Nov. 2015 E-Notes

The Accordion Virtuosi of Russia
Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015 • 7:30 p.m.

After a sensational start with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Ensemble we shift to far eastern Europe and a different musical style with the Accordion Virtuosi of Russia. We should be in for quite a treat with this 37-member group of 30 accordions, plus harp, guitar, piano, percussion, led by a violinist-conductor. Their program will bring to life a delightful mix of traditional Russian folk songs as well as familiar classical and American favorites.

Pavel Smirnov founded the Accordion Virtuosi of Russia at St. Petersburg in 1943 in war-torn Russia. Within six months they were invited to record on state radio. Three generations of the Smirnov family have led Accordion Virtuosi of Russia: first Pavel, the founder, and now his sons Yuri and Vladimir, and his grandson Yaroslav.

Accordion Virtuosi of Russia has performed at some of the world’s most prestigious venues, including the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Verona’s Arena, Olympia Hall in Paris, and the Great Philharmonic Hall in St. Petersburg.

The group has toured extensively in Germany, Italy, France, Holland, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Spain, Japan, Guinea, Angola, Sierra Leone, Congo, China and Canada. They were invited to be a part of the cultural program for the Olympic Games in Munich (1972), Montreal (1976), and Moscow (1980).

Accordion Virtuosi of Russia has won competitions in Russia such as “Musical Carousel” and “Peter-Pavel Assemblies.” Most recently, Accordion Virtuosi of Russia was included in the prestigious “Golden Book of St. Petersburg” for artistic achievements, and was named the “best accordion orchestra of Europe of 2013” by the orchestral society EU Musika in Frankfurt, Germany. See the group’s biography.

Selections on our program will include music from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” the overture to Bizet’s “Carmen,” Khachaturian’s “Sabre Dance,” excerpts from Bernstein’s “West Side Story,” “The Ragtime Dance” by Joplin, the Russian folk song “In the Valley,” “Hoe-down” from Copland’s “Rodeo” and Arlen’s “Over the Rainbow.”