From May 17th to May 20th 2007 Innsbruck will be overflowing with thousands of accordionists and harmonica fans from 15 countries. Nearly 300 accordion orchestras and ensembles will experience an immense and unique festival, which will bring together such a lot of music friends from all over the world: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Poland, Russia, China, Japan, Croatia, Slovakia and Senegal.
There are competitions for accordion orchestras, play groups, steirische harmonica, mouth organ soloists, play groups and orchestras, mixed orchestras as well as instrumental and vocal groups.
Innbruck is guaranteeing wonderful evening events, for example ‘Operassion’, original music from Astor Piazzolla with bandoneon and for the accordion fans, an excellent gala concert by the prizewinners of Innsbruck 2004, the Nürnberger Akkordeonorchester Willi Münch conducted by Stefan Hippe, the Kooperationsorchester of Hohner-Konservatorium Trossingen conducted by Fritz Dobler.
Responsible for the event organisation is Arnold Kutzli, Vice President of Deutscher Harmonika-Verband e.V., (picture left) who will be honored by the CIA with the Presentation of the CIA Merit Award during the event.
There will be a report of the worlds largest accordion event in next weeks news.
The Akkordeonorchester Hof had a major concert on the 13th May - full internet report. The Akkordeonorchester Hof is one of the most active accordion orchestra programs in Germany starting young students with mini accordions from as young as three years of age through to students competing in the top level orchestras at the Innsbruck World Music Festival, a Hobby Orchestra for adults, and contestants competing in German and Coupe Mondiale championships. Full concert report.
The Akkordeonorchester Hof is part of the Hofer Symphoniker Symphony Orchestra teaching and concert program in Hof City, situated in Bavaria close to the border with the former Eastern Germany. Under the dynamic leadership of Günther Zeilinger (picture left), the top level Akkordeonorchester Hof has toured to many countries of the world and is probably today, the worlds most travelled accordion orchestra. They have an excellent CD available online.
Günther Zeilinger is also active as a DHV delegate (German Accordion Assoc.) to the Confederation Internationale des Accordeonistes. Through this, he issued an invitation to the President of the CIA Kevin Friedrich, the Public Relations Manager Harley Jones and Deputy Chairperson of the Music Committee Joan Sommers to visit Hof City and see their accordion education program, the orchestra activities, and then travel with the Akkordeonorchester Hof to the Innsbruck World Music Festival.
For people who have been so active with accordion orchestras over many years, such an exciting invitation could not be missed, so on Sunday 13th May, myself, Kevin Friedrich and Joan Sommers all had the pleasure of attending a major concert at the Festsaal de Freiheitshalle Hof. A full report of the concert has been attached to give you some idea of all the different and interesting accordion activities happening in Hof.
Beltango Quintet Success, Buenos Aires – Argentina
The Beltango Quintet has recently returned form a two week tour to Argentina, invited by the Buenos Aires Ministry of Culture to participate in the official program of the IX World Tango Festival. This is probably the most famous tango festival in the world and the first time that a group or orchestra has been invited from Europe.
Beltango led by Aleksandar Nikolic (bandoneon/harmonika) gave two concerts during the festival at Plazza Echeverria and Teatro Sarmiento. They also performed at two famed milongas, Bien Pulenta and Salon Canning.
The reaction of the audience was terrific and the praise of the old Argentinean tanqueros was particularly appreciated. The atmosphere at Salon Canning during the Beltanogo performance served to confirm that Beltano is one of the very few tango orchestras worldwide that successfully embraces different tango styles - traditional tango, Tango Nuevo and Balkango.
The Buenos Aires audience particularly welcomed the original pieces composed for Beltango, and the new Beltango CD became a hit among tango DJs. The news of a Serbian tango orchestra participating in the IX World Tango Festival attracted considerable coverage in Argentinean media. A protocol on Cooperation was signed between the patron of the Belgrade Tango Festival Stari Grad Municipality and the World Tango Festival organiser, Buenos Aires Ministry of Culture.
Murray Grainger is one of this country’s most accomplished accordionists and teachers, and in recent years has become widely known within the genre of Celtic/folk music. In the DVD ‘Accordion – Mastering the Art’ he deals with such topics as ‘Posture’, ‘Right and left hand techniques’, ‘Articulation’, ‘Tone production and bellows control’, and ‘How to develop tunes’. The DVD closes with a short performance, demonstrating the topics covered.
This DVD is a double-sided disc, in both PAL and NTSC formats, and thus playable anywhere in the world.
