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Today (Friday) in New Zealand is a national holiday, so many people are taking advantage of that and going away for a long weekend's holiday. This means plenty of extra work for entertainers in many places! Many are beginning for the year after holidays, and I would like to wish one and all the very best in whatever it is you hope to achieve in your own playing this year.
Contributed by Arnold Kutzli and Martin Frey
The 8th International Accordion Festival will be held in Innsbruck from May 21st to 24th and includes competitions, gala concerts, city street festivals and a huge open air festival as a finale. Over 300 orchestras and ensembles from 14 countries are expected to take part and the competition winner will receive an accordion, courtesy of Hohner.
Performers at the festival include:
On Saturday night, music groups and orchestras will provide non-stop entertainment, including Carlo-Brunner-Band (Switzerland), "Hohnerklang" Orchestra and the "Köln" Accordion Orchestra.
At the finale on Sunday thousands of accordionists accompanied by the "Hohnerklang" orchestra will perform "Countdown" by Hans-Günther Kötz, especially composed for this event. Festival organisers plan to form the world's biggest accordion orchestra conducted by Fritz Dobler.
Contributed by Valery Semin
On January 14th the Concert Hall of the Central Artist's House, Moscow, Russia was filled by an enthusiastic audience who had come to listen the group White Day with their new super program "Balalaika in Rock!"
The first half consisted of pop and rock music pieces by Queen, Deep Purple, Metallica, Boney-M, Aerosmith and the Beatles. The audience was amazed by the unusual sound of the accordion, balalaika and domra (traditional Russian string instrument).
The second half included 17th and 18th Century traditional Russian songs. All parts were like an improvisation on the theme, with a correlation of the melody, harmony and rhythm. The style of Russian songs was put into a 4-voice fugue with vocal, saxophone, drums and ensemble.
The concert was broadcast by TV and Radio.
Contributed by Ingi Karlsson
For the last 10 years the General Agency Iceland, has organised "The festival of the Accordion" in Reykjavik, Iceland where overseas accordionists are invited to perform including players like Sigmund Dehli, Arnstein Johansen and Sverre Cornelius Lund. Plans are underway for this years event and organisers are searching for their "main attraction". For further information please email: email@example.com
Contributed by Wu Jie
The annual Lantern Festival will be held in Wenhua Park, Chengdu, China from February 15th to March 15th. As 1998 is the year of the "Tiger", the festival will include a "Jazz Band" consisting of fifteen lanterns shaped like animals playing a variety of musical instruments, two of whom are accordionists dressed as tigers.
Contributed by Dr Herbert Scheibenreif
The Viennese Clarinet Orchestra was invited to a concert in Neunkirchen (South of Vienna) recently. Orchestra member Heinrich Biegenzahn is also an accordionist and composer. He performed his arrangement "Sakura" ("Cherry blossom"), a fantasy on a Japanese folk tune for accordion and Clarinet Orchestra which was well acclaimed by the public. A CD including "Sakura" will be released soon. The orchestra has been invited to Japan next autumn.
Contributed by Gary Blair
The International Accordion festival will take place from March 26th to 30th in Pontins, Blackpool, England. Featured artists include:
Barbara Ann Martindale (Canada)
Contributed by Toru Katou
On March 15th at 2pm Mie Miki's Accordion Recital will be held in "Miyama-Konsehru" hall, Kagoshima-prefecture. For further information phone: + 81 995-78-8000
Contributed by Hartmut Lange, editor of the Intermusik Newspaper
On January 18th the work "Carmen-Fantasie" (for bayan and symphonic orchestra) was premièred in the Neues Gewandhaus, Leipzig. Composer Efim Jourist (inspired by George Bizet) combined the intensified percussion of the Bizet-orchestration with the sound abilities of the bayan. Spanish conductor, Edmon Colomer harmonised the MDR-Kammerphilharmonie with soloist Efim Jourist (bayan) who had inserted many solo parts in his Fantasie to present the merits of the bayan. The audience requested an encore, so the "Flight of the Bumble-Bee" by Rimsky-Korsakov and a demanding Russian folk song completed the concert, which was broadcast live by the MDR radio station.
Contributed by Professor Vladimir Besfamilnov
1998 is the 60th jubilee for the Folk Department of the Ukrainian National Music Academy. Hundreds of talented musicians have graduated during this time, most of them internationally known accordionists including Vladimir Zubitsky and Tania Lukic-Marx.
The first of many celebrations was held on January 14th in the Concert Hall of the Ukrainian National Music Academy, featuring the Folk Instruments Orchestra which consists of accordions, domras, balalaikas and tzimbals.
Contributed by Jean-Claude Pouly
The great jazz duo Richard Galliano (accordion) and Michel Portal (bandoneon, Bb clarinet, bass clarinet and saxophone) will perform on Saturday February 14th, 8.15pm at the "Alte Kaserne", Technikumstr. 8, Winterthur, Switzerland.
They will play their own compositions and some tunes by Hermeto Pascoal and Astor Piazzolla (Libertango, Oblivion) which are included on their latest CD entitled "Blow up".
