The well-known accordion manufacturer Alberto Giustozzi died on January 29th 2007 at the age of 69, after a long and incurable illness borne bravely.
Alberto continued a passion inherited from his family, and his grandfather Giuseppe had learned about the accordion business from Paolo Soprani, while his father Luigi and uncle Egisto had worked with Settimio Soprani.
The firm run by Alberto Giustozzi, founded in 1946, is now handed to his son Giampiero.
There are a number of important changes this year to the South Pacific and New Zealand Accordion Championships, the largest annual accordion event in the Southern Hemisphere, to be held in Auckland, Friday June 1st to Sunday June 3rd.
For the first time, contestants from every country may enter the international categories.
The Australasian Accordion Championships run by the AATA will be held one week after the New Zealand event and they have the same rules for the international categories. Usually, international visitors can travel on to Australia for only a very small amount (often only 50 Euro) extra airfare.
Rules for the top category have been aligned to the Coupe Mondiale International Piano Accordion category rules, which are:
Own Choice Program: consisting of three (3) or more pieces including one from the Baroque era, one piece to be of a slower, lyrical style* and one piece of a technical virtuosic style**. It must contain at least one original work, but transcriptions may also be used. Individual movements from cyclic works are acceptable.
• * Examples of the slower, lyrical style: ‘Kalina Krasnaia’, by Semionov, ‘Romance’, by Angelis, ‘Vocalise’, by Rachmaninov, ‘Aria’, by Bach etc...
• ** Examples of the technical virtuosic style: ‘Caprice’, by Paganini, a fast Sonata by Scarlatti, ‘Finale of 1st Sonata’, by Kusjakov etc...
Accordions International 2007, a large-scale annual festival held annually at Caister in Norfolk, England, takes place from November 1st to 5th. Organised by Heather Smith (picture right), the guest artistes include Bernadette Conlon (Australia), Giancarlo Caporilli (Italy - picture left), Vladimir Ushakov (Russia), Svetlana Stavitskaya (Latvia) and Sergei Likhachov (Russia), plus UK accordionists Romano Viazzani, Gary Blair (picture below left), Amaryllis, Norvic Concordia and Bert Santilly.
Bernadette Conlon (picture left) makes her UK debut at Caister. She has toured the USA, Canada, China and Europe, and has won over 100 first places in competitions, including several Australian and South Pacific Accordion Championship titles to her credit.
Vladimir Ushakov – piano accordion - and Sergei Likhachov – button accordion, were guests at Caister in 1996, as leaders of the popular St Petersburg Musette Ensemble.
The festival includes weekend orchestras, workshops, master classes, ‘free & easy’ playing, dancing and a trade show.
Vladimir Ushakov (Russia) and Svetlana Stavitskaya (Latvia) in duet.
Accodemia Trio performers: Vladimir Ushakov, Svetlana Stavitskaya, Sergei Likhachov, from St Petersburg, Russia (picture right).
The French national accordion magazine ‘Accordéon et Accordéonistes’ presents the March issue, which includes an article about the youngest children of the international elite competitions ‘Julie Blocher and Benoît Nortier’ (pictured left).
These two 11 year old pupils of Frederic Deschamps qualified brilliantly two weeks ago at the time of the national qualifications at la Selle sur le Bied and will take part in the Coupe Mondiale in Washington D.C. in August.
Photograph 1. Discover the programming of the TV program ‘Télé Mélody’, by Michel Pruvot (picture right). This program is 100 % accordion, which you can receive by satellite throughout the world.
Photograph 2: Michel Pruvot accompanied by the famous French group ‘The Creole Company’. Also in the March issue of ‘Accordéon et Accordéonistes’ is an article about the innovation of French Rock 'n' roll artiste Gerard Blanchard.
Accordionist and Composer Frank Mucedola passes away at 85
The accordion world is saddened to learn of the loss of accordionist Frank Mucedola, 85 who died peacefully Saturday, March 24th 2007, after a battle with prostate cancer. At his side were his loving wife and family.
Renowned accordionist and composer Frank Mucedola was born in San Severo, Foggia, Italy, but lived most of his life in Auburn, New York.
A performer, a teacher and a composer, for many years, Frank toured Auburn and central New York playing with the Sammy Speno Orchestra. He performed as a soloist with several symphony orchestras including the Syracuse Symphony and the New Haven Symphony, however a highlight of his musical career was performing as accordionist with the world-renowned Mantovani Orchestra from 1985 until his passing.
Frank owned and operated the Frank Mucedola Accordion School and composed many works for the accordion including the ‘Fox and the Hound’, which is played throughout the world. Frank was a member of the American Federation of Musicians, the American Accordionist Association, the Italian Heritage Society and the VFW. Sgt. First Class Frank Mucedola was an Army veteran of World War II, having served with the 304th Infantry Regiment of the 76th Division as part of General Patton's Third Army that fought through France, Luxembourg and Germany.
On Sunday April 1st, Finnish accordionist Mika Väyrynen will perform ‘Seven Last Words’, for bayan, cello and chamber orchestra, by Sofia Gubaidulina. Mika will perform with cellist Arto Noras and the Virtuosi di Kuhmo Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Ralf Gothoni at 'Ritarihuone' in Helsinki at 6pm.
