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20 August 2004This weeks news | Past News  | Send news
Gary Dahl

Directors Note:

Accordions Worldwide would like to welcome Rob Howard, the author of "An A to Z of the Accordion and Related Instruments" as Editor of the Weekly News. Rob comes to us with a wealth of accordion experience, having entertained professionally in restaurants, musicals, folk groups and bands. For many years, Rob has helped make more people aware of the accordion writing articles and news for various publications. We warmly welcome Rob Howard to our team. Please send news to:

Harley Jones
Director, Accordions Worldwide

A to Z of the Accordion

This Weeks News

  • The Saturday Arts Delights - China
  • 'Battle of the Accordions' - USA
  • Andrew Purkiss to perform at Uxbridge - UK
  • The Second Annual Rock Accordion Summit of New York City - USA
  • Gary Blair releases 6th Annual Tour Schedule - UK
  • Acclarion Releases Debut Album - Canada
  • Cirque du Soleil seeks accordionist - Canada, USA
  • And the Beat goes on - USA
  • Mika Väyrynen at World Renowned Music Festival - Finland
  • Accordionist named one of Six Super Seniors - USA
  • Taipei Accordion Seminar - Taiwan
  • Dr William Schimmel offers Master Class and Concert Series - USA
  • Daniele Ravalgia in "Town" - Italia
  • Kevin Burke and Johnny Connolly - USA
  • Quote of the Week
  • CD Review
  • New and Updated Sites
  • Fisitalia

    The Saturday Arts Delights - China
    Contributed by Lian Jones of Accordion House

    Variety Show by Fringe Club, organized by Hong Kong Leisure and Cultural Services Department, will be on 2:30 to 4:30pm on 21st August at Hong Kong Cultural Center Foyer. The program includes accordion music & folksong singing by Hong Kong Accordion Troupe; jazz & hip hop dance by the ACQ Group; clowning theatre by Hong Kong Clown Theatre; magic show by Asia Magic. The show has free admission.

    For further information, e-mail


    'Battle of the Accordions' - USA

    The accordion was the star of the show at the Texas Hill Country Concert, Fredericksburg, on August 14th, held at the Pioneer Museum Complex. Host Rolf van Hasz commented beforehand "We are not having a battle between accordion players, but a battle to bring out the full range of the accordion as an instrument".

    Accordionists participating included Rolf von Hasz, Fritz Morquecho, Robert Atwood, Hanni van Zandt, Helmi Herrington, Krystal Wolfe and Charles Harrington. The musical styles included everything from polka, tango and Dixieland jazz to classical. This concert was part of a series called American Music.

    For further information, e-mail


    Andrew Purkiss to Perform at Uxbridge - UK

    The Uxbridge Accordion Club proudly presents Andrew Purkiss who will play alongside the club band under the direction of Angie Lukins on 11th October. The event will be held at 8pm at the Anglers Retreat in Cricketfield Road, West Drayton, Middlesex.

    For further information, e-mail


    The Second Annual Rock Accordion Summit of New York City - USA

    Guest artistes include: Movers & Shakers, Corn Mo (w/.357 Lover), Flaming Fire, Myla Goldberg, Jason Webley and Murderizer, September 18 at Rothko's, 116 Suffolk St, between Delancey & Rivington, 8 pm Contact: Camille Acey 646-541-7781

    Concert promoter Joe Exley enthused: "The Rock Accordion Summit returns for one night of ear-splitting squeezebox mayhem. New York¹s most talented rock accordionists are once again joining forces to strut their stuff, so let the free-reeds ring! Last year's event was a complete sell out, and the four acts rocked and screamed until the early morning. The Summit brought together hipsters, punks, accordion enthusiasts, and the accordion-curious. They drank, cheered, sang along, and left knowing this: the accordion rocks."


    Gary Blair releases 6th Annual Tour Schedule - UK

    Successful concert artiste, Gary Blair has released a busy schedule for his 6th Annual Tour down South to take place from 11th to 20th February 2005.

    Gary's itinerary is follows: -
    11th February - Gary Blair and Crawley Accordion Orchestra, with Harry Hussey - Cranleigh Arts Centre, Surrey.

    12th February - Mid Sussex Caledonian Society-Ceilidh/Dance - Ditchling Sussex.
    13th February - Basingstoke Accordion Club - Ceilidh & Concert.
    14th February - Uxbridge Accordion Club - West Drayton, Middlesex.
    15th February - Club Accord, Birmingham
    17th February - Harlow Accordion Club - Concert - Harlow, Essex.
    18th February - Accordion Variety Show - Allendale Centre, Wimborne, Dorset.
    19th February - Ovingdean Village Hall - Village Ceilidh - Brighton, East Sussex.
    20th February - Gary Blair's Scottish/Cockney Fun Party Night at Burgess Hill, West Sussex also featuring the brilliant Ricky T Sargent & Shaz "Cockney Capers".

