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14th December 2001 This weeks news | Past News | Send news

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This Weeks News

Graham Geddes Band in Bangkok

Graham GeddesThe Graham Geddes Band accompanied the Royal Scots Guards band during the St Andrews Week of events in Bangkok. The band played at various functions during the week including schools and corporate events such as the Bridge over the River Kwai spectacular light and sound show.

On December 1st they entertained over 500 people at the St Andrews Ball in the Shangri La Hotel in Bangkok. Graham Geddes performed his composition - a special Scottish slow air for the accordion in memory of a lost friend Alex Forbes. Alex was an Aberdonian who had been working in Bangkok for over 15 years. He died at the age of 51, from a heart attack sustained while playing amateur football. The tune went down so well that Graham has been approached by the Scots guards to arrange it for bagpipes so that a 40 piece strong pipe band can play it. The band is based at Windsor in London and plays for the Queen, so it is possible that "Royal ears" may hear the tune soon! The tune will also be included on a new accordion CD due for release in the near future. Graham is writing the whole contents of the CD himself.

Graham received an email from Bangkok that read: "I wanted to say thank you to all the members of the Graham Geddes Ceilidh Band for the very professional performances you provided for all of us in Bangkok. It was good to have you all here in Bangkok once again."



"Sad Europeans, Jouissez sans Entraves" - Portugal

Contributed by Marisa Santos

"Sad Europeans, Jouissez sans Entraves" is a creation for seven dancers and four accordionists and will be premiered at the Teatro Viriato in Viseu from December 13th to 15th, directed and choreographed by Paulo Ribeiro. The accordionists, Artur Fernandes, Filipe Cal, Filipe Ricardo and Francisco Miguel are all members of the group "Danças Ocultas". Danças Ocultas perform regularly at festivals and various venues in Portugal. They have also performed in Spain, France, Belgium, Italy and Holland and released two records.

During 2002 the group have tours planned to France, Scotland and Germany as well as a variety of concerts in Portugal. For details email:


Final Concert for 2001 - South Africa

Duo 2000 performed their final "House Concerts" in Robindale, Randburg from December 7th to 9th. The popular concerts included the performance of "Twilight Time" and "Come Heart's Delight". The House concerts will resume in February 2002. For further details email:


Accordion and Cello Concerts - Japan

Accordionist Mika Väyrynen and cellist Yoko Hasegawa toured Japan recently. Their successful tour included "sell out" concerts in Kobe and Tokyo with audiences of over 800 people. The duo's CD released by JVC Victor has received positive reviews with three of Japan's most important music magazines giving it 5 stars which is quite rare. The first edition was sold out and they now have a 2nd edition on sale. The CD includes more unusual works such as "Pictures at an Exhibition" (Mussorgsky) and pieces by Cui, Prokofiev and Tchaikowsky.

Mika is still in Japan performing with "Tango for Four" until December 16th. The quartet includes Jaakko Kuusisto (violin), Kalle Elkomaa (piano) and Janne Wessman (bass). For details email:

Jazz Master Class - Spain

Victor PrietoContributed by Holda Paoletti-Kampl

Victor Prieto will give a Master class on January 10th at Estudio, Escola de Música in Santiago De Compostela. The Master class will include the following topics:

Technique: chord approach on both hands
Ways of improvising: Bebop, Counterpoint, Modern, Liks. How to create your own liks.
Comping: closed position, create open sounds, counterpoint, how to use technique.
Modal tune: How to work on a modal tune being an accordion player.

For further details email:


Benefit Concert Features "Love" - Germany

Ralf Bethke & Harald KronibusContributed by Gabriele Guthöhrlein

Accordionist Ralf Bethke performed at a recent musical benefit evening where the main theme was love. The show was entitled "Who has Fallen in Love or Lock up the Sugar Cakes". Ralf played cheerful love songs with Harald Kronibus (bass baritone) and Michael Weickenmeier (piano) to a sell-out audience.

Their program included "The Marriage of Figaro" (Rossini), melodies from opera, operetta, musical and Russian folklore. A very interesting concert!

Bayan Recital - Greece

Contributed by Elina Tsangaraki

A bayan recital by Constantinos Raptis was held at the Philippos Nakas Concert Hall in Athens on December 12th. His program included works by Gubaidulina (De Profundis), Scarlatti (Sonata in F minor), Kagel, Liszt (Gnomenreigen), Tiensuu, Piazzolla (Sentido Unico), Bartok, Kyriakakis and Konstantinidis.

Konstantinos Raptis revealed the harmonic potential of the bayan through religious music, tango, Balkan music and virtuoso pieces by both contemporary and earlier musicians. Many of the pieces included in this program were performed for the first time in Greece and for the first time on a bayan.


