and raised near Dargaville, New Zealand, Kevin began playing the
accordion at the age of nine. Mesmerized by the visual appeal
and unique sound of the accordion during a performance of the
Ben Emmett Accordion Orchestra (BEA), Kevin took advantage of
group lessons being offered by the late Ben and Doreen Emmett
at the Dargaville Primary School where weekly accordion lessons
and accordion hire cost 50 cents each.
initial dollar a week investment, Kevin progressed quickly through
the ranks, and after the passing of Mr. Ben Emmett in December
1976, Kevin began the weekly six hour round trip drive to Auckland
to study with the late Mr. Allan Jones and son Harley.
the title of New Zealand Solo Accordion Champion for two years,
and representing New Zealand at the Confédération
Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA) World Championships
three times (the last time attaining 5th place) Kevin moved to
the United States to study accordion with Joan C. Sommers at the
University of Missouri, Kansas City where he obtained his Bachelor
of Music. Kevin has also competed in competitions such as Klingenthal
in Germany as well as competitions hosted by the Accordionists
and Teachers Guild, International and the American Accordionists'
addition to the piano accordion, Kevin has also mastered the Bayan
(Button accordion), and it is with this instrument that he furthered
his studies at the Conservatoire Paul Dukas in Paris, France studying
with CIA World Accordion Champion, Max Bonnay.
He has also participated in Master Classes with the famous Russian
accordionist Friedrich Lips.
performed in concert, on radio and on television in many countries
as a soloist, with Symphony Orchestra and as a member of The International
Trio, the Air New Zealand Accordion Orchestra (formerly the North
Shore Accordion Orchestra), the Musicale Accordion Orchestra
from Auckland, the Auckland Accordion Symphonietta, New Zealand and as concert master of the University
of Missouri - Kansas City (UMKC) Accordion Orchestra. More recently
Kevin has served as Concert Master for the CIA World Accordion
Orchestra at their concerts in the USA, Scotland and New Zealand.
After serving as a Vice-President for eight years, Kevin served
two four year terms as President of the Confédération
Internationale Des Accordéonistes (CIA), the umbrella organization
for 35 countries and their National Accordion Associations. Since
the CIA (member of the International Music Council, IMC-UNESCO)
formed in 1935, this is the first time ever that a non-European
has held this title and only the 3rd President elected in more
than 40 years, with the last President having held office for
over 20 years. Hosting the annual World Accordion Championships,
the CIA meets twice a year in various countries around the world.
At the conclusion of his Presidency, Kevin was unanimously elected
to the CIA Executive Committee as CIA Ambassador, a role created specifically for him.
the ability of the Internet to keep accordionists in touch with
each other and informed of worldwide activities, his association
with the world wide web included initiating and subsequently producing
the United States National Accordion News for 10 years, and being
the USA Manager for Accordions Worldwide, the largest accordion
site on the Internet since1997.
Kevin was invited by the Finnish Ministry of
Culture to travel to Finland to report on the Sata-Häme Soi
Accordion Festival in Ikaalinen, Finland which attracts some 35,000
attendees from around the world, and has since attended the event on numerous occassions. Additionaly, he has been invited
to adjudicate and appear at International accordion Festivals,
Competitions and TV Productions in various countries around the
world including the 2010 Harbin
Summer International Accordion Art Week
in China, the 2006 Shanghai Spring International Accordion Festival
in China, the Primus Ikaalinen International Competition Live
TV Broadcast, the
Norske Trekkspilleres Landsforbund (NTL) National Festival held
in Bodø, Norway, the National Accordion Competition of
the United Kingdom, the Roland International Digital Accordion Competition in
Rome, the 20th Annual Australian Accordion Teachers Association Festival in Sydney, Australia in 2014 and the 2015 1st China Shenzhen Xixiang Music Valley International Accordion Competition and the 2016 Tacheng International Accordion Festival, both in China, to name a few.
Kevin currently makes his home in New York City where he has lived
since 1989. His USA accordion activities include serving on the
Board of Directors for both the American Accordionists' Association
(AAA), the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International
(ATG) and A World of Accordions Museum (AWAM).