Nunzio, 97, of Basking Ridge passed away on October 19, 2010.
Born in Sicily, he came to the U.S. at the age of 8 where his parents
settled in Newark. He became a world-famous accordionist, teacher, composer,
and arranger. He had a music studio in Newark and later in Nutley where
he trained many champion accordionists who became successful professional
made his debut in a recital at Town Hall in 1933, and an appearance
in Carnegie Hall the following year. In 1938 Charles Nunzio became a
founding Board member of the American Accordionists Association along
with Pietro Frosini, Abe Goldman, Sydney Dawson, Anthony Galla-Rini,
Charles Magnante, Pietro Deiro, Gene Von Hallberg, Joe Biviano, John
Gart, Sam Roland and Byron Streep.
In the late 1930's he was doing an average of 35 radio shows a week
on WOR, NBC, CBS and making commercial recordings for Decca, Victor,
and Columbia. His 40-piece accordion orchestra won first prize at the
1939 New York World's Fair. He also performed with Guy Lombardo, Rudy
Vallee, Meyer Davis and Lester Lanin.
WW II he enlisted in the US Navy, where he played on coast-to-coast
programs with the "Blue Jackets". Later, stationed at Bunker
Hill Naval Air Station, Peru, Indiana, he assembled a six-piece orchestra,
the "Melody Mates." They played three radio broadcasts weekly
and all the dances for the Navy personnel.
consummate performer, he received many awards, one of which summarized
his 70-year career: "Presented to The Legendary Charles Nunzio
in recognition of your contributions in developing the accordion's American
Evolution as artist, teacher, composer, and innovator and as an inspiring
idol to so many accordionists. The impact of your contributions will
forever be felt."
was predeceased by his wife Helen (Vitiello) Nunzio and is survived
by two sons, John of Montville and Charles of Nutley, many nieces and
nephews and long-time companion Jean Garzione of Basking Ridge.