Accordionist Performs in Opera Alice - Mexico

Contributed by Brenda Anaya

The opera "Alice" written by Mexican composer Federico Ibarra was held on December 2nd, 4th and 6th at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City. Accordionist Antonio Barberena was asked to perform with the Theatre's Symphony Orchestra conducted by Eduardo Díazmuñoz. The work in two acts was inspired by the story "Alice in Wonderland". The accordion plays in both acts, but is most important in the first act, which includes a duo with a baritone who played the part of the caterpillar. The opera played to sell-out audiences.

This is the second time this year the accordion has been involved in opera. The first was in "Wozzek" by Alban Berg at the beginning of the year.


Accord'ance Sextet Concerts - Italy

Accord'ance SextetContributed by Holda Paoletti-Kampl

The Accord'ance Sextet which includes Monica D' Emidio, Rocco Ronca, Giancarlo DiGiovanni, Alisia Fragassi, Alberto Centorami and Cesare Chiacchiaretta will perform at the Chiesa S. Cristoforo in Moscufo (PE) on December 16th.

After Christmas the sextet will perform their final concerts for 2001 at the Villa Comunale in Roseto (TE) on the 27th and the Sala Comunale in Sambuceto (CH) on the 30th. For further details email:


Accordionists Perform Once Again - Afghanistan

Contributed by Jon Hammond

I heard an amazing accordion story recently on NPR Radio (National Public Radio) about a music teacher at a school in Afghanistan. He had been hiding his accordion from the Taliban for several years and now, finally, he can bring it out. The radio station had an audio recording of him making the first musical sounds in the school on his accordion for quite a few years!

First he played a chromatic scale to make sure all of the keys still worked. Then he played an ethnic melody.

Great to see the accordion being played in this war torn country! Ed.


Accordionist Wins Photo Contest - USA

Contributed by Henry Doktorski

Accordionist and American Airlines flight attendant Mary Kay Doktorski was a winner in the 2002 Talent Search sponsored by "My Three Cats & Co". Her photograph of Rocky, her pet Abyssinian, will be featured on a 2002 calendar, which can be purchased from My Three Cats & Co. Mary Kay claimed that Rocky has a general affinity for accordion music and a special taste for Magnante arrangements, as can be seen from the photograph.


Xmas Ceilidh Party - Scotland

Gary BlairContributed by Holda Paoletti-Kampl

Gary Blair and his band will perform at the ''Ferry'' in Glasgow from December 21st to 23rd for their annual ''Xmas Ceilidh Party". The group will also entertain at a number of school dances during this time.

On New Years Eve they will perform at two different venues in the one night. Firstly at the ''Ferry'' in Glasgow from 9pm to 10pm, then at "The Moat House Hotel" in Glasgow from 10.30pm to 11.45pm. Following this, they will go back to the "Ferry" and play from 12.15am to 1.15am!

Duo Paris Moscow Master Class - France

Duo Paris-MoscowOn December 2nd the Duo Paris-Moscow held a Master class in Préaux, Haute-Normandie. Organizers invited a pupil from each accordion school in the area to attend the training course. The duo were pleased, not only to meet these keen accordion pupils but also various professors who had come to share their experience.

Following the Master class, the duo held a popular concert. This event gave participants the opportunity to benefit from all facets of the accordion such as the accordion in concert and a variety of accordion music.

On December 9th, the duo performed a concert at the "Trophy Alain Musichini" event in Thor (France). They also took part in the Laurent Derache (Junior International Accordion Competition event) and the Nicolas Massoutié (Senior International Accordion Competition).


Schluchttal Accordion Orchestra Concerts - Germany

PlakatPlakatContributed by Uli Ebner

The Schluchttal Accordion Orchestra will perform a concert at the Gurtweil Hall on December 15th with the theme "Money - the end of the German Mark". The following day (16th) the Youth Orchestra will perform a concert at the same venue to celebrate the new Euro currency. Their programs will include songs by Queen, Beatles, Sister Act, "Flashdance", "I will survive" and more. For details email:


Accordion Solo Concert & Workshops - China

Contributed by Feng Yali

Well known Chinese accordionist Yang Yi was invited by the Shanxi Accordion Association to play a solo concert and hold an examination workshop in the hall of Taiyuan Normal Institute in Shanxi Province last month. Hundreds of accordion enthusiasts came from various cities for this event.

Mr Yang played over 10 pieces such as "B Flat Major Accordion Concerto" and "Bulgarian Suite". His amazing technique, lively musical expression and his stage performance deeply moved everyone in the audience.


