Contributed by Kimmo Mattila, President - Finnish Accordion Association
Lasse PIHLAJAMAA, the renowned Finnish accordionist, composer-arranger and famous teacher passed away on the 14th November in Helsinki in the age of 91 years. He was born in a small Jämijärvi village in the 1st August 1916.
He began his career as a street musician at the age of 12 and in the early stages of his career in the 1930s, earned his living playing at fairgrounds and in restaurants. During the Second World War he served in the Entertainment Corps of the Finnish Army and in the 1940’s and 50’s he had several highly popular bands. His solo engagements and concerts took him to Scandinavia, the Soviet Union, North America, Japan as well as many countries throughout Europe.
In 1957 Pihlajamaa founded an accordion college in Helsinki that operated until 1972. It’s students won numerous prizes in both international and national competitions.
Lasse Pihlajamaa served on the jury of the CIA Coupe Mondiale Competition in 1959 (New York), 1968 (Leicester) and 1974 (Stockholm), and he has been one of the leading inspirations of the Sata-Häme Soi accordion festival in Ikaalinen ever since it began in 1972. In 1996 the Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA) awarded him the Merit Award in recognition of his outstanding services to the international accordion movement.
During his career Lasse composed some 200 works ranging from little pieces for teaching purposes to advanced virtuoso works. Dance of the Wind, Bewitched Accordion and Dragon Fly are his most famous compositions internationally. Pihlajamaa’s works will remain in the active repertoire of accordion players and teachers in the future, as well as serving as a challenging cornerstone of Finnish accordion music.
The first international Lasse Pihlajamaa Accordion Competition was held in Finland in autumn 2001 and received critical acclaim for its very high standard.
Lasse Pihlajamaa’s optimistic and positive personality as well as his lifetime of inspiration and service to the music and accordion field will be missed greatly.
Contributed by Horst Fausel, Hohner Product Manager
Thomas Schmelzle is to attempt to establish a new world record for marathon accordion playing on December 1st and 2nd in the Town Hall, Kronesaal, Bochingen. He will attempt to play for 30 hours, to break the record of 28 hours, recognised by Guinness World Records, set in 2002 by Dutchman Hennie Kuik.
Thomas Schmelzle’s record attempt will begin on Saturday, December 1st, at 12noon, and is scheduled to end the next day at 6pm. He is allowed five minutes breaks per hour, and should not repeat a tune within four hours. There must be at least two observers present at all times to ensure that the rules are kept. The record attempt is being done with the support of Hohner, the accordion manufacturer based in Trossingen.
Contributed by Raquel Ruiz, Alio Modo Música Coordination
Trito edition has released a new CD tited ‘ALIO MODO, David del Puerto’ that includes works for accordion, piano and soprano by the Spanish composer David Del Puerto (Spanish National Award of Music 2005). Performers on this CD are Angel Luis Castaño - accordion, Ananda Sukarlan – piano, and Carmen Gurriarán – soprano, and the works include ‘Fantasía para acordeón’ (2005), premiered and dedicated to Angel Luis Castaño and edited by Acco-Music, ‘Diario’ (2001) for accordion and piano, dedicated to Angel Luis Castaño and Ananda Sukarlan and edited by Tritó, and ‘Sobre la noche’ (2003) for soprano and accordion.
Angel Luis Castaño will play ‘Fantasía para acordeón’ by David Del Puerto in his program at the Gnessin Institute, as part of the International Bayan and Bayanist Festival in Moscow on Saturday December 8th.
Emir Bosnjak`s music and CD ‘Orient à la Tino with Emir Bosnjak’ has been nominated for the Danish World Awards 2007, in 2 categories, as CD of the Year and Emir´s composition ‘Sa,Sa Charshija’ is nominated to World Track 2007!
The awards will be made at the Copenhagen Jazz House on November 22nd.
Accordionist Jeff Lisenby will officially release his first solo jazz CD, ‘A Spy In Tortuga’, on November 27th. Lisenby will perform tunes from the album at a CD release party at Belmont University's Curb Cafe on Tuesday, November 27th from 6pm to 7.30pm. Free and open to the public. Lisenby will also be featured on WPLN's Live In Studio C at noon that same day, to promote the album and the evening's release concert. The CD features new original compositions by Lisenby, as well as several reinvented jazz standards.
Jeff Lisenby’s playing can be heard on albums by many other artistes, with genres ranging from Country & Western to Broadway. "There aren't a lot of jazz accordionists around, but the accordion is slowly coming back into style in the United States. We're hearing it on more and more pop albums," Lisenby said. Lisenby holds a master's degree from the Conservatory of Music of the University of Missouri at Kansas City and has twice been the national accordion champion and was a bronze medallist in the CIACoupe Mondiale.
Lisenby currently resides in Nashville, where he teaches music at Belmont University and works as a live performer and/or session player for artistes such as Brenda Lee, Donna Summer, Tricia Yearwood, Three-Dog Night, Little Anthony and The Imperials, and Dolly Parton, to name a few.
