The International lineup of performances at the ATG Festival will feature the following renowned guests. Please see below for each artists' bio.

Oleg Sharov (Russia)
Oleg Sharov was born in 1946 in St.Petersburg-Russia and is a product of the wide range of musical facilities offered by the former Soviet State system. After preparatory schooling, he attended, at the age of eight, one of the Children's Music Schools in St. Petersburg, of which there are no less than fifty in this great musically famous city. His chosen instrument was the accordion.

After 'Middle Level' studies, he secured one of only 20 places available that year, at the world famous St. Petersburg "Rimsky Korsakov" Conservatory of Music. He then completed five years of study, and was invited to join one of the privileged classes called 'Asperantura', which led to his appointment as a tutor at the Conservatory. He is now Senior Professor of Music and Head of the Accordion Department at this famous Conservatory of Music.

Oleg Sharov has toured extensively in the USSR, Finland and Eastern Europe. It was not until Peristroika, that he was able to tour in the West and Scandinavia (1987) and the USA (1990).

In recent years, Oleg Sharov has given premieres of about twenty original works for free bass accordion of Russian and European composers. One of these was the premiere performance in the UK (1996) of 'Concerto for Accordion and Orchestra' composed by Ivor Hodgson, with the Manchester Camarata Symphony Orchestra.

Oleg Sharov has continued to enhance his international reputation by touring Japan, France, Chine, Spain, Finland, Italy, Sweden, Portugal, Denmark, Switzeland, Narway, Yugoslavia, Belgium and Poland in recent years. In addition, he has given Master Classes at the Royal Academies of Music in London, Copenhagen and Antwerp. Also he has been invited to International Accordion Seminars in Barcelona, Tokyo as well as in Finland, Norway, China and Poland.

Oleg Sharov has be asked to adjudicate at Competitions such as the Coupe Mondiale, CMA Trofeo Mondiale and USA Grand Prix a number of times. He also continues to organise two International Accordion Festivals each year in St. Petersburg.

Oleg Sharove has transcribed several classical pieces for the free bass accordion including "The Blue Danube" (Johann Strauss), Hungarian Rhapsody Nos 2 &14 (F. Liszt), Gothic Suite (L. Boelman) and several Russian melodies which have been published in Germany.

His concert repertoire includes music from Baroque to Avantgarde. ( Vivaldi, J.S.Bach, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Repnikov, Banchikov, Olczak and others). He is regarded by his peers as one of the foremost accomplished 'free bass' accordionists in the world today. In 1985 he was awarded the title of "Honour Artist of the Russian Republic".

Brian Laurie Accordion Showband (Scotland)
The Brian Laurie Accordion Showband from Paisley, Scotland is formed from three different leveled orchestras, each conducted by Brian Laurie. The composite Accordion Showband has a very high level of playing, with each of the single orchestras having achieved first place at the UK Accordion Championships.
The showband has traveled the world, playing in the USA, Canada and most recently Germany. The band appearance at the ATG Festival this year will marks its second USA tour, and plans have already been made for a concert tour in Germany in 2012.

Sergio Scappini (Italy)
Italian accordion artist Sergio Scappini is an internationally renowned accordion artist, composer and educator. Currently teaching at the "Giuseppe Verdi" music academy in Milan, Sergio has competed in several national and international competitions, and has performed with several prestigious orchestras including the Teatro alla Scala Orchestra and the Swiss Chamber Orchestra.
Sergio is responsible for countless world creations of accordion solo music and accordion concertos by R. Grisoni, L. Francesconi, M. Panni, and M. Moretti. He has also recorded for radio and television in Italy, Switzerland and Portugal.

Danilo Di Paolonicola (Italy)
Seven-time Diatonic Accordion Champion Danilo DI Paolonicola. Danilo began learning the diatonic accordion at the age of six and immediately distinguished himself as a precocious talent, going on to win an incredible seven "World Champion" titles on the Diatonic Accordion, as well as numerous national and international competitions.
Among the many competitions won, Danilo in 2007 with his group "Ethnic Project" won the competition for world's most important jazz accordion "Premio Città DI Castelfidardo" and again in the same year with his band, also won the "Premio Stefano Bizzarri" where he had the honor to open the gala concert of Richard Galliano.
Danilo studied jazz and accordion Varietè with Renzo Ruggieri, where he attended advanced courses at the Berklee Shcool in Perugia (Umbria Jazz). He has given concerts in Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium, Croatia, Holland, Hungary, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the USA.