Alexander Technique and Accordion - Spain

Anne LandaContributed by Holda Paoletti-Kampl

Accordionist Anne Landa is continuing her work on the Alexander Technique and the accordion, as well as working with all the instruments taught in Spanish conservatories. Her studies focus on the safe use of the accordion to help prevent unnecessary tensions and injuries such as tendinitis, backache etc. She emphasizes interpretation through control of the accordionist's awareness, which improves the sound and the control and pressure on the bellows. The Alexander Technique gives the accordionist a way to control the instrument rather than allowing the instrument to dominate the musician. Anne Landa will soon hold short courses and individual classes on the Alexander Technique for musicians, particularly accordionists, in Madrid and the Basque Country (Spain).

Contemporary Music Concert - Italy

Eugenia MariniContributed by Holda Paoletti-Kampl

A "Contemporary Music Concert" will be held on December 14th at the San Carlino Theatre in Brescia by the "Trio della signora", which includes Eugenia Marini (accordion), Eliana Gintoli (cello) and Omar Lonati (double bass). The concert will feature the world premiere of two pieces written expressly for the trio: Claudio Mandonico's "Tre piccole danze" (which includes a Jazz song, a Waltz song and a Children's song) and Massimo Priori's "Grottesche Visioni". The concert will also include music by Part, Weill, Stravinski, Piazzolla-Calandrelli and Bosso.



Folk Music at the Henri Hermansconcertzaal - Netherlands

Russian bayanist Anatoli Senine will perform a variety of Russian folk songs and dances, West European and Russian classical works and original compositions at the Henri Hermansconcertzaal in Maastricht on December 19th. For further information email:

Sellout Concert in Cologne - Germany

First Cologne Accordion OrchestraContributed by Winfried Haushalter

The demand for the annual concert by the First Cologne Accordion Orchestra (conducted by Matthias Hennecke) was so large this year that the venue, the concert hall at the Cologne College of Music was sold out one week prior to the event. The December 2nd concert was an overwhelming success with many standing ovations by the enthusiastic audience. Their program included "Morgenstimmung" (from the Peer Gynt Suite No.1 by Grieg) and "Hungarian Rhapsody No.2" (Liszt).

Guests, the Russian ensemble "Sabawa" captured the audience with their melodies full of Russian soul and romance, followed by the Youth Orchestra (conducted by Heike Zapf) who played popular melodies like "Hansel and Gretel" (Humperdinck) and "Be Our guest" (Menken).

In the second half of the concert, the original conductor and founder of the First Cologne Accordion Orchestra, 88 year old Heinz Gengler, took the baton and conducted the orchestra in "La Traviata" (Verdi). The ensemble continued with "The Lord of the Dance" and "Krimi-Puzzle" arranged by Matthias Hennecke. Long continuous applause terminated a wonderful concert evening.


2nd Anhui Province Accordion Festival - China

Contributed by Li Cong

The 2nd Anhui Accordion Festival was held at the Anhui Normal University in Wuhu City recently, organised by the Anhui Accordion Association and associated with the Music Department of Anhui Normal University, Jiangying Golden Cup Instrument Company and Wuhu Dark Grape Hotel. Over 400 accordionists attended the festival including the President of the committee, Wang Shi Hua (VP of Anhui Normal University), Vice President Zhang Yi (Vice Dean of the Art Department of Anhui Normal University) and Xu Junsong (Secretary of the Anhui Musicians Association).

Two main sections of accordion competitions were held including age classes and an exam grade competition. There were 14 winners of these classes and seven others were honored with "Anhui Accordion Artist" awards. At the closing ceremony, Chen Faren (Honorary President of the festival committee) made a speech and presented awards to the competitors.

New East European News Now Online

A new edition of the East European News is now online. If you would like to contribute an item for this news please contact Coordinator Sergej Tchirkov at:


Folk Music Project - Italy

Contributed by Holda Paoletti-Kampl

The Italian Accordion Culture association, based in via Lorenzo Betti in Spoleto, is looking for Austrian and German accordionists interested in participating in the "Leonardo da Vinci" folk music project. The meetings, which will take place in October and November 2002, will give participating musicians the opportunity to meet, exchange material and create fruitful collaboration between artists of different nationalities. For further information email:

San Antonio Accordion Association Christmas Party - USA

Contributed by Marty Sealy

The San Antonio Accordion Association will hold their Christmas Party & Dinner evening on December 15th at the Olympia Party House in Universal City, San Antonio, Texas. The evening will include Christmas dinner, music and singing. All participants are invited to bring their accordions. For details email:


New Sites/Updated Sites Updated information on the 2nd European Accordion festival in Prague, Czech Republic held from March 22nd to 24th 2002

Antique Accordion Information

A reader would like information on a very old Bosatl piano accordion with "Frontalini" written above the keyboard, made in Italy. The case has "Lifton Mfg. Co." on it. Email:


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