Homayoun Honar (picture right), a young Afghan singer and accordionist, performed at a musical evening in Kabul recently. Homayoun Honar is currently the leading professional accordionist in Afghanistan.
The traditional music of Afghanistan uses locally made instruments such as the Tanbur, Dambura, Rubab, Dhol and the Ghechak. Since the 1970s, many bands have emerged in Afghanistan, using western instruments including the accordion. The most beloved national singer of Afghanistan, Ahmad Zaher (picture left) played the accordion professionally and widely used it in his performances. Zaher was born in 1946 and died in a suspicious car accident in 1979.
Today the younger generation of musicians in Afghanistan are very interested in learning the accordion. There has been a School of Music in Kabul for more than 30 years now and the accordion is one of the instruments that is taught there, besides other western instruments such as the violin, the guitar, clarinet, trumpet, etc.
The ‘Acco Holiday’ Festival took place recently in Kiev, at the Yan Tabachnik Cultural Center.
The festival opened with an excellent concert starring Russia’s Yuri Shinskin, and concluded with on the last evening with a concert featuring the competition winners. During the final evening, the President and organiser of the festival, Yan Petrovic Tabachnik (picture left), was presented with the prestigious "Honored Friend of Accordion" award from the Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA).
This award was presented by Mirco Patarini, (picture right) Chairman of the CIA Accordion Development Committeee, and also present was the Tania Lukic-Marx (Australia) who had proposed Yan Tabachnik for this award.
The annual Wazemmes Accordion Festival takes place from May 16th to 27th, featuring accordionists and bands featuring accordions from France and other countries, including Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Belorussia, Brazil, Colombia, Romania, Italy and Germany. The festival includes a variety of concerts and dances.
Leading international artistes include Rodrigo Marchevsky, from Brazil, a specialist of the forrò genre, and the Ukraine’s Bogdan Nesterenko, a bayan player and performer of classical and Ukrainian traditional music. The Cologne Accordion Orchestra, from Germany, and the Humi Accordion Orchestra, from Poland will perform concerts.
A performance of ‘Eight Hermit Thrushes’, by Daniel Goode, takes place on May 20th at 3 pm in The Brick Elephant, 12 Emily Street, Valley Falls, New York. Goode writes in the grand tradition of experimental music pioneered by Charles Ives and Carl Ruggles, and more recently typified by John Cage, Earle Brown and Morton Feldman. The concert will also feature an outdoor installation of field recordings of the hermit thrush.
The Valley Falls concert will feature eight performers: Daniel Goode on clarinet, cellist David Gibson, cellist Monica Wilson-Roach, Rocco Anthony Jerry on accordion, Mary Jane Leach on organ, and three other musicians from the area.
A reception for the artistes will follow the concert. Admission is by donation.
The National Button Accordion Festival takes place in the Yukon Czech Hall, Yukon, Oklahoma, from May 25th to 27th. In this festival the emphasis is on participation, with jam sessions and dancing in a party atmosphere being the main activity.
Some of the big names in the polka world will be present, including the Pivovar Trio, Alaska Polka Chips, Alaska Button Box Club, and the Fontana Button Accordion Club. Despite the festival’s name, piano accordion players are welcome to attend and join in the fun.
The event finishes with a concert and a Polka Mass. There is free parking and a smoke free ballroom.
UK accordionist Karen Tweed appears in concert at the Teatro Novelli, with fiddle player Emma Reid at the Forli Folk Festival on June 6th.
Karen Tweed is widely recognised as one of the finest exponents of Irish traditional music on the piano accordion, and is also in demand for her work as an arranger, composer and tutor. Her music, which moves with ease between blistering melody lines and soulful backing, has been described as “mercurial, subtle and astounding”. She works with many other musicians, most notably as a member of The Poozies and the Anglo-Swedish ensemble SWAP.
Joe Burke has released two of his classic LPs, ‘Traditional Music of Ireland’ and ‘The Bucks of Oranmore’ together on a bumper double CD. These recordings, made in the 1980s, both feature the outstanding piano accompaniment of Charlie Lennon, and are classics of their genre.
The Musical Association Luigi Valcavi in collaboration with the Commune of Carpineti, and with the support of the Community of Emilio Reggio, organises the 4th Biennial Competition for Musicians: ‘Carpinetti in Musica’. This takes place on July 6th to 8th in the Parochial Theater, Piazza della Repubblica, and includes sections for classical, folk and varieté. The event also incldes a program of concerts.