Virtuosi di Kuhmo was founded in 1992 to continue the traditions of the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival's orchestra, and features some of Finland's best musicians from leading Finnish orchestras to artistes pursuing international careers. They have performed at many of the world's leading festivals and are currently releasing their eighth CD. This new CD is a recording of works by Finnish composer Aulis Sallinen (German CPO Label) including ‘Chamber Music 5 'Barabbas Variations' Op. 80’, with Mika Väyrynen, soloist.
The Hohner Artists performers of Frédéric Deschamps were invited by the music business La Clé de Sol of Flers in Normandy on Sunday 18th March for a concert.
Passionate accordionists had come to discover the new teaching techniques developed by the young and brilliant teacher Frédéric Deschamps which people from around the world come to France to learn from – USA, China, New Zealand, Africa, Lapland.
Small Emmerich, (8 years) and Sandrine Touchard (Professor of the Clé de Sol music school) were chosen by Frédéric Deschamps to assist him reveal the secrets of the compression and air flow of the bellows, the touch / technique of playing on the surface of the keys and other technical aspects responsible for a real improvements in the playing of all students, from amateur to the professional.
Some pupils of Frédéric Deschamps had accompanied him to Flers and provided musical interludes. "Speedy" Julien Gonzales, 19 years, "4 times champion of the World" opened with a repertoire of variety music of Richard Galliano, Jerome Richard, Astor Piazzola, etc).
Young Grayson Masefield from New Zealand, in France to study with Frédéric Deschamps preparing for the Coupe Mondiale 2007 in Washington, continued with a brilliant demonstration of piano accordion.
"Speedy" Gonzales then performed classic repertoire with his free bass instrument and then the concert finished with Phil Bouvier, Champion of the World 2004 and victorious at the Castelfidardo (Italy) International Variety category competition in October 2006.
The audience were equally impressed on the one hand by the the talent and diversity of styles and repertories of these brilliant artists, as by the effectiveness of the teaching discoveries of Frédéric Deschamps on the other. A future seminar will be organized.
Renaud Dutreil, Minister of SME, the Trade, Craft Industry and Professionals, recently awarded Laurent Jarry, owner of ‘La Boite d'Accordéon’, with the title ‘Enterprise du Patrimoine Vivant’.
The label ‘Enterprise du Patrimoine Vivant’ highlights and honours French companies with exceptional skill and knowledge. Their talents form part of the integrating of the French workmanship and quality standards.
On April 6th 2007, the all accordion show ‘Music Makes the World Go Round’ will make its debut at the Tower Theater in Branson, Missouri featuring the Christian family.
Billed as an amazing interactive production, attendees will experience the music, costumes, dances and scenery of 14 different countries of the world. The show's second half explores the diversity of American musical styles including Ragtime, Boogie, Polka, Gospel, Pop, Cajun, Patriotic, and more.
Using acoustic and midi accordions, the show features virtuoso accordionists Kim and Dan Christian and their daughters Cerissa and Camille.
On Friday April 13th, at 8pm, join the International folk dance band Orkestar Bez Ime (OBI) at Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Ave, Minneapolis, with Daddy Squeeze's (Dan Newton) Gypsy Café, as they celebrate the Rogarian mystical tradition of Leap Day and other nonsense. OBI features songs from Macedonia, Slovakia, Albania, Romania, Israel, Bulgaria, Finland, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Romany (Gypsy) and of course, Rogaria. Dancing encouraged and, in some cases, taught.
The Texas Folklife Organization is putting the squeeze on 'Lone Star' players by offering their first ever accordion competition, which will be filmed by famed director Hector Galán (‘Accordion Dreams’, ‘Los Lonely Boys: Cottonfields and Crossroads’) as part of 'The Big Squeeze' documentary, which will be aired on PBS. The competition is open to Texas residents up to age 28 who are not full-time professional players. The competition offers $1,000 first prize and is designed for young, up-and-coming Texas accordionists performing all genres of music.
Eight semi-finalists will be chosen to perform on June 1st, in Houston at Talento Bilingue de Houston, and three finalists will perform on June 2nd, at the Accordion Kings & Queens concert, on the same Miller Outdoor Theatre stage as headliners Chubby Carrier and Mingo Saldivar (the subject of Galán's documentary, ‘I Love My Freedom, I Love My Texas’). The audience will help determine the winning order. Second and third place winners will receive $500 and $250 respectively with other prizes to be announced.
The goal of the competition and one hour documentary is to bring the accordion music and the compelling personal stories of its makers, to a broader audience in Texas and beyond, and to support the growth of young players and to assure the future of "the national instrument of Texas."
Entries close April 16th and competition rules and entry forms are available at www.texasfolklife.org or by calling 512-441-9255.
Morley College, 61 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7HT, is the venue for an accordion club, whose future meeting dates are May 4th, May 11th, June 1st, June 8th, July 6th and July 13th. Meetings begin at 7pm.
The Morley Accordion Club will be doing a free lunchtime concert, in the Holst Room at Morley College, on Tuesday July 3rd at 1.05 pm.
Morley College offers three different courses in accordion tuition – for ‘beginners’, ’improvers’ and ‘continuation’.
The Spring Tango Festival takes place on April 7th and 8th in the Mediterranean resort of La Grande-Motte, and this event features the bandoneon-led bands Callejón, Los Lobos, Tango Parados and Flores del Alma. The festival features Tango dance teachers and performers from many part of the world.