With the passing of Ron Beecham, the UK and wider accordion community has lost one of its great stalwart personalities (see below). Anyone who wishes to contact Elaine and the family at this sad time should write to:
136 St. Andrews Avenue, Colchester, Essex C04 3AQ, England, UK.
Born in Birmingham on July 13th 1936, Ron Beecham taught accordion there for many years before his marriage to Elaine. They continued with teaching both in Birmingham and establishing the renowned Accordion School in Colchester where he and Elaine settled and raised their 2 sons Craig and Lloyd and one daughter Tara.
In 1972 Ron was elected Chairman of the National Accordion Organisation of the UK – an office he served for the following three years before becoming General Secretary from 1975-1983. He was elected an NAO Deputy President in 1985. Ron attended the CIA Coupe Mondiale as an adjudicator in 1979 when the event was held in Cannes, France, and later hosted the CIA Winter Congress in Colchester.
Together with Elaine he has travelled throughout the world with the highly accomplished and multiple prize winning Colchester Accordion Orchestra.
Ron Beecham passed away, after a short battle with an extremely aggressive cancer of the bladder and liver, in hospital with his family at his bedside on the 20th June 2006. The funeral will be held on Monday 3rd July 1.15pm at Colchester Crematorium. Ron will be sadly missed by his wife Elaine, his three children Craig, Lloyd and Tara, son-in –law Darren, grand daughter Darcy, and all that knew him. A truly memorable and devoted man.
66th Annual ATG Competition and Festival, Minneapolis - USA
The Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG) will hold the 66th Annual Competition and Festival at the Ramada Mall of America and Thunderbird Convention Center from June 29th to July 2nd.
Featured this year will be renowned Russian teacher and concert artiste Viatcheslav Semionov, from the Gnessin Institute in Moscow, who will perform in concert and present several workshops and master classes. Other featured artistes include: Murl Sanders, Stas Venglevski, Amy Jo Sawyer, Minnesota Accordion Quintet, Mike Alongi, Larry Malmberg, John Scaffeo, Dan Newton and the Café Accordion Orchestra, Dee Langley (pictured left) and the Orkestar Bez Ime as well as the 2006 ATG Festival Orchestra under the direction of ATG President Joan C. Sommers (pictured right).
Tickets for all concerts and functions are available at the ATG Registration Desk at the Festival Registration Desk, and a full schedule of events and further information is available on the ATG Website
The three-day celebration includes concerts, workshops, banquets (with entertainment), a late night ‘open stage’ musical jam and even a dance. Saturday’s banquet will include a special tribute to John Copiskey (posthumously, Johnny’s Music, Duluth, Minnesota) into the ATG Accordion Hall of Fame.
Finnish concert accordionist Mika Väyrynen performed Gubaidulina's ‘Seven Words’ with the Deutsche Kammerakademie Orchestra under the direction of Ralf Gothoni with cellist Mr. Arto Noras on the June 18th at the closing concert of ‘Naantali Music Festival’ in Finland. One of the most respected Chamber Music Festivals in the world attracting some of the worlds most respected performers, Mika’s performance achieved critical acclaim and was very well received by the 1,000 strong audience filling the Naantali Church.
Mika is one of the most active concert accordionists today and has been very proactive in building the concert repertoire for accordionists by working with many world renowned composers. Two such recent collaborations include his premiere of Pehr Henrik Nordgren's new concerto with the NBC Symphony Orchestra and ‘Metamorphoses’, by Paavo Korpijaakko.
On June 30th Mika Väyrynen will be one of the international jury members on the 2nd Annual live TV Broadcast production of the International ‘Primus Ikaalinen’ competition which will be held during the 34th annual Sata-Häme Soi International Accordion Festival in Ikaalinen, Finland. At the samefestival, on July 1st, Mika will perform a concert on bandoneon with his Quintet. The concert entitled 'La Camorra' will feature concert works by Astor Pizzolla including: ‘Four Seasons’ (Portenos), the complete ‘La Camorra’,’ Concierto para Quinteto’, and music from ‘Sur’.
Accordionist Angel Luis Castaño has released a new CD, featuring exclusively Spanish new music for solo accordion. The composers include Jesus Rueda, David del Puerto, Gonzalo de Olavide, Josep Soler, Cesar Camarero and Jesus Torres - all are very well known in Spain and abroad, winners of international and national prizes and composer’s competitions. All the pieces were written specially for Angel Luis Castaño, who has premiered all of them.