    For further information, e-mail

    Sem Accordions France

    Acclarion Releases Debut Album - Canada

    After a year of musical adventures, Canada's only classical accordion and clarinet duo, Acclarion, is set to record their debut album. David Carovillano and Becky Sajo, who were recently engaged, have worked diligently to assemble the musical selections for the album.

    Becky and David felt that recording their CD would also allow them to reach a larger audience. They are particularly interested in reaching out to those individuals who may not normally listen to classical music. "We feel that our music will at once be entertaining and enjoyable," states Becky. "All of the selections that will appear on our CD have the sophistication of classical music, with the fun and catchiness of pop tunes."

    When asked how best to sum up their music and this CD project, Becky and David both looked at each other, before smiling back at me and saying, "It's music to tickle your ears!"

    For further information, e-mail


    Cirque du Soleil seeks Accordionist - Canada, USA

    Cirque du Soleil, the multidisciplinary show company combining circus arts, acrobatics, music, singing, dance, and theatre is urgently seeking an accordion player for its two new Las Vegas-based productions.

    The contract is for two years and the shows casting department is now accepting submissions and applications before they choose applicants for an audition at a later date. The successful applicant will join Cirque du Soleil in September as the new production prepares for its premier at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in December.

    The new theatrical show combines acrobatic performances, martial arts, puppetry, multimedia and pyrotechnics to illustrate the lives of a pair of twins who were once separated. The music is composed by René Dupéré, and the band is made up of seven musicians: keyboards and bandleader, keyboards and voice, guitar, drums and percussion, cello and voice, singer, and piano accordion.

    Cirque du Soleil is looking for an accordionist who is a professional and versatile musician. The artiste also needs to have had academic training and extensive experience of jazz, pop, contemporary and ethnic musical styles.

    Owner, Guy Laliberté got his start playing an accordion for tips on the streets of Montreal. Today his act is one of the most lucrative ventures in live entertainment.
    There's no escaping him. People flock to his show at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. In Las Vegas, where he operates in three different casinos, his shows have become Sin City's biggest draw. His five touring productions travel the globe, performing in such locations as Spain and Japan. His outrageous acts and colorful characters are celebrated in newspapers and magazines and have even appeared on a reality TV show.

    For further information, e-mail

    Ángel Luis Castaño

    And the Beat Goes On - USA

    On Saturday evening, July 24th 2004, five of Tejano's (a.k.a. Tex-Mex) top acts took to the stage for a lively and colourful show known as 'Tejano Jam', at the Municipal Stadium, Kansas, USA. Accordion sounds were very much a central feature of the Tejano music, with everything from raucous dance tunes to subtle and sentimental songs providing a programme of great variety and entertainment value.

    A report by Paul Horsley in The Kansas City Star told how "Multicolored lights flashed and spun as dancing couples dipped and swirled the night away. Who could resist the driving beat of these cumbias, polkas and rancheras?" Artistes included the charismatic Emilio Navaira, Shelly Lares, Little Joe & La Familia, Ruben Ramos & the Mexican Revolution - whose traditional band supplemented with two trumpets and saxophone, and, according to Paul Horsley, provided the classiest ensemble playing of the evening - and David Lee Garcia & Los Musicales.

    Mika Väyrynen at World Renowned Music Festival - Finland
    Contributed by Kevin Friedrich

    In July, Finnish accordionist Mika Väyrynen was a guest artiste at one of the most important music festivals in the world, the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, which was celebrating its 35th year. At the opening concert of this prestigious festival, Mike performed the Aulis Sallinen work entitled Chamber Music V, Op. 80 "Barabbas Variations" (composed in 2000) with the Jean Sibelius Quartet - Parviainen. At this festival, an event that attracts some of the world's finest musicians, he also performed excerpts from the Goldberg Variations by J.S Bach, and Sequenza No. X111 for Accordion "Chanson" by Luciano Berio.

    Last week, Mika performed at the Tuusala Lake Chamber Music Festival, organised by the Sibelius Society, where he performed the complete Goldberg Variations. At this festival, he also performed on bandoneon as well as presenting the Barabbas Variations by Sallinen with String Quintet, and also the work "A Little Something", at the closing concert. In addition to these two high profile world class chamber festivals, Mika recently performed a concert with cellist Jan-Erik Gustafsson in Koski, at the main church, where their program included Bach, Piazzolla, Scriabin, Handel, and more.

    To date, Mika Väyrynen has recorded thirteen CDs, which include around 100 compositions, the most recent of which was released in June 2004 - a recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations. This CD was chosen as 'CD of the Month' by the Finnish classical music magazine 'Rondo Classica'.

    Mika Väyrynen's repertoire is exceptionally broad, including contemporary accordion music, transcriptions from various periods, new tango, concertos and chamber music, and most recently now includes performances on the bandoneon.

