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10 September 2004This weeks news | Past News  | Send news
Gary Dahl

This Weeks News

  • International Accordion Festival - China
  • Music is about sharing", James Crabb - Australia
  • Young Tradition Tour, Scotland - UK
  • North-East Squeeze-In, Massachusetts - USA
  • Updated Finland site and Celebrity Interview with Lasse Pihlajamaa
  • Accordion Orchestra Concert Dates - Spain
  • New Edition of United States National News online
  • Accordion Music Performance Competition - China
  • Young Accordionists Take to the Stage - New Zealand
  • Accordions Aloud!, Massachusetts - USA
  • Exhibition of Historic Accordions - UK
  • Concert of Scandinavian Accordion Music, California - USA
  • Seattle Accordionist's Mission - USA
  • Victor Prieto Concerts, New York City - USA
  • Organists switching to Accordions! - UK
  • Quote of the Week
  • CD Review
  • New and Updated Sites
  • A to Z of the Accordion

    International Accordion Festival - China
    Contributed by Lian Jones of Accordion House

    The 10th China International Accordion Festival Competitions were held recently in Beijing. Apart from the competitors, attendees included well known older Chinese accordion teachers: Mr Li Yuqiu, Mr Zhang Ziqiang, Mr Yang Wentao, Mr Ren Shirong, Mr Shan Yuanchang; with four leading Russian bayan masters: Prof. Friedrich Lips (left), Prof. Viacheslav Semionov (right), Prof. Alexandre Skliarov and Yuri Shishkin. The Russian masters each gave individual concerts during the event.

    The competition winners are:
    CATEGORY Children A -- Wang Shen, Zhou Chenglu, Zhang Xiaoyi
    CATEGORY Children B - Zhang Yuan, Wang Hongmiao
    CATEGORY Juvenile A - Liu Haiyu
    CATEGORY Juvenile B - Xu Xiaonan, Gao Xian, Ruan Mingyuan
    CATEGORY Duet/Trio/Quartet Children/ -- Li Ruozhu, Fan Chaoqun
    CATEGORY Duet/Trio/Quartet Juvenile - Jia Xinfei, Wang Jing, Jia Siting
    CATEGORY Duet/Trio/Quartet /Adult - Belyaev Anarey Petrova Elena
    CATEGORY Chamber Music - Men Xi, Shi Juan, Liu Shengwen, Chang Jiangtao, Wu Yongshuo
    CATEGORY Adult -- Li Yan
    CATEGORY Artist --Belyaev Anarey
    CATEGORY Orchestras -- Qi Liang and fellow orchestra members (19 pieces), Jia Zifen and fellow orchestra members (15 pieces)

    "Music is about sharing", James Crabb - Australia
    Contributed by Harley Jones

    Scottish-born, but Danish-based, virtuoso accordionist James Crabb is currently part of the way through a tour of Australia, performing classical repertoire concerts with the Australian Chamber Orchestra (MD Richard Tognetti). James Crabb and Richard Tognetti have worked together many times, and one particularly notable occasion was the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup in November 2003 when they played a duet of Celtic music (composed specially by Crabb), and broadcast live before an audience of millions worldwide.

    In a recent interview with, James Crabb commented that he is constantly trying to break down musical barriers, and that in his view, 'Music is about sharing". James still has some more performances with the ACO in September, and these are:- 11th, Llewellyn Hall, Canberra; 19th, Sydney Opera House; 21st, City Recital Hall, Sydney

    For further information email


    Young Tradition Tour, Scotland - UK

    A concert party that includes teenage accordionist Tom Orr will tour venues in the North of Scotland from September 15th to October 8th. The tour is organised by the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland.

    For further information email


    North-East Squeeze-In, Massachusetts - USA

    Bucksteep Manor (an inn situated in a forest), Washington, Massachusetts, is the venue for the annual gathering of accordion, melodeon and concertina players, known as the North-East Squeeze-In. This takes place from September 17th to 19th, and is open to all to love to play and hear accordion-family instruments in a relaxed setting. There are playing sessions and workshops; camping is available or rooms can be booked.

    For further information email

    Updated Finland site and Celebrity Interview with Lasse Pihlajamaa
    Contibuted by Kevin Friedrich

    The recent Sata-Häme Soi - Accordion Festival held in Ikaalinen, Finland was covered by Accordions Worldwide, who were guests of the Finnish Ministry of Culture. While in Finland, Celebrity Interviews were conducted with two great names in the Finnish accordion world - Lasse Pihlajamaa and Mika Väyrynen.

