Thank you to our kind Accordion USA News Sponsors

December 2003
Friedrich Lips World Premiere in Milwaukee
Henry Doktorski and Kammermusik No. 1
Benjamin Ickies Gives Up on December 12th
Frank Marocco in the USA and Canada
Victor Prieto in New York
New Accordion Documentary
Anthony Galla-Rini to Celebrate 100th Birthday
Roman Pawlowski performs Rubaiyat
Henry Doktorski and the Pittsburgh Symphony
Jon Hammond in Concert
Mario Tacca and Mary Mancini in December

Reinhardt Festival at Birdland in New York

Rose City Camp in 2004
Canadian Film at Montreal Film Festival
Minnesota Accordion Festival Gathering

Bandoneon Artist with Philadelphia Orchestra

Dr. Schimmel presents Tango/Fado Concert
Peoria Accordion Club Celebrates 12th Year
Schimmel & Baryshnikov in Sex and the City
December Dates at a Glance

Friedrich Lips performs Efrem Podgaits Premiere
The Fine Arts Quartet, artists-in-residence at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee's (UWM) Peck School of the Arts, continues its 2003-2004 season with a concert on Sunday, December 14, 2003 at 3 PM in the Helen Bader Concert Hall of the Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts, 2419 East Kenwood Boulevard. Tickets are available from the Peck School of the Arts Box Office, 414-229-4308.

The Fine Arts Quartet, Ralph Evans (violin), Efim Boico (violin), Yuri Gandelsman (viola), and Wolfgang Laufer (cello), will give the world premiere of Efrem Podgaits's extraordinary quintet, Ex Animo. This work, commissioned by the Fine Arts Quartet, is the first piece Podgaits has written for the combination of string quartet and bayan-accordion. Guest artist Friedrich Lips, one of the world's foremost bayanists, will also play Léon Boëllmann's Suite Gothique. Boëllmann (1862-1897) spent his brief life immersed in the popular organ tradition that flourished in late nineteenth century France. The Suite Gothique, originally for organ, is his best known-work and is one of several organ pieces that have been transcribed for the accordion. The concert will open with Mozart's Quartet in D Minor, K. 421, one of the six quartets Mozart dedicated to Haydn.

Composer Efrem Podgaits was born in 1949 in Vinnitsa (Ukraine) and received his musical training at the Moscow Conservatory, where he studied composition in the classes of Y.M. Butsko and N.N. Sidelnikov. Since completing his studies in 1974, he has written symphonies, concertos, operas, and chamber music, as well as music for cinema and the stage. Podgaits's style is rooted in a profoundly philosophical approach to life, and draws on a variety of different musical languages that are blended together and modified in a strikingly personal manner. Podgaits's music, though modern and full of complex rhythms, remains highly accessible, reflecting the composer's inner world, one steeped in poetry and a love for humanity.

Friedrich Lips, born in the Jemanschelinsk (district of Tcheljabinsk) in 1948, completed his education at the Gnessin Institute for Music Pedagogy. Lips tours throughout the world, performing with orchestras and in chamber ensembles, taking part in international accordion events as well as festivals of contemporary music. Lips has given the first performance of numerous works composed for the bayan by such artists as Zolotariew, Wolkow, and Shurbin. Most recently, he premiered a work for bayan and orchestra composed by Sofia Gubaidulina. He has recorded about 100 works; the CD Seven words (S. Gubaidulina) for bayan, cello and strings, was awarded the Golden Diapason in Paris.

In addition to performing, Lips has been an influential teacher and adjudicator, training most of the world's finest bayanists. He has taught at the Gnessin Institute since 1971, where he is now a professor. A member of the committee of the International Accordion Society, he is the organizer and artistic director of an international bayan festival that has been held in Moscow since 1989. He is the author of The Art of Playing the Bayan and has published a number of articles on the theory of playing the bayan, as well as many arrangements and transcriptions of organ and piano works for the bayan. He is the initiator and author of the anthology of bayan literature, as well as some volumes on the bayan repertoire. Lips has received many awards, including being named a "people's artist" of Russia in 1994.

The concert will be preceded by an informal talk by Milwaukee-based bayanist Stas Venglevski. A native of the Republic of Moldova, Venglevski is a graduate of the Russian Academy of Music in Moscow where he received his Masters Degree in Music as a student of Friedrich Lips. He emigrated to the United States in 1992, where he has been active as a musician, building a repertoire of virtuoso works by Bach, Weber, Liszt, Schubert, and Rachmaninoff, as well as contemporary and ethnic music. Venglevski tours extensively throughout the former Soviet Union, Europe, and the United States. He serves as the president of the Accordionists and Teachers Guild International (ATG), a member of the Confederation Internationale des Accordeonistes, IMC-UNESCO. Mr. Venglevski will talk about his teacher, Mr. Lips, and his unique instrument, the bayan.

