Mady and Peter Soave (USA) and Jean Louis Noton (France), performed 7 concerts and gave 3 master classes in China and Mongolia from April 29th to May 15th.
Peter Soave was featured soloist with the Shanghai University Philharmonic in the first Chinese performance of Astor Piazzolla's famous concerto ‘Aconcagua’ for Bandoneon and Orchestra.
Other typical programs of the China tour included: Peter Soave - solo accordion improvisations and, in duo, Madeleine Soave on accordion and Peter on bandoneon. Jean Louis Noton peformed solo original compositions and French film music on the Cavagnolo Odyssée. All 3 artistes finished with a musical tribute to the great French composer André Astier.
Audiences numbered between 900 and 1400 per concert. Jean Louis Noton has been performing concerts in China for 10 years. Peter Soave made his 2nd appearance in China in 6 months.
Melbourne based, visually impaired accordion virtuoso, Bernadette Conlon has had the unprecedented honour of being invited back to three of the larger accordion festivals in the United States, following the outstanding success of her 2005 tour.
Bernadette will be guest artiste and adjudicator for the Leavenworth International Accordion Convention, where, last year's mobbing crowd pre-empted the organisers to invite her this year. The Las Vegas International Accordion Convention, which features some of the world's most famous and influential accordionists, such as Art Van Damme, Peter Soave, Dick Contino and the K Trio, secured Bernadette for the second year, as did the Kimberley International Old Time Accordion Championships in Canada, which, last year, wrote its way into the history books, by having 644 accordionists playing at the same time together, for half an hour, in a valiant Guinness Book of Records attempt.
Bernadette says she was overwhelmed by the audience’s reaction last year, which led to the invitations in 2006 to these festivals.
International Accordion Awareness Month, San Francisco – USA Contributed by Rob Howard
Accordionist Tom Torriglia of San Francisco has declared June to be ‘International Accordion Awareness Month.’ The month of June began in fine style with the 16th Annual San Francisco Accordion Festival, held at Fisherman’s Wharf, featuring the San Francisco Accordion Band, Kielbasia - the Polish Lunch Lady, Culann's Hounds, Conjunto Romero, Big Lou's Polka Casserole, Bella Ciao, Those Darn Accordions and the San Francisco Main Squeeze finals.
San Francisco has given official recognition of National Accordion Awareness Month for the rest of June - all thanks to the persistence of Tom Torriglia, who declares that "My Christmas starts at about 4 am on June 1st. "That's when the phone will ring and some bubbly, overcaffeinated DJ from the East Coast will be on the other end and say something like, 'Hey, did you know it's National Accordion Awareness Month - and can you play a song for all the listeners?' "
He knows, all right. And for the rest of the month Tom Torriglia will do everything he can to let everyone else know, too. Tom was interviewed at the SF Accordion Festival by a reporter from Westwood One, America’s largest radio station. On June 21st, he will be filmed by a national television station from Canada for a broadcast that “should give the accordion a ton of great press”.
Festival della Fisarmonica, Milan - Italy Contributed byRomano Viazzani
May 14th saw the first Festival della Fisarmonica, organised by Beltrami Accordions and Serist SpA at the Centro Direzionale Colleoni in Milan, Italy. Over 350 people enjoyed an afternoon covering a wide spectrum of music. Before and between performances those present could visit the exhibition of historical instruments in the foyer of the venue from a few private collections.
Performers included classical accordionist Claudio Ranalli (Italy), with pianist Pino Laudadio; Daniele Scurati (accordion) and Stefano Valla (shepherd’s pipe) (Italy) with some Italian folk music, and Nadio Marenco (Italy), student of Professor Sergio Scappini at the Milan Conservatory. Scotland’s Gordon Middler played a selection of traditional Scottish and Irish Music, including a moving rendition of ‘The Dark Island’.
The audience were ecstatic and laughed at Middler’s cheeky motion to the audience not to look up his kilt while he was playing! Emir Bosnjak, from Bosnia-Herzegovina, gave an eclectic mix of music, including some Balkan-inspired pieces. England’s Romano Viazzani performed a varied program, including ‘Corbieres and Croissants’ – a musette swing waltz by Viazzani himself, and ‘Glory to God in the Highest’ from Davor Bobic’s ‘Litugical Suite’, the church organ-like sound produced by his accordion brought a tear to a very proud Mr. Beltrami’s eye.
After the tea break it was time for Italy’s technical wizard Mauro Carra, who astounded the audience with his dexterity in pieces such as ‘La Tempete’, ‘Czardas’ (Monti) and ‘Mazurca Variata’ (Migliavacca) as well as delighting with his musicality in Frank Marocco’s ‘Cynthia’, and the comical contemporary piece ‘Itto’, about a hapless waiter! The audience were on their feet. After a brief interlude with the amazing harmonica player ‘Bruno de Filippi’, who played ‘The Man I Love’ (Gershwin) and ‘Stardust’ (Carmichael), it was time for some duets.
Nadio Marenco and Emir Bosnjak performed together ‘The theme from the Godfather’ and ‘Libertango’. Mauro Carra and Romano Viazzani, as a duo, performed ‘Tarantella Boogie’, ‘La Cumparsita’ and a scintillating version of ‘Indifference’, which once again brought audiences to their feet.
After an operatic interlude where Claudio Ranalli accompanied tenor Marco Faralli in ‘La Donna e Mobile’ (Verdi), Mr.Giorgi of Serist SpA took to the stage to thank all the artistes and to call up two of Stradella’s finest accordion makers Claudio Beltrami and Amleto Dallapè of the legendary Dallapè factory. Mr. Giorgi also promised that this would not be the last festival he would organise! All the accordionists then came back on stage to play the grand finale – Romano Viazzani’s transcription of Glenn Miller’s ‘In the Mood’, much to the delight of the audience.
