On September 1st Finnish concert accordionist Veli Kujala will perform in the opening night of Gaudeamus Music Week in Amsterdam a new concerto by Finnish composer Sampo Haapamäki with leading Dutch contemporary music ensemble Insomnio, conducted by Ulrich Pöhl.
The concerto entitled 'Velinikka' was commissioned by the Gaudeamus Music Week, and is written for Veli Kujala, to be played with a new instrument, a quartertone accordion.
The instrument is a standard concert accordion with one exception: the reed blocks are replaced with quartertone reed blocks so that they can produce a quartertone chromatic scale that ranges nearly five octaves. The instrument was invented and designed by Veli Kujala and built by Pigini Accordions with a financial support from the Wihuri Foundation. Quarter tone tuning is made by Tapio Peltola.
Sampo Haapamäki (b. 1979) is one of the most successful young Finnish composers and has received for example the Gaudeamus Prize in 2004, ISCM-CASH Young Composer Award in 2005 and Finnish Teosto Prize in 2006 with his compositions.
The 70th Anniversary American Accordionists' Association (AAA) Competition and Festival held in Alexandria, VA (Washington DC) attracted participants from as far away as China and France as well as throughout the United States.
Three International Competitions were held during the festival with results as follows:
AAA International Piano Accordion Competition
1st Prize - $3,500.00: Not Awarded
2nd Prize - $1,000.00: Nie Qian (China)
3rd Prize - $500.00: Anthony Falco (USA)
AAA Vivian Vivio Stolaruk International Entertainment Competition
1st Prize - $3,000.00: Jeremie Buirette (France)
2nd Prize - $1,500.00: Nie Qian (China)
3rd Prize - $500.00: Anthony Falco (USA)
AAA Maddalena Belfiore Entertainment Competition for Female Accordionists
1st Prize - $1,000.00: Nie Qian (China)
2nd Prize - $500.00: Danielle Renzi (USA)
3rd Prize - $350.00: Sun Liqin (China)
4th Prize - $150.00: no entrant
In addition to the competitions and workshops, the festival featured several artists including AAA Board Member and concert artist Mary Tokarski (picture left) with pianist Dessie Vaughan, jazz artist Joe Cerrito as well as the AAA Board of Directors Ensemble and the AAA 70th Anniversary Festival Orchestra. International guest artist Alexander Poeluev (picture right) from Russia received several standing ovations and encores for his spectacular performance.
The festival attracted much press coverage from coast to coast with lengthy newspaper reports being featured in both the New York and Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The USA Today and many more.
The 10th International Music Accordion Camp takes place in elected residence to said Sauris di Sotto, a small town situated close to Udine, in the Dolomites. The IMAC is organised in two separate weeks, July 26th to August 2nd, and August 2nd to 9th 2009, and the teachers are Jean-Louis Noton, Mady and Peter Soave.
Sauris di Sotto is a small paradise where vacation and music combine themselves wonderfully, and the hotel used by IMAC has a variety of health and holiday facilities. IMAC welcomes accordionists and music lovers of all levels and all ages from around the world, and encourages all styles of music. IMAC offers master-classes, seminars, lectures, group playing and private instruction in a professional setting that harmonizes nature and learning. Participants can anticipate a healthy musical environment full of friendship and learning in a 3 star hotel and will enjoy the breathtaking panorama of Italian Dolomites!
The prestigious Coupe Mondiale International Competition is to be hosted for the first time in Scotland with musical guests/performers from the four corners of the world, 21st - 26th October 2008.
The CIACoupe Mondiale, recognized as the most prestigious annual accordion competition of international scope, takes place in a different country every year, under the auspices of the Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes.
To be part of this great event as a competitor, you are reminded that the entry closing date is 31st August 2008 – have you completed your online entry submission at www.coupemondiale.org?
Already the top Coupe Mondiale class has over 20 entrants with the 2008 Coupe Mondiale likely to break the previous record for entries. Its sure to be a hugely exciting event.
If you are planning to attend the Coupe Mondiale, have you submitted your online submission to participate in the CIA World Accordion Orchestra II? Have you made your hotel reservation?
Extra chairs were needed to accommodate the larger-than-anticipated crowd that turned out for the 1st annual "Accordions Now!" Festival held on Saturday August 2nd at the Radisson Manchester Hotel, New Hampshire.