Founded in Chicago in 1946, the Fine Arts Quartet is one of the most distinguished ensembles in chamber music today, with an illustrious history of performing success, an extensive recording legacy, and an astonishing durability. The Quartet, whose members are artists-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is among the elite few to have toured internationally since the end of World War II, passing the milestone of a half-century of uninterrupted existence with remarkably few changes in personnel. Beginning in the 1970s, the original Quartet members were gradually succeeded upon their retirement by brilliant new artists: Ralph Evans, a prize winner in the International Tchaikovsky Competition; Efim Boico, former concertmaster of the Orchestre de Paris and member of the Tel Aviv Quartet; Wolfgang Laufer, former principal cellist of the Hamburg Philharmonic and Jerusalem Radio Orchestra; and newest member of the quartet, Yuri Gandelsman, former principal violist of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Highlights of 2003-2004 tours include concerts in New York, London, Berlin, Brussels, Rome, Bucharest-and a Baltic cruise featuring the Quartet. The Fine Arts Quartet is one of the most recorded quartets in history, with an immense variety of chamber music to its credit. Due for release in 2004 are the complete Dohnányi quartets and quintets and the complete Bruckner chamber music, both on Hänssler Classic, and the Shostakovich Quartets No.1/4/8 on Lyrinx. The Quartet was invited to be jury members for the Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition in 2005.

The concert will take place on Sunday afternoon, December 14th at 3.00 PM in the Helen Bader Concert Hall in the Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts, 2419 East Kenwood Boulevard.

Tickets are $16 general admission/$9 students & seniors. Please call (414) 229-4308 or stop by the Box Office now located in the Zelazo Center. Box office hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10 AM-5 PM and one hour prior to performances. Short-term parking spaces are available on the south side of the Zelazo Center for those purchasing tickets. Parking: Ample free parking is available on Sundays in the Zelazo Center lot (to the south of the building) and in the UWM Union Parking Garage, 2200 East Kenwood Boulevard.

Program for December 14, 2003

  • Mozart: Quartet in D minor K. 421 (Fine Arts Quartet)
  • Léon Boëllmann: Suite Gothique (Friedrich Lips - Bayan)
  • Efrem Podgaits: Quintet for Bayan and String Quartet, Op.184 (2002)
    (World Premiere performance - commissioned by Fine Arts Quartet with guest Friedrich Lips, Bayan.)

For more information, please contact Polly Morris, (414) 229-6771

Doktorski performs Hindemith's Kammermusik No. 1

American concert accordionist Henry Doktorski will perform Paul Hindemith's "Kammermusik No. 1" with the Carnegie Mellon University Contemporary Ensemble at 8 PM on Tuesday, December 2, 2003. The performance, to be held at the Kresge Recital Hall at the College of Fine Arts, will be conducted by Walter Morales.

Doktorski said, "The accordion is used in this work ostentatiously to help create the flavor of a popular dance band, and gets to stand out in the ensemble frequently."

Paul Hindemith's "Kammermusik No. 1," composed in 1921 and scored for twelve instruments, was one of the first pieces written by a classical composer to include a significant accordion part. One music scholar, Calum MacDonald, explained, "This cheerful, irreverent suite 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."

Despite the popularity of "Kammermusik No. 1" today, it was not well received during its first performances some eighty years ago. Max Rieple attended a performance of Hindemith's Kammermusik No. 1 in Munich in 1923 and 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 behavior that Hindemith was the victor in an unequal battle."

This performance marks the third time Doktorski has performed this piece with various Pittsburgh ensembles: The Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble (1995), The Duquesne University Contemporary Ensemble (2002), and the Carnegie Mellon University Contemporary Ensemble (2003).

Benjamin Ickies Gives Up on December 12, 2003

Accordionist Benjamin Ickies invitations say "Don't just sit there, come listen to some rock accordion!"

Benjamin Ickies of the 'Benjamin Ickies Preservation Society' announces several performances in New York City.

Not much is written about the Benjamin Ickies Preservation Society. It is their decision that minimal information be released regarding its background and history, so as not to distract from the music of Mr. Ickies.

