In memory of:
Robert Sattler
Passed away: 19 December 1998

Robert SattlerRobert Sattler, immediate past First Vice President & Membership Chairperson of the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International, (A.T.G.) passed away 19 Dec 1998. In 1996 this award-winning accordionist was the first American soloist featured with the 100 piece Russian Folk Orchestra in Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow. A frequent traveler to Russia, he was a protégé of composer Vyacheslav Semyonov of Moscow's Gnessin Institute.

A native of Kalona, Iowa, Mr. Sattler wanted to play the accordion, but his parents made him master the piano first. Finally, by age 10, he was allowed to play the instrument that would lead to a lifetime of achievement. In the 1960's, he went to China with the Kansas City band, the Aces. He soon outgrew polkas and waltzes, favoring classic Russian concert pieces instead.

He was an accordion performance major at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, under the direction of Joan Cochran Sommers. In 1976 he was the Accordion Teachers' Guild's U.S. Accordion Champion. That same year he won the Bronze Medal at the C.I.A. Coupe Mondiale, World Accordion Championships held in Washington DC. He also became a board member of the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International.

Mr. Sattler was a 15 year member of the Atlanta Balalaika Society Orchestra, an ensemble of Russian folk instruments. He mastered the bayan, a Russian chromatic button accordion, and expanded his concert repertoire. In 1995, he released his album, "Robert Sattler Plays the Bayan".

Mr. Sattler built a career in gift sales as a national gift sales manager. He opened a showroom at the Atlanta Gift Mart in the 1980s. At R. Sattler Associates, he carried specialty products. Oh his yearly trips to Russia to study with his mentor, he mixed business with music. In 1996, he began importing his own line of glass Christmas ornaments that were mouth-Robert Sattler Paintingblown and hand painted for him at a Moscow factory. Self-taught, he read and wrote Russian, and "spoke enough to give the Russians hell," said Mr. Rufus "Jeff" Jefferson of Atlanta, his business partner of eight years.

Survivors include his brother, John H. Sattler of Dallas, and his stepmother, Louise Sattler of Kalona. In lieu of flowers, the family requested that contributions be made to Project Open Hand, 176 Ottley Dr. Atlanta, GA 30324-9939.

Bob's many friends throughout the accordion world will miss his devotion, enthusiasm, and support of accordion activities in general and particularly the ATG over many years. His passing is a sad loss for all the accordion community.

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