Joan Cochran SommersJoan Cochran Sommers established the accordion degree program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music in 1961. It is one of the most comprehensive accordion programs in the world where both performance majors, secondaries, and non-music majors may use the accordion to earn Baccalaureate through Doctorate degrees.

Professor Sommers has been honored numerous times by the American Accordionists' Ass'n., the Accordionists & Teachers Guild, Int'l, the Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes, as well as other musical organizations for her ongoing dedication and contributions to the field of music. She earned the right to represent the USA in the Coupe Mondiale in both 1955 and 1956, which undoubtedly developed her interest in worldwide accordion activities. As a performer, she uses the piano accordion, but she teaches all types of systems. Many of her students play both chromatic and keyboard instruments.

Courses for Study Courses Professor Sommers designed and teaches at the Conservatory of Music are:
  Applied Private Accordion
  Accordion Orchestra
  Accordion Chamber Music
  Accordion Arranging
  Accordion Literature
  Accordion History
  Accordion Techniques (a specially designed course for non-accordionists majoring in music education or music therapy)

There is always a great emphasis on sight-reading as well as orchestra and chamber music since Professor Sommers believes the skills developed in those areas prepare the performer for the professional world of music.

Joan and Cathy SommersHer students have won numerous top awards, including the US Championship competitions in both the AAA and the ATG, and have been candidates to the Coupe Mondiale many different times over a long period of time. Some of the most outstanding accordion professionals, both men and women, have been her students and have earned music degrees at the UMKC Conservatory of Music.

UMKC Accordion Orchestra
UMKC Accordion OrchestraAccordion orchestras under her direction have won innumerable First Place Awards in many competitions and have traveled on concert tours throughout the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Russia, Germany, Switzerland, England, Scotland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria and, most recently, Italy. She has performed with other groups under her direction in Greenland, Nova Scotia, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, The Philippines, Guam, Okinawa, and Korea. Professor Sommers has taught and adjudicated in many other countries, including Poland, France, the Netherlands, and the People's Republic of China, as well as throughout the United States.

Joan Cochran Sommers serves as Assistant Dean in the Conservatory of Music as well as Professor of Music. She has held elective and appointed offices in both national and international accordion organizations and is the newly-elected president of the Accordionists & Teachers Guild, Int'l., a post that she also held in previous years.

Contact Information
Telephone: +1-913-722-5625 (home)

Copyright 1999 Catherine E. Sommers - UILab