Shortly after the death of Benjamin Ickies Senior, several close friends and colleagues of the visionary accordionist and composer banded together in a loose organization. Choosing to remain anonymous and recognizing that only a handful of people had ever heard Ickies' groundbreaking music, they set out to preserve his compositions and make arrangements for his work to be performed. Dubbing themselves The Benjamin Ickies Preservation Society, they have accomplished much in a relatively short amount of time.

Benjamin recently located to the New York area and has studied with New York accordionists and philosopher Dr. William Schimmel.

December shows include performances in New York and New Jersey including:

  • The Renaming Show
    Thursday - December 11, 2003 9 PM
    FREE at The Charleston - 174 Bedford (b/w N.7th and N.8th) Featuring"The Benjamin Ickies Preservation Society

  • Benjamin Ickies Gives Up- The Premiere
    Friday - December 12, 2003 - 10PM $7.00 The Bowery Poetry Club- 308 Bowery b/w Bleecker and Houston) Take the F/V train to 2nd Avenue or the #6 to Bleecker, NYC.

  • Rock Accordion Summit of New Jersey
    Sunday December 14, 2003 - doors open at 7:30 PM and the show 8 PM
    Featuring: The Benjamin Ickies Preservation Society, Stupid, The Itinerants, Corn Mo, Malcom Tent and Thai Raid $10.00
    Maxwell's - 1039 Washington St.- Hoboken, NJ 07030
    (directions at - PATH to Hoboken. A new rock accordion concept show. More rockin' than before!

For more information, plase contact Camille Acey - Booking and Promotion for the Benjamin Ickies Preservation Society at - 646.541.7781

Frank Marocco in the USA and Canada

International Jazz artist and studio accordionist Frank Marocco will be touring the northwestern United States and Canada in December beginning with a concert in Vancouver, BC on December 5th and 6th, 2003. These opening concerts will be in conjunction with great Canadian Jazz Sax player Cam Ryga. They will record live while performing these concerts at the "Cellar", a popular Jazz club in Vancouver.

On December 7th, Frank will be performing in Victoria followed by a December 8th performance in Seattle. Frank will do a solo concert in Seattle for their accordion club.

In Seattle, Frank will perform both solo and with Seattle accordionists Ken Olendorf and MurlAllen Sanders.

Frank then returns to Canada on the 9th December for a concert in Nanaimo followed by a concert on the 10th in Duncan and the 11th in Lake Cowichan.

Back in Los Angeles, Frank has just finished recording music for the Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves Michael J. Fox movie "Something's Gotta Give" which will be released on December 12th, 2003.

In this movie, Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson) is a perennial playboy with a libido much younger than his years. During what was to have been a romantic weekend with his latest infatuation, Marin (Amanda Peet), at her mother's Hamptons beach house, Harry develops chest pains. He winds up being nursed by Marin's reluctant mother, Erica Barry (Diane Keaton), a successful and divorced New York playwright. In the process, Harry develops more heart pangs, this time the romantic kind for Erica, an age appropriate woman whom he finds beguiling. However, some habits die hard. When Harry hesitates, his charming thirty-something doctor (Keanu Reeves) steps in and starts to pursue Erica. Harry, who has always had the world on a string, finds his life unraveling.

We will be listening for Franks accordion playing during this upcoming Romantic Comedy!

Victor Prieto in New York

Accordionist Victor Prieto will present the best repertoire of jazz tango and swing this December 4th at Caffe Taci. 110th Street, @ B'WAY in New York City. (For more info 212-678-5345.) Show time: 8:00 to 11:30 PM.

He will be performing with Rebecca Dorsey, who has been described as on of the Greatest Voices in the World by The New York Times. Also performing will be David Pearl - Piano.

Victor is also performing every Friday with the Victor Prieto Duo (Real jazz Tango) with El Maestro Santillan-Guitar at Les Deux Gamins, 132 West Houston at Sullivan Street from 7.00 PM 11.00 PM.

Victor Prieto started his musical career at the age of nine, encouraged by his mother to concentrate studies into the accordion,Victor has now come a long way. Victor earned his classical music diploma earned in the Professional Classical Music Conservatory of Orense. (Conservatorio Profesional de Musica de Orense).

Although this accordion background focused on classical training, Victor always aimed for the contemporary freedom in the Jazz idiom. He studied Jazz at Estudio Escola de Musica in Santiago de Compostela.

For more information on Victor, please visit or you can contact him at Phone:1-718-384-7644.

New Accordion Video from Ally Productions

A new Documentary "Accordion Evolution" has just been released from Ally Productions.