    For more information on Mika and his recordings, please visit


    Accordionist Named One of Six Super Seniors - USA

    Robert Troxel, 79, was named one of Six Super Seniors by West Coast Bank, as part of festivities for this year's Lincoln County Fair, Oregon, USA. Mr Troxel, from Newport, is well known throughout his county for his playing, and has entertained people for many years. He has, for example, played accordion once or twice a month for 31 years at Newport Rehabilitation and Special Care Center, and has also played for local talent shows, dances, church services, socials, local libraries and the Lincoln County Fair.

    Robert Troxel has been playing the accordion for 70 years, and has also carried out many instrument repairs. World War Two veteran Robert Troxel, who once survived an air crash in the Pacific whilst on active service, has played music for most of his life, and has taught both accordion and piano. Although Mr Troxel accepted his award with pride, he commented: "I did not do these things in the hope of any awards. It was just something I could do for other people and perhaps make a difference in someone else's life. I am 79 now and I will play music as long as I am able."

    Gary Dahl

    Taipei Accordion Seminar - Taiwan
    Contributed by Lian Jones of Accordion House

    Music teachers from primary and intermediate schools from Taipei, Taiwan gathered at Guangren School to learn the accordion. The seminar took place from 16th August to 20th August.

    For further information, e-mail


    A to Z of the Accordion

    Dr William Schimmel offers Master Class and Concert Series - USA
    Contributed by Kevin Friedrich

    The 10th Annual Master Class and Concert Series will be presented from August 27th to 29th 2004 at the Tenri Cultural Institute, 43 West 13th Street (between 5th & 6th Avenue, New York. Lecturer-in-residence of the American Accordionists' Association, composer, author, accordionist and philosopher, Dr William Schimmel is the moderator/curator.

    Dr Schimmel is this year's recipient of the Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA) Merit Award for his outstanding contribution to the international accordion movement. In commemoration of the tenth anniversary of this distinguished master class and concert series (the seminars) that he founded and is sponsored by the AAA, Dr Schimmel will be officially presented with his award on this special occasion. The event features three afternoons of master classes and three formal evening concerts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

    For a complete concert and master class schedule, please visit www.



    Daniele Ravalgia in "Town" - Italy
    Contributed by Holda Paoletti-Kampl

    Together in Trio with Giorgio Farina (Pf) and Marco Gerboni (sax), Daniele Ravalgia found the perfect way to attract accordion enthusiasts to fill the Alfonsine Town Square for their recent concert. Also for their evening concert at the Church of San Giovanni Battista in Ravenna. The popular musical repertoire of Rossini, Mascagni, Bach, Mozart, Rodrigo, R.Korsakov, Pratella, Ravaglia, Albeniz, Verdi, Piazzolla, Kramer...etc. combined with expert musicianship to attract the crowds.

    Their next concerts are:
    31st August in the Rocca del Castello in Russi (RA)
    2nd September in the Piazza del Comune in Piangipane (RA)


    Gary Dahl

    Kevin Burke and Johnny Connolly - USA

    On Tuesday August 3rd, renowned Celtic fiddle player Kevin Burke was joined by fellow Irishman Johnny Connolly for a concert of traditional music at the Newport Performing Arts Center, USA.

    Connolly's dexterity on the two-row button accordion earned him a slot with established Celtic band Anam at the age of 17, and in 1996 Connolly left Ireland for America by joining Patrick Ourceau in New York. After touring expatriate Irish communities in New York, Boston and other places in the US, Connolly visited Portland, Oregon, where he formed a duo with guitarist Aidan Brennan. This duo has performed with great success at festivals across the United States. In 1998, Johnny Connolly released a debut CD Irish Ceili Dances, backed by Eugene Kelly on piano and Paddy Higgins on drums.

    Kevin Burke, a former member of high profile bands Patrick Street and The Bothy Band, is one of the most influential players of Irish music today.


    Quote of the Week

    Teaching Quote of the Week Edited by Willoughby Walshe

    "Germany hosts a multitude of international, national, and regional accordion competitions and festivals of all kinds. Thanks to the efforts of accordion and harmonica manufacturer Hohner and the Deutscher Harmonika Verband, there are active clubs composed of soloists, ensembles, and orchestras in all of the country's 16 states. Competitions held at the state level select finalists for the Deutscher Akkordeon Musikpreis held at Baden-Baden in June every three years. Orchestras vie for prizes at the International Accordion Festival most recently held in Innsbruck, Austria, in May every three years. Diatonic accordion clubs hold informal gatherings in many towns and cities all over the country.

    Find out more... "Walshe Essential Guide to Accordion and Harmonica Events"


    CD Review

    A new CD by Chango Spasiuk titled "The Charme of Chamamé". Review done by Musicologist, Paolo Picchio.


    New & Updated Sites

    Celebrity Interview of Renzo Ruggieri by Serjev Tchirkov - information and performance dates of concert artist Peter Soave. World renowned concert artist performing with symphony orchestras. Adjunct Associate Professor of Accordion, Bandoneón and Bayan at Detroit's Wayne State University. - updated information and concert dates for Lorenzo Munari, accordion performer, teacher, composer and conductor.


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