A performance will follow on Thursday May 28th at 8pm at the Volkshaus, Zurich, Switzerland along with Dino Saluzzi (bandoneon) who will perform with his Trio.
Contributed by Harley Jones
With deepest regrets, we announce the passing of Canadian accordion teacher and musician Karl Pukara. In 1996, Karl celebrated 50 years of professional musical service and his 65th birthday, in Ontario, Canada. He started the Karl Pukara Senior Accordion Orchestra in 1957, which travelled extensively in Canada and the US and won the Canadian Championships 7 times and American competitions 5 times in classical and jazz divisions.
Three of his students, Marcello Deluca and Lina Guizzo have represented Canada at the Coupe Mondiale International Solo Competitions and Iona Reed won this event in 1962.
Contributed by Christine Adams
Next spring, accordionist Yasuhiro Kobayashi (Coba) will release his latest recording in two albums. "One will be 'Positive' and the other will be 'Negative'," he explained. "The songs will be the same and have the same name, but the arrangements and the atmosphere will be different, like two sides of the face, or person".
Contributed by Mario Tacca
On Friday March 6th at 8pm, at the Barbara Mann Performing Arts Hall, Fort Meyers in Florida, Mary Mancini and Mario Tacca will perform a two-hour concert entitled "It's a Wonderful World" to an expected audience of 2,000.
They will be backed by a ten-piece orchestra with Mario performing pieces like Granada, Accordion Boogie, William Tell Overture, and a medley of country songs and there will be accordion and voice interacting pieces like Carnival of Venice with Mary Mancini.
For tickets and further information phone: + 1 941-542-5099.
Contributed by Costantino Pica
The First International Accordion School, directed by Jacques Mornet, is offering the 1st Advanced Accordion Course of Musical Interpretation "Città di Anagni", from July 6th to 9th at the Hotel Le Rose, Anagni, Italy. The course is open to musicians of all levels, and will cover musical styles such as variety, jazz, classical and contemporary. Tutors are Jacques Mornet (France) and Gianluca Pica (Italy).
The closing date for enrolments is May 20th. For further information email: SIMIX@axa.it
Contributed by Wu Jie
On February 18th at 10am, 40 members of the Chengdu Accordion Orchestra (conducted by Mr Zhu Chunsheng) will perform at an open-air concert held in the Jiandong Department Store square. The hour long programme will include solo, duet and orchestra performances of light music to an expected audience of over 10,000.
Contributed by Dr Herbert Scheibenreif
On March 18th, Finnish accordionist Mika Väyrynen will play a solo concert at the Neunkirchen music school at 7.30pm.
Austria's competition for accordion soloists and orchestras "Tag der Harmonika", will be held in Wr. Neustadt on June 20th and 21st.
Contributed by Jean Galode
An accordion course will be held from July 18th to 25th with tutor Myriam Bonnin (Member of the jury for the State Diploma and Certificate of Aptitude) from the National School of Music of la Vallée de Chevreuse, France.
Topics covered include instrumental technique, interpretation of contemporary works and transcription of classical works will be available as well as style work on music from André Astier, Marcel Azzola, José Baselli and Joé Rossi.
Bonnin has performed at concerts in France and overseas, notably with the Radio-France Philharmonic Orchestra, Opéra Bastille, Intercontemporain, Edgard Varèse ensemble (Italy) and at the Cabrillo Music Festival in USA.
Contributed by Lionel Reekie
Wellington accordionist, Gary Stratton took centre stage at the gala opening of the newly renovated St James Theatre in Wellington, New Zealand on Wednesday February 4th.
Opening the theatre was well known Broadway and West End star, Elaine Page who sang songs from her hit shows, Sunset Boulevard, Cats, Evita and Piaf. Gary took the spotlight in several numbers, before joining the Wellington Symphonia to back Miss Page for the rest of her "Piaf" bracket.
Also performing was "Les Miserables" and "Phantom of the Opera" star, Rob Guest to a packed house of over 1500. In the audience for this black-tie event were several other international stars including Sir Cliff Richard and Olivia Newton-John.
Auckland accordionists Erica Knights, Michael Dennis and Lionel Reekie also attended, driving the 1300 kilometre round trip to be present.
Contributed by Wayne Knights
The 5th Chinese International Accordion Festival will be held in Beijing from August 11th to 15th. Preparations are under way to break the World Record for the largest number of accordionists playing in an orchestra and applications have been made to the headquarters of the Guiness World Records. The record attempt will take place on August 15th at 7.15pm. The last day for enrolments is March 30th.
Subject: Shipping an Accordion
I am 2,500 miles away from my accordion. What is the recommended way to ship it? Is there any concern with having it flown? Any packing tips?
It depends on whether or not you have the accordion in a solid case. If you do not, then I suggest you purchase one. If you do, then packing clothes or other soft items all around it is recommended. Also, it can be a good idea to cover the bass buttons with a hard cardboard (that doesn't actually touch the top of the buttons, but goes over the top of them) and "block the bass", so that the bass buttons cannot be pushed in. If you are unsure of how to do this, I recommend you ask someone who is knowledgeable in this area. The bass section is the part of the accordion that gets damaged most when in transit.
I hope this information helps you!