Every year in the third week of June, Hundreds of accordion enthusiasts from around the world converge in Las Vegas for a convention.

Accordion Evolution gives a glimpse into the world of this often maligned instrument from the peak of it's popularity in the "40s and '50s to it's decline in the '60s and renewed optimism for the new Millennium.

The organizers, performers and participants share their views on the instrument and it's future while world class accordionists demonstrate the ultimate in technique and versatility.

Considered by many to be merely a folk instrument we see how the accordion in the modern world has been modified through the use of the latest digital technology to enable it to be as viable as any other instrument.

If you attended the 2003 convention, this would make a nice keepsake of the event!

If you've wondered about the LVAC or considered going but never quite got there.....This will give you a good indication as to what goes on there!

Total Running Time: 48 minutes. available in DVD or VHS (NTSC) NB. while this is not a "Concert Video" although there are several performances featured, including portions of the performances of Mario Pietrodarchi, Pete Barbutti, Janet Todd, Julien Labro, Ginny Mac, Renzo Ruggieri and Mirco Patarini.

Available for immediate purchase from: or e-mail:

Anthony Galla-Rini to Celebrate his 100th Birthday

Maestro Anthony Galla-Rini, President Emeritus of the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG) will celebrate his 100th Birthday with a gala celebration on January 24th at the Radisson Hotel at the Los Angeles International Airport.

Accordionists from around the world, both professionals and amateurs have benefited from his enormous contributions to the instrument, including his original compositions and numerous arrangements for solo and ensemble.

Galla-Rini will conduct three of his arrangements for ensemble. The first rehearsal will be held Friday evening January 23, at 7:00 PM and the second at noon on Saturday on the 24th with the special.

The Radisson is offering a special rate of $89.00 plus tax (total $101.50) per night, valid from January 22nd - January 26th. Reservations may be secured by calling the Radisson (866) 244-6005 and be sure to ask for the Galla-Rini 100th Birthday Party rate.

Registrants wishing to play in the Festival Orchestra should contact Sylvia Prior, 2402 Hillrose Place, Oxnard, CA 93037. Dinner reservations should be received by December 19th to receive the special Birthday festival rate. Dinner reservations after this date will incur a late fee.

For all information, please contact: Anthony Galla-Rini Centennial Celebration
c/o 2402 Hillrose Place, Oxnard, CA 93036, USA

Roman Pawlowski and Delaware Country Symphony

Accordionist Roman Pawlowski (left) will put down his baton as musical director, and perform as soloist with the Delaware County Symphony the “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” by Alan Hovhaness (below right).

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam - Fantasy for Speaker, Accordion and Orchestra concert will take place December 7, 2003 at 3:00 PM at Neumann College, Aston, PA.

Mr. Pawloski began studying the accordion at the age of four. By the time he was eleven, he knew that music would be his life's profession. At age 18 he was cofounder of the Philharmonia Accordion Quintet and later founded the Philadelphia According Quintet. tet. He is a graduate of the Philadelphia Musical Academy and the University of Pennsylvania and studied conducting with such masters as Mehli Mehta, Pierre Montux, Max Rudolph and Erich Leinsdorf. He is currently music director of the Neward (DE) Symphony Orchestra and the Immaculata (PA) Symphony as well as DCS, and is a frequent guest conductor with regional music festivals.

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam will also feature Tom Teti - Narrator and Thomas DiSarlo, Conductor. Also programmed are Pierne - Suite from Ramuntcho and Bordin's Symphony No. 2.

Tickets are $15.00 for General Admission with Senior/Student $12.00 and reservations are strongly recommended by calling (610) 356-5673.

Accordionist Performs with the Pittsburgh Symphony

Henry Doktorski appeared as guest accordionist with violinist Gil Shaham and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in two performances of Carlos Gardel's "Por Una Cabeza" arranged by John Williams. The concerts, on November 28 and 29, 2003 at the Heinz Center for the Performing Arts in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, were conducted by PSO music director Mariss Jansons.

Composed in 1935 by the great French-born Argentinean tango composer, singer and actor, Carlos Gardel (1890-1935), "Por Una Cabeza" bemoans the composer's lack of fortune, both in wagering on horses and love. This sensuous tango was featured in Gardel's 1935 film, "Tango Bar," released three months before his tragic and untimely death in a plane crash. Nearly a half-century later, "Por Una Cabeza" became famous by its performance in the 1992 Hollywood film, "Scent of a Woman," which starred actor Al Pacino.