Intended to highlight the versatility of the accordion, this inaugural event was co-sponsored by the New Hampshire Accordion Association and Accordion Connection LLC of Gilmanton. The action-packed, music-filled day included concerts, workshops, an accordion orchestra, demonstrations, an open jam session, door prizes, vendor displays [Arthur Welch photo], and more.
Special guest artist Tony Lovello widely known as “The Liberace of the Accordion," received multiple standing ovations with the audience’s warm enthusiasm extending to the other featured performers: Mary Tokarski, Gary Morin, Nils Lundin, Chad Huval, John Leeman, and the "Accordions Now!" Festival Orchestra, conducted by Donna Maria Regis.
The latter, along with Peter Widmark, accompanied Nils Lundin in playing for the Scandi-Dancers’, emceed by Laurie Widmark. During the day, guest accordionists Mary Gail Duffy, Joe Maciejowski [photo], Bob & Anita Siarkowski, Jerry Tramontozzi, and Carmen Vitanza entertained in the public assembly area, where they drew favorable media coverage to the festival.
Bayan player Efim Jourist was the leader of the Jourist Quartett (Mikhail Kibardin – violin, Andreas Hecht – guitar, Johannes Huth - double bass) until his death in 2007. After Jourist died, well-known accordionist/bayanist Aidar Gaynullin took his position and became soloist with the quartet, which kept its name in the memory of its founder.
The repertoire of the ensemble consists of Argentinean tangos of Piazzolla as well as compositions of Jourist and Gaynullin, and the quartet inspires the public with its ‘Russian interpretations’ of concert tangos, played on the highest artistic level. The Jourist quartet appeared at international music festivals such as Rheingau Musik Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn, Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, Carinthian Summer and Delft Chamber Music Festival.
On August 28th and 29th the Jourist Quartet will perform Russian and Argentinean tangos as well as film music by Aidar Gaynullin at the prestigious Schleswig-Holstein Festival in Germany.
Brandon McPhee, from Caithness in the north of Scotland, has just released his first CD: ‘A 'Starr' Is Born’. Brandon plays the 3-row diatonic button accordion, and the CD title pays homage to the memory of the late Will Starr, one of Scotland’s button accordion legends.
Brandon, aged 13, already has that 'magic' in his music that captures people’s attention. Under the tuition of his uncle Daniel MacPhee, Brandon has been playing the button key accordion for only just over a year and has made phenomenal progress.
The tracks on Brandon’s CD include: Scotland The Brave; Mhairi’s Wedding; Thistle Of Scotland/Donald MacLean’s Farewell to Oban, Inveresk House/The Road to Applecross/The Blue Bell Polka/The Shetland Two Step/The Jacqueline; Waltz/The Lewis and Harris Gathering; Laird Of Drumblair; John Keith Laing/Memories of Willie Snaith/Loch Ruan; Leslie Angus; Thomas Saunders/The Glens of Angus; Calin Mo Run Sa;The Road and the Miles to Dundee; My Mother/The Atholl Highlanders; Donald Iain Rankine/ John MacMillan of Barra; Jean’s Reel.
The 18th annual Cotati Accordion Festival takes place on August 23rd and 24th at La Plaza Park, E Cotati Ave and Old Redwood Highway, Cotati, California. The Cotati Accordion Festival is a two-day event of nonstop accordion music to benefit local youth groups. Highlights include concerts, dance parties in the polka tent, Zydeco dancing, numerous accordion-related vendors, and the annual ‘Lady of Spain’ ring, including the releasing of the doves. Dick Contino is the festival’s special guest.
Performers include The Golden State Accordion Club, Amber Lee and the Anomalies, The Hurricane, Hugh Morrison, Alex Meixner, The Great Morgani, Limpopo, Lady of Spain, Simka, Dick Contino, Polka Freakout, Vagabond Opera, Jessica Fichot, Brian Jack and the Zydeco Gamblers, Motordude Zydeco, The Wild Catahoula's, Steve Balich Band, Tango #9, The Internationals, Monterey International with guest tenor Oracio Aiello, The Georges Lammam Ensemble, Joe Domitrowich/Capricious Accordion, and Big Lou.
Mie Miki, born in Tokyo in 1956, studied accordion in Germany at the Trossingen Academy of Music. She won the first prizes at the International Accordion Competition, Klingenthal, and since 2000 she has been a Professor at the Detmold College of Music, Dortmund. Mainly setting her activities in Germany, Miki is invited often to many significant international music festivals.
