Thursday, March 8, 2018

Concert Performance by World-Class Accordion Master Stas Venglevski

Virtuoso of the Bayan (Accordion)

Sunday, March 11

5:30–7:00 PM
Schultz Cultural Arts Hall, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto, CA 94303, USA
$25 General Public | $20 Members and J-Pass Holders | $10 Children and Students
Contact: Ilanit Gal  (650) 223-8649

For tickets and more information, please visit: Concert Performance: Stas Venglevski

His artistry, dazzling technical command and sensitivity have brought Stanislav "Stas" Venglevski increasing acclaim as the world's foremost virtuoso of the Bayan, a type of accordion. 
Stas' repertoire includes original compositions, a broad range of classical, contemporary and ethnic music. He has toured extensively as a soloist throughout the former Soviet Union, Canada, Europe and the United States, including numerous performances with Doc Severinsen and Steve Allen, many US symphony orchestras and on the Prairie Home Companion Show
The brilliant artistry and musical virtuosity of Stas offers an expanded dimension in music and an innovative musical adventure to the audience. Beyond his artistry, Stas is a consummate entertainer capable of engaging any audience.
This event is presented in partnership with the 92Y as part of the 7 Days of Genius Festival, a global festival celebrating the power of genius. For one week, people around the world come together to discuss, debate and incubate new genius ideas to improve lives everywhere. Come celebrate the genius of a virtuoso whose creativity and mastery of the Bayan is an inspiration to audiences around the world.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Report of SFAC Music Program, January 17, 2016; by Barbara Bruxvoort

Happy New Year! What a great way to spend the third Sunday of 2016 listening to live music and seeing friends. Alas, as meeting recorder, I have learned it’s better not to combine notetaking with adult beverages, but I noticed that some enjoyed a cocktail from the Yacht Club’s bar (and maybe checked the football scores at the same time?) It was certainly good to see everyone.

Our program was introduced by our president, Lynn Ewing, who urged members to consider all the ways they could come to the aid of the club: Play even one song at a meeting; join the jam band; be a newsletter reporter--if we have several people then the commitment would only be once or twice a year; help by bringing a more substantial snack for the meeting; assist with coffee on occasion; consider joining the leadership of the club; publicize the meetings to your friends and bring someone along! We rely on meeting attendance to fund our rent for the Oyster Point Yacht club.

Our first guest was Jared Eldon Johnson, who taught himself the accordion, inspired by his Grandmother, Mary Alice. He has been performing at various venues as well as honing his crowd-pleasing skills as a street performer.

He started out with “The Merry go Round of Life” by Joe Hisaishi, from the movie Howl’s Moving Castle with a vibrato that suits the wistful song and played beautifully on his vintage accordion. Then he segued into “Guilty” by Russ Columbo. There was some audience humming and after an instrumental verse, Jared sang the lyrics in a vintage style which must have been an homage to the 1931 recording by Al Bowlly and featured in the movie Amélie.

He asked our permission to step out into a song he loves but is still making mistakes on, Swing Valse by Gus Viseur, charmed by this courage, the audience gave encouragement fortunately because it was charming. He transitioned to the traditional Edith Piaf song “Underneath the Paris skies” and showed us his street performers skills of wooing and maintaining an audience, even executing a neat 180 degree spin as a flourish. To finish he shared “I Melt with You” by Modern English --this time I got to be part of the covert audience sing-along so perhaps you can identify my generation now….

The next set was presented by Don Savant who was very happy to also introduce his teacher Mike Zampiceni, both long time members of the club. The accordion club has been very important in Don's musical life and he also mentioned that he acquired his accordion through the club from Paul Cain.

Don began his set with a nice mellow rendition of "Moonglow" and shifted into "These Foolish Things" (I could almost hear Doris Day singing) and then a just right segue into "Serenade in Blue." Continuing in the theme and completing the mid-century modern nightclub atmosphere was a jazzy, smoky rendition of "Misty." Next he gave us a real treat saying "I thought I would do something to wake you up" and introducing "Chewing the Rag" composed by his teacher's father, Joseph Zampiceni. Don was proud to be able to present it to us, and rightly so. It was new for me to hear a ragtime number on the accordion--lively and complex like the best ragtime music. He double-timed the last measures, saying afterwards "that was supposed to make you laugh." How lovely to share music with an educated audience that appreciates musical play. "Thanks for the Memories" goes out to everyone having memory problems, says Don, but also continues the theme of his set relating to the good memories created by the club. Fittingly, he ended with "It's a Wonderful Club" (It's a Wonderful World).

After the break we settled down to listen to Tangonero, which comprises Alex Roitman on bandoneon, Amy Zanrosso on piano, guest artist Sascha Jacobsen on bass and featuring Claudio Ortega on vocals. Their entrance to the stage is workmanlike and unassuming, comfortable, until the music starts with an explosive passion that cannot be captured by a meeting recorder or any type of recorder for that matter, but achieves the paradox of music: the power and memory imprint resides in the fifth dimension of live performance--something that happens in the moment between the performer and the audience which can never be fully captured or exactly repeated.

Alex opened the show with a bandoneon solo playing his arrangement of Amurado. I was fascinated by the percussive accents created by dramatic bellow closures.

I was very happy to hear Claudio Ortega again on the Accordion Club stage. He withholds nothing when he sings. With Como dos Extraños ("I am afraid of dying away from you. My heart begs for you." we could observe an amiable handing off of the lead among the band members. Next Carlos and Tangonero presented "Sur." At this point the phantom tangueros entered the room, recalled by the bandoneon from the wings where they’d been waiting hopefully since Tangonero’s last Accordion Club performance. Claudio even made room for them to perform a solo on the dance floor.