In 1996, the composer John Williams (especially known for his Hollywood film scores), subsequently arranged Gardel's tango for solo violin and symphony orchestra (and accordion) and conducted violinist Itzhak Perlman and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (and Doktorski) in a recording which was released on the Sony Classical label ("Cinema Serenade" SK 63005). "Cinema Serenade" was a big hit and reached number one on the "Billboard" crossover chart.

John Williams' arrangement of "Por Una Cabeza" is scored for string orchestra with three flutes, three oboes, English horn, three clarinets, bass clarinet, three bassoons, contrabassoon, four horns, triangle, small triangle, tambourine, small tambourine, timpani, harp, piano, celeste and accordion.

Doktorski spoke about the first rehearsal:

I was told to sit in a chair in the back of the second violin section, and we played through the piece. As soon as it was finished, Maestro Jansons called out, "Mr. Accordion Player!" He beckoned me to come forward, "Please come up front and sit here. I can't hear you back there."

I guessed that the sound of my instrument had been absorbed by the first and second violinists; because the accordion sits on my lap, the sound was not able to pass over them. (Violinists, on the other hand, hold their instruments up high on their shoulders.) If my seat had been elevated, like the wind and brass players for instance, the accordion would probably have projected nicely into the audience.

I picked up my music and walked up front where Maestro Jansons and Gil Shaham greeted me. Maestro Jansons called for the stage manager to bring my chair and music stand to the front. In less than a minute, I was seated at center stage, directly behind and between the conductor and soloist, where my instrument could project clearly into the audience.

We played through the four-minute piece once more, and then stopped for a break. Mr. Shaham briefly chatted with me; he noted that the solo violin and accordion sometimes act in tandem, in an imitative fashion, and he complimented the beautiful sound of my instrument.

Years ago I had my accordion custom-tuned to A-440, the nearly-universal standard for orchestras. For some reason or another, probably to create a "folk music" sound, most accordions are factory-tuned sharp; one friend of mine who plays a concert bayan told me his instrument was factory-tuned to A-446. This may be fine for polka players who want their instrument to "cut through" a trumpet or saxophone section, but it makes the instrument practically unplayable with concert ensembles tuned to standard pitch.

For "Por Una Cabeza," I chose to use my violin register: the stop which consists of two unison ranks of reeds, one of which is tuned slightly sharp to create a shimmering vibrato or, in pipe organ parlance, a "vox celeste" effect. In addition, I had my violin register custom-tuned very dry; the two reeds are tuned nearly to the same pitch. It is a very refined and beautiful sound, not jarring as in a wet-tuned instrument. Maestro Jansons confirmed my decision when I played a brief excerpt using my violin stop and then with my master stop. He remarked, "Yes, use the former; the latter is a little too coarse."

After the rehearsal, one of my friends in the cello section accosted me in the backstage hallway and quipped, "Henry! Good to have you play with us again. You're so amazing, I can't believe it. You just show up, and at the first rehearsal the Maestro calls you up front, and Gil Shaham, the world-famous violinist, shakes your hand and compliments you. What irony! I have been playing in the back of the cello section with this orchestra for twenty-five years, and no one has ever taken notice of, or complimented me!"

We both laughed, and I replied, "Perhaps, but you, despite your anonymity, make a helluva lot more money than me!"

At the final performance on Saturday, Maestro Jansons and Mr. Shaham decided to play "Por Una Cabeza" twice; once during the program, and again as an encore. The audience was thrilled and before Mr. Shaham left the stage, he shook my hand and said, "Thank you for playing the tango with me." (Henry is pictured her in Heinz Hall, with the PSO in 1996 in a photo by Craig Thompson)

I replied, "The pleasure was mine." Indeed, it was.

These concerts marked the 36th and 37th times that Henry has played with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO).

Jon Hammond in Concert

Jon Hammond was in Castelfidardo Italy at Excelsior CEMEX accordion factory for one week preparing to present a new custom instrument at the upcoming Frankfurt Musikmesse, which will be his 18th consecutive Musikmesse.

Two days prior to departing to Italy the Jon Hammond Trio performed to a full house on November 15th in Louisville KY at The Jazz Factory.

Now back in San Francisco Jon is preparing for a series of holiday concerts in the San Francisco County Jail #8 Women's facility with trio members Ronnie Smith (drums) and Alex Budman (tenor sax). Their program will consist of Christmas favorites and selections from the new Jon Hammond trio album "Hammond's Bolero" which contains a musical tribute to the victims of Sept. 11th.

