In 2009, Grayson became the first person to win the Coupe Mondiale top classical category and the Coupe Mondiale Virtuoso Entertainment category in the same year! In 2009 he also won the Roland International V-Accordion Competition & Festival, Rome and the Primus Ikaalinen International TV Competition, Finland, showing his amazing musical versatility. In September 2010 Grayson won the Trophée Mondial Classique World Accordion Championships and retired from competitions.
At the 2010 Coupe Mondiale in Varaždin, Croatia, Grayson was elected to the prestigious Music Committee of the Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA) and was re-elected to this position in 2014. He currently serves as a regular member of the Jury for numerous competitions around the globe.
Grayson Masefield was born in Auckland, New Zealand on the 10th September 1987 to accordion playing parents Ian and Heather Masefield. His musical career began at 3 years of age with Fay Schaw, then focused his studies in the entertainment field with Maurice Jones, while also playing in the North Shore Accordion Orchestras. Grayson began classical training at Auckland University with Stephanie Poole and then went to France for seminars and tuition with Frédéric Deschamps in 2007. He is currently undertaking his post graduate studies in Switzerland at the HEMU (University of Music Lausanne) with Prof. Stéphane Chapuis.
Grayson has been invited to perform in many countries around the world, including France, Spain, Germany, UK, Portugal, Slovakia, Italy, USA, Canada, Russia, Lithuania, Portugal, China, Switzerland, Austria, New Zealand, Australia and Finland.
Grayson will perform two programs, one on Friday evening and one on Saturday evening, one featuring concert works and a second one featuring virtuoso entertainment music.
We look forward to welcoming Grayson to our ATG festival in Chicago, as our International guest artist!
Renowned Chinese accordionist Xia Gang; Associate Professor at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music; Director of Chinese Accordion Association and Chairman of the China Accordion Club will be one of the featured soloists at the 2016 ATG Competition and Festival.
Born in 1980 in Chengdu, China, Xia Gang started his accordion journey with Professor Wu Shouzhi at the age of 4. When he was 12, he entered the affiliated Junior Music Academy of the Sichuan Conservatory of music where he won many local, provincial and national competitions. Discoverd by Professor Oleg Sharov of St. Petersburg State Conservatory of Music, Xia went on to study the accordion professionally in Russia where he graduated from Russia’s prestigious St. Petersburg State Conservatory of Music in 2003, earning a Master’s Degree.
In 1999 he won the First Prize at the “Baltica-harmonica” International Accordion Competition in St. Petersburg, Russia, becoming the first Chinese to win First place in the International competition with Bayan (Button Accordion) and was invited to represent China to play solo concert at the 16th Annual International Accordion Festival held in St. Petersburg in 2000. Attracting participants from 20 countries, Mr. Xia’s performance there was well-received. In both 2002 and 2004, he earned 4th place at the CIA “Coupe Mondiale” World Accordion Championships . Also in 2002, Mr. Xia performed at the St. Petersburg State Conservatory with the Russian Folk Orchestra of St. Petersburg. From 2000 through 2007 he presented solo concerts at conservatories throughout China, including Beijing’s Central Conservatory, as well as those in Shanghai, Tianjin, Sichuan, Kunming, Guangzhou, Anhui, and others. In February 2008 he accepted an invitation to perform in Singapore at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) Lee Foundation Theatre. In 2011, Xia Gang represented China, performing a solo recital at the 64th Coupe Mondiale World Accordion Championships in Shanghai. In 2014, Xia Gang performed as guest artist at the 74th ATG (Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International) Annual Festival in San Francisco. Xia Gang’s CD Recording "From Tango to Peking Opera" published by China Record Corporation in 2003 is the 1st Bayan (Button Accordion) CD in China.
He currently serves as the General Secretary of Organizing Committee for both the Lira International Music Festival in Russia and the Zhongsin International Music Competition in Singapore. Under his organization, the Zhongsin International Music Competition is celebrating its ninth year, averaging 10,000 participants nationwide each year, including traditional Chinese instruments, vocals, keyboards and other musical genres. Every year, well-known musicians and professors are invited to take part in the festival as experts and judges, as well as giving concerts during the competition, creating an enriching experience for both the students and parents. An ambassador for the accordion in China, he has represented the Chinese Accordion Association on trips to Denmark, France, Hungary, Slovakia, New Zealand, Republic of China, and others.
