring an all-Hindemith program, the philharmonic will cover
a retrospective of different periods of the work of this great master,"
One of the main innovators of musical modernism,
the German Neoclassical composer Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) was a composer,
conductor, violist, educator, and theoretician. Of the four founders of
modernism - Arnold Schönberg, Igor Stravinsky, Béla Bartók,
and Hindemith - one can argue that Hindemith was by far the most scholarly
and intellectual in temperament. His theoretic interests were both deep
and wide-ranging and included medieval philosophy and the writings of
the early church, as well as musical topics. He could play all the standard
musical instruments at least passably and was a recognized virtuoso on
the viola and viola d'amore. A sought-after educator, he taught such composers
as Lukas Foss, Arnold Cooke, Franz Reizenstein, and Norman Dello Joio
and wielded great influence in Europe and the United States between the
two World Wars.
Regarding Hindemith's Kammermusik No.
1: The fifteen-minute work - in four movements - is scored for a string
quintet with flute, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, accordion, piano and a
battery of percussion, including xylophone, a siren and a tin can filled
with sand. It was written in 1921 and was the first of seven Kammermusik
pieces - literally "Chamber Music" - which have been called
"A twentieth-century equivalent of J. S. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos."
Kammermusik No. 1 is a cheerful,
irreverent suite which manifests clear reference to Hindemith's early
experience performing in dance bands and musical comedy orchestras in
and around Frankfurt. Strong rhythms, sparkling instrumentation, and incorrigible
impudence are the work's distinguishing features. Its first three movements
are a boisterously dissonant prelude, a frivolous march, and a pastoral
'quartet' for the three woodwind instruments and a single note on a glockenspiel.
The finale unleashes the whole ensemble in an obstreperous display of
anarchic humor. The climax comes with the quotation, by the trumpet, of
a contemporary fox trot in G major, accompanied by scales in all the other
eleven major keys, and the end is a manic stretto worthy of any great
comedy of the silent screen.
A concertgoer who attended a performance
of Hindemith's Kammermusik No. 1 in Munich in 1923 wrote: "A
few weeks earlier I had been involved in a concert by the American George
Antheil . . . and witnessed a bombardment of tomatoes, eggs, and even
stink bombs. I prepared myself for something similar on Hindemith's first
appearance in Bavaria's conservative capitol. And I was right. Scarcely
had the last measures of the fox-trot imbedded in the piece subsided than
the hall turned into chaos. Whistles blew, boos resounded, chairs flew
through the air -- a hellish noise filled the large room. Hindemith, in
the meantime, had disappeared backstage with the other musicians. As the
spectacle reached its height, he reappeared -- thoroughly calm -- seated
himself at the percussion . . . beat with all his might on the drums,
and let the slide whistle howl. The honest Münchener were
so taken aback by this unexpected behaviour that Hindemith was the victor
in an unequal battle."
Hindemith was surprised about the vehement
reception which Kammermusik No. 1 received, and sixteen years later
commented about it (and the overwhelming preponderance of old women in
the audience during a recent American performance) in a letter to his
wife dated March 3, 1938:
"Rehearsals occupied the whole morning.
I began with the 'Dances,' which went very nicely from the start. Then
we rehearsed 'Der Schwanendreher' thoroughly; the orchestra still remembered
it quite well from last year, and Lange did his stuff respectably too.
To end with, after Mozart's E-flat Major Symphony, they rehearsed that
ancient old Kammermusik of mine with the siren. One wonders why people
made such a fuss about his piece at the time. It is not at all badlywritten,
and there is nothing, apart from a few harmonic and melodic teething
troubles, to upset innocent souls. It is not exactly refined, and the
extravagant use of percussion, etc., was certainly a concession to the
prevailing (lack of) taste at that time. But, good Lord, one only needs
to look at all the crap that is being produced today in this chemically
pure cultural atmosphere of ours, to realize how thousand times worse
in regard to technique, invention, musicality, and even character it
all is, compared with this not very important piece. And someone who
is bothered by a siren would find much wider scope for his indignation
in wind machines and bleating sheep. People here [in America] are not
so malicious. In the evening the piece was a great success (rightly
so, for the performance was very good)--in spite of, or because of,
the elderly female population from which concert audiences are recruited
here as in all other American cities (in which connection it is open
to doubt whether it is permissable to bring together two such differing
conceptions as recruits and dolled-up crones). They probably felt themselves
transported back to youthful times of unfulfilled desires: when the
siren shrieked one could literally hear the rusted bones rattling. I
played like an old violist who had gone through many fires unscathed,
and the dances also went very well. Huge applause."
Doktorski explained that the accordion was
not included in the orchestration until 1952, thirty years after the premier:
"In 1922 when Kammermusik No. 1 was
first performed, the accordion did not appear in the orchestration;
the work was originally scored with harmonium. The harmonium was a popular
instrument in the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Many classical
composers wrote music for the harmonium, including: Hector Berlioz,
Carl Maria von Weber, Franz Liszt,Camille Saint-Saëns, Charles
Gounod, César Franck, Gioacchino Rossini, Bedrich Smetana, Leos
Janácek, Anton Dvorák, Max Reger, Sigfrid Karg-Elert,
Richard Strauss, and several of Hindemith's contemporaries, such as
Arnold Schönberg, Kurt Weill, Arthur Honegger and Dmitri Shostakovich.
"However, by the mid-twentieth century
the harmonium had lost so much popularity and become so scarce that
Hindemith had to rewrite the part for accordion, an instrument at the
peak of its popularity. The composer explained: 'Kammermusik has a part
for a harmonium of a kind that no longer exists. I have rewritten it
foran accordion. . . With it the piece will be easier to perform.' (from
a letter to Hindemith's publisher Willy Strecker-- one of the directors
of Schotts Söhne in Mainz--dated November 28, 1952.)"
"It is not clear exactly when Hindemith
replaced the harmonium with accordion, but I suspect it may havebeen
in the 1940s."
This is the fourth time Doktorski has performed
Hindemith's Kammermusik No. 1: in 1995 with the Pittsburgh New
Music Ensemble, in 2001 with the Duquesne University Contemporary Ensemble,
and in 2003 with the Carnegie Mellon University Contemporary Ensemble.
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