Chris Gorton (USA)
2010 Roland U.S. V-Accordion Festival winner, was Christopher Gorton of Providence, Rhode Island. An accordionist 19 years old, Gorton started competing at the age of 7 and has participated in many competitions, including the CIA Coupe Mondiale Festival in 2003, and has won the US Accordion Championship in Classic Music in 2002 and 2003.
Christopher competed in the International V-Accordion Festival in Rome, Italy representing the USA.

Alex and Peter Chudolij (USA)
Founder and President of Music Magic and Accordions USA, Alex Chudolij, started his musical career on October 8, 1964 at the age of 6. For the next 10 years he studied the piano accordion as a student of well known professor, teacher and performer Tulio Gasperini in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
During the latter part of his formal training Alex earned numerous awards in solo, band and ensemble categories at Rhode Island state competitions as well as national American Accordionists Association championships held in Pittsburgh, PA, Washington, DC and Springfield, MA.
As a teenager Alex was already making numerous concert and festival appearances, pleasing the crowds with classic showpieces and his own concert arrangements.
In 1991, Alex recorded a unique one man band instrumental album, "Electric Kozak" which was recorded using a midi accordion. This recording made its debut at the Garden State Arts Center, where it sold over 200 copies in its first day of sales. For the next four years Alex's Electric Kozak Band had been providing entertainment for crowds of all sizes and for all occasions, including a gala reception for then Olympic gold medalists Oksana Baiul and Victor Petrenko. Alex's wife, Lillianna, performed as the band’s lead singer until 1996, when Alex retired from regular band engagements and subsequently founded one of North America’s first and largest Internet based accordion dealerships – Music Magic USA.
For his performances in Orlando at the ATG Festival, Alex will be joined by his son Peter Chudolij.

Alex Meixner
2007 Grammy nominee Alex Meixner began his performing career began at age 6 with his two sisters and father in an ethnic folk ensemble. From these early experiences through headline appearances at music festivals throughout the US; concert performances with the London Symphony Orchestra, Sandy Duncan and his own jazz and ethnic ensembles; as well as over 50 recordings, Meixner has developed a unique musical mix that appeals to a wide cross-section of audiences.
Meixner’s formative musical studies were on piano and piano accordion, but he quickly branched out on drums, diatonic button accordion, bass and trumpet, his college major. This instrumental versatility is combined with a musical background that has included intense studies and performance of jazz, classical, pop, polkas and many ethnic folk music genres with some of the leading artists in the world. His talents in music and comedy were even featured on the Tonight Show on NBC in 2004. Most recently, his “Polka Freak Out” CD with Bubba Hernandez garnered a Grammy nomination in December, 2007.
Currently based in Palm City, FL, Alex is performing as a solo artist and with numerous touring ensembles. His solo programs- “Fascinating Rhythms of the World” focus on the fusion of Slavic folk music and Jazz, but also include the inflections of folk, pop and classical styles from Latin America, Africa and other sections of Europe. This music is the basis for a series of multicultural music education seminars and performances which are currently available through the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts “Artists in Education” program.

Steve Albini
Accordion player extraordinaire Steve Albini of Roland USA, is a multi-instrumentalist and singer. His performances of Italian music fused with jazz and world rhythms have brought him international acclaim.
He has enchanted audiences throughout the United States and Italy with a blend of musical virtuosity and artistic passion. Steve’s live performances span Italian, world, jazz and Latin American genres. As a studio musician, he is often called upon by artists, composers, and producers to add his touch to their projects. Steve also has a background in retail music sales.
Steve resides in Northern California with his family. Steve joined Roland Corporation US in June 2001 as a V-Accordion® Product Specialist and Sales Consultant.

Bruce Gassman
Bruce Gassman "The KING of Rock 'n Roll Accordion" began the accordion at age 9, studying with Jim Greer at the Tommy Tucker Studios. One year later he and his father took the Silver Streak Train to Miami and Bruce entertained the travelers in the “club” car going to Florida and coming home. While in Miami, Bruce performed twice at the Casablanca Hotel. At age 11 he gave his first Senior Recital at Normandy Hall and at age 12, now studying with Alfred Manfredi, he was the guest soloist with a Symphony Orchestra’s performance at Convention Hall in Asbury Park, NJ.
Bruce played with the Asbury Park Boys Club Orchestra and then auditioned for and won the National Boy's Club of America Music Scholarship Award and for the next four years he studied with famed accordionist, Joseph Biviano of New York City.
After performing extensively with various groups for almost 20 years, in 1992 he stopped playing to focus on family and his real estate career. However, after a 15 year sabbatical, Bruce knew it was time to "get back in the game", so in 2007 he attended an AAA meeting in Hazlet, NJ. In attendance were Carmen Carozza, Mary Tokarski and Dr. Carmelo Pino, who was also a member of the Biviano Orchestra in the early 60’s, the same time as Bruce. That meeting turned out to be the new beginning.
Later that year Bruce joined the Accordion Pops Orchestra conducted by Daniel Desiderio and in 2008 became the first accordionist ever to perform with Holiday Express, a group of 80 professional musicians and 600 volunteers who, from Thanksgiving till Christmas, bring the gift of human kindness to those less fortunate. In 2009, Holiday Express performed more than 50 shows at Developmental Centers, Psychiatric Hospitals and Children’s Special Schools. Bruce had the pleasure of playing at 25 of them. Today Bruce enjoys performing at festivals across the nation, and has recently released a popular CD recording.