On December 10th, Jon plays solo at Opera Plaza in San Francisco which will mark the 5th consective year performing at this holiday party. On New Years Eve Jon will be performing at the Hotel Charlotte in Groveland CA, just 23 miles from Yosemite Park before returning to New York City to record a new album schedule for 2004 release.

For more information and upcoming concerts, please visit or e-mail: or call: 212-967-1858


Mario Tacca and Mary Mancini December Concerts

Famed duo Mario Tacca and Mary Mancini will perform several concerts during the December Holiday Season.

  • Mario Tacca and Mary Mancini
    Sat. December 6 - 7:00 PM
    Magnanini Winery, Walkill, NY
  • Mario Tacca & Mary Mancini & The Brass Apple Quartet "A Glorious Christmas Concert"
    Sunday December 7 - 2:00 PM
    Church of the Assumption, First St. Peekskill, NY
  • Mario Tacca - Sat. December 13 - 7:00 PM
    Magnanini Winery, Walkill, NY
  • Mario Tacca - Sunday December 14 - 1:00 PM
    Magnanini Winery, Walkill, NY

Mario Tacca was born in Italy. Later during his childhood, he moved to the Alsace Lorraine region of France where he began his musical studies. 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 dazzles audiences across the US and around the world with his unmatched virtuosity on the Accordion and his consistently exciting interpretations of music from the International repertoire to the classics to pop.

Mary Mancini is known and acclaimed Nationally and Internationally for her vocal versatility and command of all styles of music. Her repertoire includes eight languages. From performing our National Anthem for the NY Yankees and the Milwaukee Brewers, to concert halls and theaters across the US and around the world, Mary Mancini consistently brings audiences to their feet with her musical interpretations of International favorites, Broadway music, opera, to the classics, to pop. In addition, her inspiring renditions of music from the Sacred music repertoire have touched the hearts of people around the world. She has been called "the woman with the golden voice."

Her continuing list of achievements and honorary recognition awards include: The International Festival of the Arts (Canada), The Chinese Government, The American Song Festival, The American Cancer Society, Guardia Lombardi Society, Circolo da Vinci Society, Westchester Community College- Il Club Italiano, and recently the Lifetime Award for Achievement in the Arts presented by the Order of the Sons of Italy in America, NYS Grand Lodge Foundation.

For all inquiries about Mario Tacca, Mary Mancini, and Gioia Productions please contact:
Gioia Productions, P.O. Box 784, Crompond, New York 10517 or e-mail: or visit:

Django Reinhordt at Birdland in New York

French accordionist 25 year old Ludovic Beier was featured as part of the French Ensemble performing at Birdland in New York.

Members of the French Ensemble: Angelo Debarre (Django Virtuoso), Dorado Schmitt (Gypsy Guitar), Samson Schmitt (Gypsy Rhythm Guitar), Serge Camps (Rhythm Guitar),and Ludovic Beier (Accordion) appeared at the annual Django Reinhardt Festival at the Birdland in New York.

Django Reinhardt (guitarist) and Stephane Grappelli (Violinist) were stars in the The Quintet of the Hot Club of France, which performed in the 1930's in Paris. The Quintet was extremely popular and played jazz and pop standards from the 1920's and 1930's. Django Reinhardt, on gypsy guitar, was considered a genius.

He created a very original style of swing music and influenced jazz dancers and musicians over the past decades. In fact, Swing Bands love to play "Le Jazz Hot" for avid Swing dancers at special events.

This was the third annual Django Reinhardt Festival, performed at Birdland, offering a series of concerts from November 19 through November 24.

Rose City Accordion Camp 2004 Dates

The Rose City Accordion Camp will be held again at Silver Falls Conference Center in Sublimity Oregon from June 6th to 10th 2004. This will be the seventh annual camp and again will be under the musical direction of Joe Morelli from Vancouver BC, assisted by Ilmar Kuljus from Spokane, WA.

Additional workshops will be given by Joe Baccellieri from Portland and Frank Marocco from California.

More further details e-mail

Film Makes debut in Montreal on December 19th, 2003

The movie “Roger Toupin, Épicier Variété" was premiered at the Montreal Documentary Festival to a long ovation. The movie produced by Benoit Pilon follows the end of a corner store in his rapidly changing Montreal neighborhood.

Whether you need a liter of milk or a paint brush, the morning paper or a half-price Star Wars ball cap, Marché Sureau can provide for you. Opened in 1939 by the late Raymond Sureau, now run by his son, Réal, the cramped store in Montreal's east end is typical of the dépanneurs that once seemed to occupy every second corner in the city.