Roland First International Digital Accordion Festival, Pesaro – Italy
Contributed by Mike O’Regan
November 9th and 10th 2007 saw a gathering of V-Accordionists from Italy, Brazil, Canada, Iberian Peninsula, France, Norway, Germany, and Czech Republic in the Italian Adriatic Resort of Pesaro. These represented the winners of each country’s individual competitions.
The event took place in the magnificent, comfortable (if somewhat dilapidated) Pedrotti Auditorium, which is part of the G. Rossini Music Academy in Pesaro, birthplace of Rossini. Over two days, the jury listened to all competitors and picked the best to perform at a Gala Concert on November 10th.
On the evening of the Gala Concert the competitors marched up the central aisle of the Auditorium, each waving his/her national flag, and lined up on the stage to great applause from the packed house.
Picture above is 1st place soloist Amelie Castel of France and 1st group category Kai Andre Hansen and Glenn Sorskar of Norway.
Click the Roland Festival Report button for full information and results.
Concert Performances, Skopje – Macedonia
Contributed by Anica Karakutovska
An accordion concert was held at the Concert Hall of the Hotel ‘Apollonia’ Gevgelija (situated 2km from the Greek border) on November 2nd as part of the town's ’Autumn Festival’.
The concert program included a wide variety of solo and chamber music with performances by Bojan Volcevski, Boban Peric and Filip Stamevski, accordion students of Professor Zorica Karakutovska, from the Faculty of Music Skopje.
The concert was very well received by the large audience, and included domestic and foreign quests in Gevgelija during the festival.
At the concert for the school’s jubilee held on October 26th in the Concert Hall of the SMBEC ‘Ilija Nikolovski-Luj’, Skopje, young Macedonian composer Elizabeta Ilievska presented her new work ‘Happy friends’. Students from the local primary and secondary music school, including Simona Manevska - flute, Filip Kokaroski - clarinet in B, Sara Pancevska – violin, and Dzodze Ciric – accordion, performed the composition. Professor Zorica Karakutovska prepared the ensemble.
Accordionists Joao Frade and Guy Giuliano have just completed a short tour of venues in Portugal, playing Brazilian, Portuguese and French music, tango, and jazz. Joao Frade and Guy Giuliano are preparing another tour in May of Portugal and the Azores.
The Peoria Area Accordion Club has organised a special concert performance by Tony Lovello, known as ‘The Liberace of the Accordion’. This takes place at , Lindenhof, 7601 N. Harker Drive,Peoria, Illionois, on Sunday November 18th, 2pm.
Tony Lovello has appeared with Frank Sinatra, Debbie Reynolds, Dinah Shore, Eddie Cantor, Pat Boone, Jimmy Durante, amongst others, and has performed in every major city in the United States and around the world.
Legendary for his trademark bellow shakes, glissandos, and rapid runs, Tony Lovello’s upbeat style has made him a crowd pleaser for five decades.
Two concerts involving accordion orchestras take place in the next week:
November 18th, 5pm - The Akkordeonorchester der Musikschule Gilching e.V perform at the Musikalisches Bilderbuch, Aula des Christoph-Probst-Gymnasium Gilching, Talhoferstr. 7
November 24th, 3pm - Ihre Akkordeonorchester, Münchner Volksmusikverein, Herkulessaal der Residenz, München. This concert celebrates the 80th anniversary of this orchestra, and the program includes music composed by Elton John, ‘James Bond Concert Suite’, Johann Strauss – ‘Overture to Die Fledermaus’, and Victor Novikov – ‘Samba Carnival’. The conductors will be MDs: Helga Mayer, Stefan Fußeder und Josef Dichtl.
Accordionist James Crabb performs The Singing (Accordion Concerto), by Sally Beamish, with the Hallé Orchestra, conducted by Martyn Brabbins, at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester on Thursday December 6th at 7.30pm. The concert also includes the Prokofiev - ‘Lieutenant Kijé: Suite’ and Vaughan Williams - ‘Sinfonia Antarctica’, and the Hallé Youth Choir.
Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Concerts – Republic of Ireland
Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann is an international organisation, based in Dublin, that exists to promote traditional Irish music, song and dance. CCE concerts, festivals and other events usually prominently feature the accordion, concertina and related instruments. Upcoming CCE events include:
November 16th, 8pm– ‘The Best of the West’: Irish Traditional Fundraising Music Concert, featuring artistes from the West Limerick area , including All Ireland Senior Ceilí Band Champions - The Allow Ceilí Band, plus various soloists. Venue: Convent Hall, Abbeyfeale
November 23rd, 8.30pm – Concert featuring Paul Brock - diatonic button accordion, Enda Scahill –banjo, and Ryan Molloy - fiddle and piano. Venue: Kilrush Regional Resource Centre, Grace Street, Kilrush, County Clare