Castletown Accordion Orchestra’s European Contest Success, Meath – Ireland Contributed by Rob Howard
Competing against orchestras from Ireland, Italy, Russia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Latvia, Norway, Northern Ireland, Germany, Serbia and Montenegro, Estonia and Switzerland, the Castletown Accordion Orchestra from Kells, County Meath in the Republic of Ireland, won First Prize in the Junior Section at the European Accordion Festival held in Prague, the Czech Republic, from April 20th to 23rd. The 2006 European Accordion Festival was the 4th time the competition has been held and Castletown's success represents the first ever victory for an orchestra from Ireland or the UK.
In addition to first place the Orchestra received a citation for being 'Outstanding' from a jury consisting of Ladislave Horak (Czech Republic), Georg Penz and Stefan Hipp (Germany). The Festival President is Dr. Jindrich Feld, who is one of the leading Czech composers.
The orchestra, with members from just 8 years old, is taught by John and Yvonne Chilton, who are based near Virginia in County Cavan. John and Yvonne, originally from England, are steeped in all things accordion and are the founders of the Irish Accordion Association.
As well as the competitions there were also concerts in various venues throughout Prague, where the visiting orchestras performed and which saw Castletown play concerts in the Ladvi Hall, St. Nikolas Church, and in Liben Castle they played in the same room in which Mozart, Haydn and Dvorak all performed.
Milos Milivojevic played in the world premiere of the Children’s Ballet ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel’ by Ben Foskett at the Peacock Theatre in London on May 18th. The Ballet has a very prominent accordion part. Milos has been invited to play the accordion part in ‘Correspondence’ by Henri Dutilleux at the prestigious Aldeburgh Festival in England on June 24th with the Britten-Pears Orchestra, conducted by Oliver Knussen.
Owen Murray (left) and Borut Zagoranski will also appear in the festival on June 13th and 21st respectively. To have three accordionists at this prestigious festival in separate items is indeed a reflection of how well the instrument is becoming integrated into the classical music world.
Zydeco Meets Skiffle, London – UK Contributed by Rob Howard The Zydeco band Hottboxx share the bill with the skiffle band Eastside in a concert on June 8th. Eastside open the proceedings at 7.30pm, and Hottboxx are on stage at 9.30pm. Fronted by the irrepressible Carla on piano accordion, Hottboxx will be playing a mix of Zydeco, Blues and Rock 'n Roll
Staten Island Irish Festival, New York - USA
Contributed by Rob Howard
The 8th Staten Island Irish Festival takes place on June 10th and 11th, featuring the Willie Lynch band at 1pm, and the Bogside Rogues at 5pm on the 11th. On the 12th, the Andy Cooney band performs at 1pm, and Tommy O’Callaghan and the Moonshiners are on stage at 4.30pm. All three bands feature accordionists. The festival takes place at Staten Island Rodeo Grounds, Exit 15, Lily Pond Avenue, off the Staten Island Expressway.
Galway-based diatonic button accordionist Joe Burke hosts his annual series of master classes during July. These are as follows:-
July 3rd to 8th - Willie Clancy Summer School, Milltown, Malbay
July 10th to15th - South Sligo Summer School, Tubbercury, Sligo
17th to 22nd - Joe Mooney Summer School, Drumshanbo, Leitrim
July 24th to 29th - Mc Peake Summer School, Belfast
Professional and amateur accordionists of all ages gather from around the world to learn, practice and perform the art of the accordion in Montreux. The tutors are Mady and Peter Soave (USA), and Jean Louis Noton (France). During the seminar all lectures, lessons, meals and room accommodations are hosted in a center that emphasizes camaraderie and progress in a friendly environment. Aside from music making, participants can enjoy the breathtaking panorama of the Swiss mountains! Due to popular demand, this year’s master classes are two be held over two separate weeks: August 1st to 8th, and 11th to 18th. The master classes will cover the following topics: Classical, tango, musette, jazz, improvisation, world-music; MIDI programming and performance; Articulation, fingering, phrasing, bellow techniques; Solo and chamber music; History of the accordion; Computer-Aided Music.
Eddie Hession Solo CD Release, London - UK
Contributed by Rob Howard
Accordionist Eddie Hession, currently a member of the band ZUM, has made his first solo CD, titled ‘Under Duress’. The recording features music written by Chick Corea, Adam Summerhayes, David Gordon, Bill Evans and Astor Piazzolla.
Accordion Event in Le parc de la Villette, Paris – France
Contributed by Rob Howard
Le parc de la Villette, Paris on August 26th and 27th will be the scene for two days of continuous accordion music, including all styles – jazz, musette, contemporary, ethnic, etc. Players already booked to appear include Daniel Mille, David Venitucci, Lionel Suarez, Didier Dullieux, Jean-Luc Amestoy, Pascal Contet, Jean-François Baëz, Man Xin, Yves Weyh and Zakarya, sheng player Wu Wei, Jean-Luc Bouffard, Ophélie Gaillard, Marianne Piketty, Bijan Chemirani, Serge Adam, Philippe Botta, Carol Robinson and Tom Mays.
Pascal Contet, the artistic director of this event, is looking for accordionists from anywhere in the world, of any age, style or experience to participate. All participants are offered food and beverage and entrance for the special cabaret evening in Sauvage on August 26th.