    Lasse's interview was conducted at his home in Espoo, Finland (outside Helsinki) on June 28, 2004 and takes a look into his impressive life and career in music. Born in 1916, Lasse Pihlajamaa is a Finnish accordionist, composer-arranger, teacher, entertainer and world-class accordion comedian, and father of a range of accordion models. He has had an exceptionally far-ranging career and for over 60 years has been the pioneer of Finnish accordion music. A veritable 'Grand Old Man', in addition to greatly enhancing the popularity of accordion music in Finland, he can with all justification be described as one of the leading figures in modern Finnish (and Nordic) accordion art.

    His interview can now be read online as part of the 2004 Sata-Häme Soi Festival review, found at The second interview, which was conducted with Dr. Mika Väyrynen, will be published soon.

    Accordion Orchestra Concert Dates - Spain

    The town council of Lalin in Pontevedra, Spain, has invited the Zero Sette Akordeoi Orkestra to perform in a concert in the church square as part of the town festivities on 18th of September, at 11pm.
    Also, on the 24th of September, at 10.30pm, the Zero Sette Akordeoi Orkestra is to perform at "Bastero" Culture House in Andoain, Gipuzkoa.

    The Zero Sette Akordeoi Orkestra was founded in 1987, and is based in the Basque city of Lasarte-Oria. Presently conducted by Elias Goikouria Erauzkin, the orchestra has performed concerts throughout Spain, and has also competed at festivals in Spain, Italy, France and Switzerland.
    Ángel Luis Castaño

    New Edition of United States National News online - USA
    Contributed by Kevin Friedrich

    United States National News September edition is now online with news and upcoming concerts in the United States. The news includes updated information on the life of Eddie Chavez pertaining to his love of aviation and work as an aircraft modeler.


    Accordion Music Performance Competition - China
    Contributed by Lian Jones, Accordion House

    The first national Accordion Music Performance Competition was held during August in Anqing City, Anhui Province, China. There were 550 competitors, from different parts of China, and there were sections covering solo, duet, trio/quartet, ensemble and performance sections. A particular highlight of the festival was a solo concert by Xia Gang, on bayan accordion.

    Young Accordionists Take to the Stage - New Zealand
    Contributed by Heather Masefield (pictured)

    North Shore accordionists of all ages will be performing this Sunday, 12th September, at the Bruce Mason Centre. The Accordion Examination Board of New Zealand is running an accordion variety concert from 4pm, which will include the presentation of the Allan William Jones (pictured) Memorial Scholarships, awarded annually to outstanding examination candidates.

    In addition to the scholarship presentations, accordion orchestras and soloists will showcase the versatility of the accordion. Music ranging from Bach to pop to Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera" will make up the programme, with performers ranging from young beginner level students through to adults.

    For further information email Lionel Reekie at

    Accordions Aloud!, Massachusetts - USA

    The first event in the annual Springsteps 2004/05 Performance Series is a concert titled 'Accordions Aloud', set for September 18th at 8pm, at Springstep, 98 George P. Hassett, Medford Square Drive, Medford. The concert program features New England accordionists Brent Buswell, Roberto Cassan, Evan Harlan, Jeremiah McLane and Tom Pixton. Their repertoire includes French, Balkan, Scottish, Scandinavian, Latin and French Canadian styles.

    Another event in the Springsteps calendar, at the same venue (which, incidentally, is wheelchair friendly) is called 'I'd Rather Be Squeezing'. This is a workshop, on October 16th from 11am to 1pm, led by Arthur and Sue Welch, well known as the proprietors of 'Accordion Connection' in New Hampshire. This will take the form of a demonstration of the piano accordion's capabilities and repertoire, plus information about the instrument's history and possibilities.

    For further information about either of these events, email

    Exhibition of Historic Accordions - UK

    An exhibition of approximately fifty accordions of various types, dating back to 1840, will take place at the Pakefield Accordion Festival, September 24th to 28th. This fascinating parade of accordion family members instruments includes examples of flutinas, and such rare models as a Handharmonika, a Piston, a Tanzbar, a Hohner Echophone, a Venezia, an Iorio Combo, a Chemnitzer, a Polish-made foot pedal accordion, and a century-old bandoneon. The exhibition is organised by Caroline Hunt, and this is the first time the Pakefield event has featured such a presentation. The festival guest artists will inlcude special appearances by Alexander Dmitriev and his son Vitaly.