The 16th Coupe Jeunesse International Accordion competition, under the auspices of the CIA, was held from June 4th to 6th in the town of Dunajska Streda, Slovakia.
The competition, featuring some 24 contestants, was conducted in two age classes: Category A up to 14 years, and B up to 17 years, and was of a very commendable standard. Category A was won by Przemyslaw Degorski (Poland), and Category B by Adienn Lukacs (Slovakia).
The International Jury, under the Presidency of Raymond Bodell (photo), CIA Vice President, included Professor Janka Halacova (Slovakia), Graham Laurie (Scotland), Jerzy Kaszuba (Poland), Zoltan Szokolai (Hungary), Edward Wall (Germany), Professor Antonin Dvorak (Czech Republic), Professor Bogdan Dowlasz (Poland) and host from the Slovak Republic, Tibor Racz.
Various concerts were organised during the festival including a fine finale presentation concert in which both winners were featured as well as the very impressive duo Veronika - Milaberska (accordion) and Radovan Dolezal (cello), from the Czech Republic.
The festival next year will be held from May 25th – 29th 2007.
The 2nd International Accordion Festival held in Pontarlier, France
Following the great success of the CIA Coupe Mondiale in 2004 held in this French town located near to the Swiss border, the local government were delighted to promote and finance this International Festival over the next five years under the guidance of Frederic Deschamps
The second of these International Festivals was held June 1st -3rd 2006 and featured selected contestants Stephane Belleville (France - photo), Henna-Maija Kuki (Finland) (photo), Jean Ribeiro (Portugal) (photo), Gorka Hermosa (Spain), Cyril Blanchard (France), and Ferdinado Ciarelli (Italy) (Prizewinners photo). All expenses as well as the substantial prize money of €5,000 being sponsored by the local government!
The contest is in three parts, the first was a solo performance judged by an International jury and regional jury, the second was a public text vote following the playing of a CD track from each contestant on radio and the third was a performance with Orchestra, judged by the International jury, regional jury and public audience vote!
The International Jury consisted of Raymond Bodell (UK - CIA Vice President), Kimmo Mattila (Finland - CIA Vice President), Graham Laurie (Scotland) (Jury photo) and Benoid Chabod (France).
This year the contestants were all very professional in their preparation and gave some fine performances. Some certainly demonstrated greater experience in playing with others and clearly the public had very similar opinions as the experts!
The winner this year was 26 year old Stephane Belleville (photo), who certainly demonstrated he had a great professional career in front of him.
Highlight of the opening Gala concert was a fantastic performance of an arrangement of a Piazzolla concerto for Accordion and string Orchestra by Benoid Chabod. This young accordionist demonstrated a lot of maturity and musical feeling.
Also during the weekend festivities was featured a Trophee Regional for young variety players (Photo of Regional Prizewinners) they had two performances to give, the second being backed by the members of the famous Michel Pruvot Orchestra (photo). The winner of this category was 14 year old Lydie Baud.
Ernest Deffner Publications Enlarges Music Catalogue, New York – USA
Whether you are looking for Viatcheslav Semionov’s newest composition ‘Divertimento’, Bill Palmer's obscure ‘Ombo’, a melody identified with the legendary Charles Magnante, some favorite Val-Taro musettes, The Beatles’s Greatest Hits or Matt Mathews’ crisp jazz improvisations, you'll find it among the more than 10,000 titles offered by Ernest Deffner Publications of New York.
This 72-year-old firm has revitalized the old catalogues of Pietro Deiro, O. Pagani & Bros, Aretta, Highland and Mosti Publications. Their site includes collections from Alfred, Mel Bay, Santorella, Hal Leonard and other publishers of accordion material. Instruction books relating to all areas of accordion study, plus music for solo, duet, ensemble and orchestra are all offered through prompt, efficient web site or mail orders. The current catalogue is available, or visit Ernest Deffner Publications.
National Festival of the Accordion, Erbezzo - Italy
Contributed by Gary Blair
Scottish accordionist Gary Blair is performing at the 15th National Festival of the Accordion, held in the Palace of Sport, Erbezzo, from June 23 – 26th. This festival is both a National and European accordion competition. Gary Blair’s participation has been arranged by Cooperfisa Accordions.