2008 marks number 20 in the ‘Mie Miki Accordion Works’ recitals that Mie Miki began performing in the 1980s. The sole standard for the repertoire of these special annual concerts is the music Ms. Miki happens to be most attracted to at the time. The theme of this year’s program is “Dreams, thoughts and horizons,” with works by Mozart, Astor Piazzolla, John Cage, music from the film ‘The Umbrellas of Cherbourg’, and the world premiere of a piece commissioned to world-renowned composer Takashi Yoshimatsu.
Mie Miki’s performance schedule is:
September 13th, 4.30pm - Hall Egg Farm, Space Who (Fukaya, Saitama); performing with Georg Friedrich Schenck – piano
20th, 6.30pm - Kosugi Hoan Museum of Art, Nikko
24th, 7pm - Okurayama Memorial Hall, with G. F. Schenck - piano
27th, 2pm - Hyogo Performing Arts Center, with G. F. Schenck - piano
28th, 2pm - Hamarikyu Asahi Hall; ’Mie Miki Accordion Works 2008’ - performing with G. F. Schenck - piano and Hideki Ikegami - marimba and percussion
October 7th, 3pm and 7.30pm - Hakuju Hall
11th to 13th - Sendai Classical Music Festival 2008
The Eastbourne Accordion Festival takes place From October 10th to 13th at the Cumberland Hotel, Eastbourne, on the south coast of England. Organised by John Romero, the guest artistes include Marco Valenti - Italy, Pearl Fawcett-Adriano, Harry Hussey, Les Girls, and the Crawley Accordion Orchestra (MD Shaun Hunter).
Canadian singer, songwriter, poet and novelist Leonard Cohen, whose work explores themes such as religion, isolation, sexuality, and complex interpersonal relationships, has been an international cult figure since the 1960s. Cohen’s backing band, which includes accordionist and keyboard player Neil Larsen, is currently on a European Tour, with dates including:
September 21st – Arcul de Trumpf, Bucharest, Romania
24th and 25th – Konzerthaus, Vienna, Austria
27th - HC Sparta Arena, Prague, Czech Republic
October 4th – O2, Berlin, Germany
6th – Olympiahalle, Munich
10th - Hartwall Areena, Helsinki, Finland
12th – Scandinavium, Gothenburg, Sweden
15th – Globen, Stockholm
17th – Forum, Copenhagen, Denmark
19th and 20th - Forest National, Brussels, Belgium
23rd - Teatro Degli Arcimboldi, Milan, Italy
25th – Hallenstadion, Zurch, Switzerland
27th - Seg Geneva Arena, Geneva
29th – Festhalle, Frankfurt, Germany
31st - Colorline Arena, Hamburg
November 2nd - Konig-Pilsener Arena, Oberhausen
3rd – Ahoy, Rotterdam, Netherlands
5th and 6th – Clyde, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
8th - Cardiff International Arena, Wales
11th - Bournemouth International Centre, England
13th - The O2, London
22nd – NEC, Birmingham
24th, 25th and 26th – Olympia, Paris, France
28th - Centre, Brighton, England, UK
30th – MEN Arena, Manchester
Les AMIS Ensemble is a group of Canadian-based classical musicians who often perform together as a group and in various combinations. The ensemble performs contemporary as well as traditional chamber music. Their members include leading accordionist Joseph Macerollo, Lynn Kuo – violin, Rachel Mercer – cello, Marianna Humetska – piano, The Penderecki String Quartet (Jeremy Bell – violin, Jerzy Kaplanek – violin, Christine Vlajk – violin and Simon Fryer - cello), Dennis Patrick – electronics, and Katarzyna Sadej - mezzo-soprano.
In April 2009 Les AMIS Ensemble will visit Europe, and their tour dates include:
April 12th, 3pm – fund raising concert, Gallery 345, 345 Sorauren Avenue, Toronto, Canada
20th - Pernik, Bulgaria
21st - Sofia, Bulgaria
23rd, 12noon, 5pm and 10pm – Canada Day at the 25th Music Biennale Zagreb, Croatia, part of the International Festival of Contemporary Music
25th - Bucharest, Romania
25th - International Festival of Modern Art - “Two Days and Two Nights of New Music”, Odessa, Ukraine
27th - Belgrade, Serbia (to be confirmed)