    For further information email
    A to Z of the Accordion

    Concert of Scandinavian Accordion Music, California - USA

    More than twenty members of the Norwegian Accordion Club are to present a concert of music from the Scandinavian countries, on September 25th at 7.30pm. The venue is the Turlock Community Auditorium, 1574 E. Canal Drive, California.

    Seattle Accordionist's Mission - USA

    Seattle-based Murl Allen Sanders is a professional accordionist who claims that his mission in life is to make the accordion a regular part of the mainstream music scene.

    Murl is a versatile musician who plays in a wide variety of styles, including jazz, blues, zydeco, country, rock, celtic and other ethnic genres.
    From 28th September to October 2nd, Murl is playing at the 13 Coins, SeaTac, in the State of Washington, and is also resident every Wednesday from noon at the Plymouth Congregational Church.

    Murl is currently promoting his latest CD, titled 'Can You Dance To It?'


    Victor Prieto Concerts, New York City - USA

    Accordionist Victor Prieto has two high profile engagements in New York during September. On September 12th, at 2pm, he teams up with pianist Carlo de Rosa as the Victor Prieto Duo for a concert (shared with guitarist Horacio Laguna) titled 'Masters of the Tango' at the Central Public Library, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica, NY. On September 17th at 9pm, Prieto joins with Carlos de Rosa and Henry Cole (drums) to form the Victor Prieto Trio to perform at the Williamsburg Jazz Festival in New York.

    For further information email


    Organists switching to Accordions! - UK
    Contributed by Alan Venn

    Since the late 1980s, British electronic organist Alan Venn (picture right) has organised regular and frequent small-scale organ/keyboard festivals at hotels in seaside resorts in North Wales and the North-West of England. In the last ten years, he has added accordion players (most notably Harry Hussey - picture left) as guest artistes and the accordion has now become a popular feature - both with the public and with the organ guests. An interesting and welcome development of this is that many of the organ enthusiasts and even some of the organist guest artistes are converting to playing accordion.

    Alan Venn informs AWW that: "The accordion has added a new dimension to these musical events since it was added a few years ago, and quite a number of our guests who played organ or keyboard have now added the accordion to their list of musical instruments, which is good news for these events as well as the accordion clubs and festivals.

    An example of this happened during the June weekend at Blackpool when professional organist Andrew Seddon, who had been booked as co-guest with Harry Hussey, tried out an accordion for the first time, under the watchful eye of Harry! Andrew is a very accomplished organist, and is well known on the organ circuit, but had not seen Harry before. During the weekend, Andrew and Harry combined very well together to give some excellent duets of big-band and other standards on organ and keyboard".

    Since then, Andrew has been to a demonstration of the new Roland V accordion, and is likely to include the accordion in his future performances. Another professional organist guest at Alan Venn's festivals who has also taken up the accordion, and who now includes her new instrument in her stage performances, is Marion Jones. Marion has taken the accordion seriously, and is having lessons from Blackpool accordionist, teacher and NAO (National Accordion Organisation) chairperson executive Gina Brannelli.



    Quote of the Week

    Teaching Quote of the Week Edited by Willoughby Walshe

    Choose fingering that recognizes the different strength of each finger. The goal is to achieve uniformity in rhythm and playing

    Find out More… The Art of Bayan Playing or Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

    CD Review

    A new CD by Lydie Auvray titled "Tango Tojours". Review done by Musicologist, Paolo Picchio


    New & Updated Sites - Updated Finland site and Celebrity Interview with Lasse Pihlajamaa contributed by Kevin Friedrich. - United States National News September edition is now online with news and upcoming concerts in the United States. - Musique Gagné & Frères, based in Quebec, Canada retails a wide range of instruments including accordions. They are agents for Dino Baffetti, Gabanelli, Hohner and Salterelle accordions, with a wide range of piano and button keyed instruments available. - newly updated webpage of the Austrian harmonika producer Strasser Harmonikas

    Article titled "The Life of the Living Legend - Anthony Galla-Rini by Prof. Herbert Scheibenreif in English and German.

    Gary Dahl

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