Accordionist Guy Klucevsek has two upcoming solo appearances in the New York City area: on July 7th he will present a full solo concert in the cabaret series at Bard Summerscape, in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, at 8.30pm, in the world famous Spiegeltent.
On July 8th he will play a solo set on the First Annual Main Squeeze Accordion Festival in Riverside Park South in New York City. Both concerts will feature his own compositions from his Winter & Winter recordings, ‘The Heart of the Andes’ and The Well-Tampered Accordion’.
UK-based punk band The Tiger Lillies are to appear in ‘Die Weberischen’, a musical comedy that is a co-production of the Vereinigte Bühnen Wien and the Vienna Mozart Year 2006.
‘Die Weberischen’ is a work of musical theatre full of satire and black humour, involving the complicated relationship between W.A. Mozart, Mozart´s wife Constanze Weber, her mother, and her three sisters. The play is written by Felix Mitterer, one of Austria´s most well known contemporary authors, and Martyn Jacques, accordionist and front man of The Tiger Lillies.
‘Die Weberischen’ runs from August 28th to September 21st, and all performances begin at 7.30pm.
The Tiger Lillies also perform in three concerts:-
July 13th – Babylon, Istanbul, Turkey
17th – Radison SAS Ballroom, Galway, Ireland
September 24th – Landestheater Linz, Linz, Austria
The 20th Harwich Accordion Week, founded by Graham Romani Hon FBCA (1917-1993), takes place from 7th to 11th August at St. James Church, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex. The Musical Director is Ian Watson, and the Orchestral Leader is Julie North. This non residential course concludes with a charity concert in St. James Church.
International Accordion Competition, Lanciano - Italy
The “Città di Lanciano” International Competition for Accordionists, organised by the Associazione Gruppo Tradizioni Popolari, takes place in Lanciano on October 7th and 8th. This event incorporates two competitions, the ‘VI International Competition for Accordionists Variété and Classic’, and the ‘VIII International Prize for Concert-Accordionists’.
There are money prizes plus Diplomas of Laureate for the first three placed candidates, and all other competitors will receive a certificate of participation.
Italian accordionist is to lead the ‘Accordion High School’ in Rimini, a series of advanced lessons concerned with various aspects of accordion playing, from October 2006 to June 2007.
The series of workshops, lectures and seminars involves guest teachers, including Claudio Jacomucci, Luciano Biondini, Roberto Lucanero, Paolo Picchio, Viatcheslav Semionov (Russia), and Matti Rantanen (Finland).
One of the sessions will be a concert to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee - 60 years – of Pigini Accordions, featuring Viatcheslav Semionov, Claudio Jacomucci, and students from Beijing Conservatory and Rimini Conservatory.
Places are limited, and the deadline for applications is July 31st 2006
Contributed by Faithe Deffner (right), 2007 Coupe Mondiale Coordinator
With regard to the Coupe Mondiale, scheduled for the USA in 2007, many of the plans are now firmly in place and more information is now available.
The event will take place at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites in Alexandria, Virginia, which is located about five miles from Washington DC, with nearby city train for sightseeing. The hotel provides free shuttle service from Reagan National Airport in DC. When booking flights, it may be wise to arrange to fly into Reagan, for some substantial savings - free shuttle vs. about a $50 cab fare from Dulles.
The dates are Monday, August 13th (acclimatization day) to Sunday, August 19th 2007 (departure). There is a special room rate of $99 plus tax, which remains the same from single to quad (up to four in the room). The same rate will apply three days before and three days following the event, for those who wish to extend their stay.
Those who eat at the hotel restaurant, Traditions, may select from two money saving options: Holiday's signature plan where ‘Kids Eat Free’ when accompanied by full-paying adults -- or the AAA/ATG(right) participants special program of 10% off all menu prices.
A new site selling a CD titled ‘Tarabuk’, with sound samples. Music performed by Marco Lo Russo of Italy. Purchase online.
Gary Dahl - accordionist as well as a composer, arranger, recording artist and music educator, releases 3 replacements of his works for accordion available for purchase online. 'Les Bicyclettes De Belsize', 'Pigalle', 'Under Paris Skies'. Samples of this music are available on the site. The music is in eSheet format, able to be emailed to your computer. Purchase with credit card.
A new site selling a CD titled "My Favourite Song Volume 1" with sound samples. Music performed by Enzo Giribaldi of Italy. Purchase online.