But as consumers' tastes have changed and big grocery chains have extended their hours, stores like Marché Sureau, with its delivery bicycle propped out front, are slowly vanishing from the Montreal streetscape.

In a film that premiered to a long ovation at a Montreal documentary festival last week, Benoit Pilon follows the demise of one such store in his rapidly gentrifying Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood. Roger Toupin, épicier variété follows the final months before Roger Toupin's Berri St. store is sold and converted into an architect's office. The film company, Amazone Film, describes the project as the "chronicle of an endangered species of store."

In an interview, Mr. Pilon said he was inspired to make the film after watching Mr. Toupin minding his humble store, talking to friends, sipping coffee, playing the accordion and on a good day, making a sale.

The film opens on 19 December in Montreal Cinéma Parallèle Ex-Centris in French with English subtitles.

Minnesota Accordion Club Gathering

The Minnesota Accordion Club held their "NE Accordion Festival 2003" on November 7th and 8th at Kramarczuk's East European Deli.

Some of the performers included: Skeets Langley & the Tantara Trio, Dan Newton & the Cafe Accordion Trio, Mike Alongi, Larry Malmberg, Minnesota Accordion Orchestra, Czech Area Concertina Club, Tom Sullivan and Hank Thunander.

Bandoneon Artist to appear with Philadelphia Orchestra

The Philadelphia Orchestra under the direction of Charles Dutoit will present a Valentine's Day Concert featuring bandoneón artist Daniel Binelli at the Kimmel Center - Verizon Hall.

  • RIMSKY-KORSAKOV "Capriccio Espagnol"
  • PIAZZOLLA "Milonga del Angel"
  • PIAZZOLLA "Aconcagua"
  • CHABRIER "España"
  • PIAZZOLLA "Oblivion"
  • PIAZZOLA "Adios Nonino"
  • RAVEL "Bolero"

Daniel Binelli is a world-renowned bandoneónist and composer, who once toured with Astor Piazzolla and his New Tango Sextet. He has recorded over 30 CD's related to tango music and originally made his debut with Osvaldo Pugliese's Orchestra in 1968, with whom he worked for 14 years.

This unique and sensuous instrument is showcased in a wide range of compositions, many of which have roots in the tango of Binelli’s native land.

A seasoned composer in his own right, Binelli is also widely acclaimed as the foremost exponent and torchbearer of the music of Astor Piazzolla. In 1989 Daniel Binelli joined Astor Piazzolla´s New Tango Sextet, touring with them Brazil, Chile, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Holland and Switzerland before Mr. Piazzolla’s death in 1992.

From 1968 to 1982, Binelli was bandoneónist and arranger at the prestigious Osvaldo Publiese’s tango orchestra. Mr. Binelli’s late spring 1998 tour of Japan with Martha Argerich, guitarist Eduardo Isaac and the National Symphony of Argentina, conducted by Pedro Ignacio Calderon, was an unqualified success.

Conductors with whom Binelli has worked include Charles Dutoit, Lalo Schiffrin, Franz Paul Decker, Isaiah Jackson , Germán Gutiérrez, Simón Blech, Herrera de la Fuente, José Carli, Luis Gorelik, Jamil Maluf, Alfredo Rugeles and Francisco Rettig. Binelli conducted Piazzolla´s operita: "María de Buenos Aires" in Sicily (Italy) with Italian singer, Milva.

He was chosen "Year 2000 Guest Artist" at T.C.U of Fort Worth, Texas. In October 27th, 2001, Binelli performed with the Montreal Symphonic Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Charles Dutoit, at Carnegie Hall, in New York. In September 2003, Daniel Binelli played four concerts with the Sidney Symphonic Orchestra, conducted By Charles Dutoit, at the Sydney Opera, Australia. His upcoming appearances in the United States include:

  • February 2, 2004: Binelli-Ferman - Washington DC
  • February 14, 2004: Binelli with Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra
  • February 19/20, 2004: Binelli with Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
  • February 29, 2004: Binelli-Ferman at the Chicago Cultural Center
  • March 3, 2004: Binelli-Ferman at the Chicago old Town School of Folk Music

Dr. Schimmel Presents Tango/Fado/Reality on 12/21/03

Dr. William Schimmel has been presenting a series of concerts in the New York-New Jersey area that is centered around three musical elements: The Tango, The Fado (a sad Portuegese Song) and Reality (compositions with pre-existing musics). Joining Dr. Schimmel is Allyssa Lamb on vocals and melodica. Allyssa has Studied extensively with Dr. Schimmel and has received the Neupauer Conservatory Order the Shield Diploma under his tutalage. She also has done extensive research in Cuba, Spain, and Portugal. She has her own band, Las Rubias del Norte, and they appear regularly in various downtown club venues.