Gordon Kohl
Gordon Kohl began the accordion at the age of seven. As a teenager, he was already teaching, and by age 20 he had established his own accordion, piano and organ school. Meantime, he was earning a degree in marine biology.
Gordon's playing credentials would fill an entire page. He has made TV commercials, video tracks for projects such as the AIDS Foundation and radio and TV shows, including work with Shirley Jones, Andy Griffith, and the KPBS Radio Ethnic Hour. He has appeared in Las Vegas, at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, California, with Myron Floren, and at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego for a July Fourth baseball game. He plays every weekend around San Diego and at Oktoberfests in the mountains. He has developed a special expertise on the digital accordion, and he conducts acoustic and electronic workshops.
But what Gordon really enjoys is teaching. The contact with his students helps him stay in tune with changing trends in music education. Folks relatively new to the accordion these days, he says, want to study a variety of musical styles.
Gordon states, "Teaching requires the teacher to learn along with the students, exploring ideas of what the accordion left hand con do to add harmony and rhythm to today's musical dance styles such as Salsa, Java, Latin Tango and Beguine. These same students want to learn Zydeco, Klezmer, Tex Mex, Cajun and Musette, challenging both them and the teacher."
Gordon has available quite a variety of original accordion publications. Several books of music written by Gordon and cassettes of his music reflect quite well this fellow's diverse interests. Gordon also has available learning tapes and teaching materials, some of which he uses in workshops.
Gordon's a competent, skilled, dedicated "multicultural" accordionist. The ever-changing accordion community needs more like him!

Jeff Lisenby Trio
JEFF LISENBY, jazz accordionist extraordinaire. Think “accordion” and “jazz” don’t belong in the same sentence? Just wait, it gets better.
Lisenby, who holds a master’s degree from The Conservatory of Music of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, is no stranger to musical oxymorons. His experience runs the gamut of styles.
He has twice been the national accordion champion and a bronze medalist in the Coupe Mondiale international classical accordion competitions. That may not sound like a big deal to us in the U.S., but in Europe, Russia, Scandinavia, China, and New Zealand, where the accordion is as common as the guitar, it’s huge. But classical music wasn’t the only style he practiced.
“When I was a kid,” Lisenby said, “my goal was to win the world accordion championship, which was for ‘serious’ music. So I was practicing 7-8 hours a day when I was a teenager. I would get tired of practicing the ‘heavy’ music, and then I would start playing pop or jazz standard tunes and improvising on them. It was a good musical mix for me.”
Lisenby used his genius on the accordion and keyboards to carve a niche market for himself, and gained performances with the Nashville, Kansas City, and Los Angeles Symphonies, the Palm Beach Pops Orchestra, and a gig accompanying Luciano Pavarotti during part of his U.S. tour.
Certainly not limited to classical music, Lisenby toured extensively with the Mills Brothers, Boots Randolph, and Brenda Lee, and has accompanied Lee Greenwood, Donna Summer, Tricia Yearwood, Three-Dog Night, the Coasters, David Cassidy, Marty Stuart, Jo Dee Messina, Pam Tillis, Loretta Lynn, Roy Clark, and Dolly Parton, to name a few.
Most recently, Lisenby was honored to be the music director on Broadway for RING OF FIRE: The Music of Johnny Cash, for which he pulled from his extensive experience backing country artists in Nashville.
Lisenby is also one of the first-call accordionists for recording sessions in Nashville. Projects he has worked on include the Grammy-winning album: “Songs from the Neighborhood; the Music of Mister Rogers”, and jingles for Budweiser and Sutherland’s Lumber (which he also wrote and produced).
When he’s not on the road performing around the country, Lisenby teaches for Belmont University’s School of Music and is active in the Nashville recording scene.

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