Xia Gang has been invited to take part on the judging panel for many prestigious music competitions. Many of his students have won prizes at international and national competitions as well, the total number of awards is more than 40, including a 3rd place winner at the “Castelfidardo Accordion Competition” in Italy, which is considered an “A Class International Competition” by the China Ministry of Culture. Xia Gang is the author of "A Sheet Music Series Book of Bayan Progress Studies". Published by Sichuan University Press in 2011, this is China's first system of Bayan (Button Accordion) teaching method and is now widely used in the major schools of music.
Xia Gang will be assisted by Tao Tong (Tenor) and Jing Qiao (Violin). Tao Tong, a rising star in the operatic circles, began his study, in 2000, of vocal music under Professor Guonong Gan in Sichuan Conservatory of Music. While completing his Master's Degree program in vocal music, he was selected to attend the operatic performance Masterclass produced by Lotfi Mansouri, the well-known opera master. In 2007, he was sent, on a Royal Scholarship, to Netherland’s Amsterdam Opera House to undergo a four-year rigorous training under the tutorship of Mme. Roberta Alexander, professor and soprano, and, later, of Mme. Ljuba Kazarnovskaya. From 2014 until now, Mr Tong has been working with Metropolitan Opera Tenor Prof. Allan Glassman.
As he launches his career, Mr. Tong has put together a comprehensive repertoire of major Italian and French operatic works. Before he came to US in 2013, he had already sung multiple operatic roles across Europe and Asia, as Fenton in Falstaff, Remendado in Carmen, Hoffman in De zaak Hoffman, Rodolfo in La Boheme, Cavaradossi in Tosca, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, and Alfredo in La Traviata. He has been contracted to perform onstage in the Brasov National Opera House (Romania) and the Amsterdam Opera House (Netherland), among many others.
Singing also in genres other than opera, Tao Tong has been an active participant in, and an enthusiastic performer for, recitals, music festivals, and chamber music. Over the years, he had made his debuts in Gala Concerts in Slovenia, Junes Ambassadeurs Lyriques Gala Concerts in Montreal, International Opera Festival in Brasov of Romania, Opera Festival in Netherland, Opera Festival in National Radio Netherland, and Serata Italiana. Last but not the least, on Dec 31st, 2012, Mr. Tong, at the invitation of Ljuba Kazarnovskaya, had joined his former tutor in presenting a New Year Concert in Great Hall of The Moscow Conservatory, one of the world’s most prestigious concert halls. His singing received critical accliam from L’Opera of Milan, Italy.
Jing Qiao, a native of Sichuan China, started studying the violin at the age of 6. After attending pre-college at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music, she studied in Singapore at the Singapore National University Conservatory of Music, then completed a Bachelor of Music at the Oberlin Conservatory with Milan Vitek and a Master of Music at Northwestern University with Almita Vamos.
As a violin fellow at Aspen music festival, Jing studied with Sylvia Rosenberg. As an orchestral player, she has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra,the Grant Park Orchestra, and Music of Baroque ensemble in Chicago.
Recently Jing also appeared as a guest principal second violin with Minnesota orchestra. In addition to participating in international competitions she also performs regularly throughout the U.S. and Europe..
|Murl Allen Sanders is a musician, composer, teacher and recording artist who has been active in the Seattle area music scene and across the United States, Canada, England, Brazil and Japan. Murl has worked with such diverse artists as Chuck Berry, Etta James, Il Divo, Glenn Yarbrough, Seattle Symphony, Brazilian accordion virtuoso Chico Chagas, virtuosos Stas Venglevski and Gary Blair, Leroy Bell, Peter Duchin, Alarm Will Sound, Seattle Modern Orchestra, Cascade Symphony, Everett Philarmonic, Orchestra Seattle/Seattle Chamber Singers, The Von Trapp Children, Theodore Bikel, Leslie Gore, Barbara Lamb, Susan Pascal, Warren Rand, Pearl Django, Michael Tomlinson and Kelly Harland, among many others.
Murl teaches piano and accordion privately and is also adjunct faculty at Cornish College of the Arts and Shoreline Community College in Seattle. He has received two grants from The Seattle Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs to compose “She Blows Hot and Cold” for chorus and symphony orchestra which premiered May 2, 2010 and a grant to compose his “Accordion Concerto No. 2” which premiered in 2007 with Orchestra Seattle/Seattle Chamber Singers. His “Accordion Concerto No. 1”, a commission from Orchestra Seattle/Seattle Chamber Singers, premiered in 2003. Murl received a 2010 and 2009 ASCAP plus award for his concert compositions from The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. We look forward to welcoming Murl to our 76th Competition and Festival!