The December 21st concert will feature a new work by Dr. Schimmel entitled: The Joyful Mysteries (in keeping with the holiday season). The work uses Pre-existing Renaissance materials, explores the voice and melodica, but also employs The Tango and the Fado as well. Dr. Schimmel's symphony for accordion, voice and melodica (Love Pharmacy) will also be performed.

In addition to performing with Allyssa, Dr. Schimmel will do some solo works as well, most notably: Por una Cabeza by Carlos Gardel, which Dr. Schimmel recorded with The Tango Project (a group that he co-founded) and performed, as well as was seen and featured in the Tango scene in the film : Scent of a Woman starring Al Pacino (for which pacino won an Oscar), as well as True Lies which stars Arnold Schwartzeneger and Jamie Lee Curtis.

He will also perform other works from Scent of a Woman as well. Allyssa will be featured in some traditional Fados as well as a Schumann Lieder performed as a Fado. The concert will take place at The Community Presbyterian Church in Ringwood, New Jersey. The concert will take place on December 21st at 7:00 PM.

Plans are being made for a 2004 tour. For More info:

Peoria Area Accordion Club Celebrates 12 Years
The Peoria Area Accordion Club (PAAC), celebrating its twelfth year, is one of the few clubs in America with an active band of accordionists. There are an average of one dozen players, all piano accordions, including a bass accordion. The group rehearses the first Tuesday of the month at St. Jude's Church in Dunlap, IL. A second rehearsal is scheduled one hour prior to the monthly meeting and program on the third Sunday. Participation is open to anyone.

The PAAC Band plays somewhere every month, an average of 18 times annually. The engagements include retirement centers, churches, restaurants (for various civic group events), ethnic festivals, professional baseball games and in the Independence Day Parade. There is a modest performance fee which goes to the PAAC treasury. These PAAC Band's performance fees exceed the membership income! The repertoire consists of Italian, German, Big and/Pops and Holiday standards in multi-part arrangements for all playing skill levels.

Nine members of the band were on hand to perform for the annual "Yule Like Peoria" holiday inaugural event in downtown Peoria, Friday, November 28, 6:30-9:00pm. The PAAC Band's appearance at the P'ere Marquette Hotel draws consistent crowds as they stroll from one entertainment site to another.

The PAAC meets the 3rd Sunday of the month at 2:30 PM in the Creve Coeur Community Center located at 586 Groveland Ave, Creve Coeur, IL. (In June and December they meet the 2nd Sunday of the month.) All welcome.

For more information, please visit: or call
contact PAAC President: Jay Landers e-mail:

Schimmel Records Baryshnikov Work for Sex in the City

Dr. Schimmel has recorded a work composed by Mikhail Baryshnikov for an upcoming episode of HBO's Sex and the City. With "Sex and the City" into its final season, time is running out for unlucky-in-love columnist Carrie Bradshaw to find The Guy.

Carrie's (Sarah Jessica Parker) love life could, however, turn around or 'pirouette' you might say as the show has signed Mikhail Baryshnikov to appear in multiple episodes as Carrie's newest love interest.

The Latvian-born ballet star will play a well-known European artist not a dancer, in the final eight episodes of the series, which will run early next year. He may make brief appearances in the final episodes of the show's summer run.

Baryshnikov hasn't acted in front of the camera for more than a decade. His best-known roles are in the 1985 Cold War drama "White Nights" and 1977's "The Turning Point," for which he earned an Oscar nomination.

Dr. Schimmel is a frequent contributor to sex and the city episodes both as Soloist as well as a member of the tango project and as an ensemble player.


December Dates at a Glance
For important dates in December, please refer to the Future Events page located on this site, by selecting from the menu to the left, or by clicking here.

Note: In order to provide as much information as possible for the United States National Accordion News stories, many different sources are often researched to gather additional information and pictures to complement what has been submitted. This information is then correlated to provide the news on in the spirit of which it is intended, which is to provide a free news service to the Accordion Community, specifically in the United Sates. If you feel any copyright has been violated please advise and the article will be removed immediately.

Thank you for visiting, please click to return to top of page