The band clearly enjoys one-another's "Bad Company" so much that they used "Mala Junta" as their title track from their CD released last November. We enjoyed the bad company as well. Continuing down a "bad" road, next we heard "Mal de Amores." Alex gave the bandoneon had a saxophone quality and with Amy Zanrosso achieved an exciting synchronicity between piano and bandoneon moving up and down the octaves.

Claudio returned with "Naranjo en flor."  Bandoneon has a harmonica quantity for a moment to complement the wistful singing of Claudio in this paradoxical song...."‘eterna de vieja juventud...pajaro sin voz" (eternity of old youth...mute songbird...) And can I write about the smoke in the combusted air between Claudio and the band? Moving forward, "Silueta Porteña," (Porteña Silhouette) Claudio and the band pressing forward with the beat, crowding each beat against the next without rushing. Our phantom dancers were very happy and spent at the end.

Alex gave us a little bandoneon info before treating us to a bandoneon solo tango waltz. He pointed out some of the challenges: in/out being different notes; left and right keyboard not mapping to the same notes; no logical organization to the keys. Indeed, during this piece I noticed that he often had to have a large spread between fingers 2-3 and 3-4 demanding a spiderlike hand position to play the instrument.

Alex introduced a new milonga, at which Sascha broke in saying “when you say new, you mean 1960s, right?” Alex laughed, yeah, yeah. and warned us that there were a lot of notes per minute. And indeed it did have a Pink Panther Henry Mancini fun quality. "Milongas are the polkas of Tango and this next one (Los Mareados or the Tipsy Ones) has that feel," was our introduction to a song with the looseness of a drunken proposal--grandiosity provided with Amy's full keyboard use of the piano.
Claudio brought to us "Romance de barrio" (“Neighborhood Romance”), a tango waltz by Homero Manzi full of regret. He said the "message is to let things go, they don’t always go on forever..." and then moving into another lyric by Homero Manzi: "Milonga Sentimental" “.....I sing so as not to cry…..” the bass and the piano move under the melody like an underground river of sorrow.

Tangonero introduced Ausencias by Piazzola, so beautiful with an exquisite transition to the slower movement..a falling off. Here is the quality of almost falling apart recklessness I remember from their previous Accordion Club performance. Like that last moment of lift and fall before the elevator stops. Alex give the bandoneon a clarinet quality in Quejas de bandoneon--a piece played at almost every dance. And to finish Claudio re-joins the group for a happy Milonga 900.

Thank you so much Tangonero for a wonderful afternoon set! The very talented musicians who performed today have CD's and performance dates you might want to purchase or find out more about online:

Friday, May 3, 2013


Do you want to play music with other accordionists?

• Are you interested in playing familiar tunes?

• Is it difficult to make a long-term commitment to participate with an established group?

If you answered Yes to any or all of these questions, you’re a likely candidate to attend the first SF Bay area Accordion Orchestra Project held in San Mateo. Rehearsals will be held on the following dates from 10 AM until approx. 2:30 PM (with breaks),

The Project will be directed by Richard Yaus, the leading force behind the successful accordion ensemble AbsolutAccord. The goal is to bring accordionists together to create a one-of-a-kind orchestra experience that will conclude with a performance at the San Francisco Accordion Club on July 21st, 2013.

For details and more information, please view an Invitation to the Project.

To register, please print and complete the Accordion Orchestra Project Registration Form and mail or email it as directed on the form!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Classical Accordionist Paul Chamberlain comes to the Bay Area!

Classical Accordionist Paul Chamberlain, from Scotland, will be performing several concerts around the Bay Area.

21st February  - Santa Cruz Public Library, CA. – (12.10PM)

24th February - St. Mary’s Cathedral, San Francisco, CA. – Solo Recital (3.30pm)

28th February - Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA. – Evening Concert. (6.30pm) This concert will feature a live scoring to a projection of 3 Pink Panther cartoons of Paul’s own composition in  honour of the Pink Panther’s 50th Birthday.

2nd March - Seventh Avenue Concerts, San Francisco, CA. – Solo Recital (7.30pm)

Mr. Chamberlain will perform a selection of music featuring transcriptions of pieces by Bach, Weber and Scarlatti along with original works for accordion.

The former UK Virtuoso Champion promises an exciting performance with the opportunity to hear the accordion as never before! One of the first classical accordionists to graduate from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Paul is a highly accomplished player appearing at many music festivals across the world.

Learn more about Mr. Chamberlain at his website:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

2012 Festa Coloniale Italiana, August 11

The 2012 Festa Coloniale Italiana

What: 2012 Festa Coloniale Italiana
When: Saturday, August 11, 2012
Place: San Francisco Italian Athletic Club. 1630 Stockton St. San Francisco, Ca 94133
Time: 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Admission: Free
Contact: Tom Torriglia, 415 440 0800,

Along Stockton St., between Union and Filbert sts., there will be continuous live Italian music including:

Due Zighi Baci:
Sunday 7 accordion band. Members of the San Jose and San Francisco accordion clubs
Musica degli Borelli. Italian-music trio with a splash of jazz

The Rico Dancers will be putting on a dance show and world champion pizza-toss expert Tony Gemignani will astound the crowd with his pizza tossing.

There will be plenty of beer and wine, and the most mouth-watering food this side of Siena including sausage and peppers, pasta, deep-fried calamari, meatball sandwiches and cannoli. Vendors will be selling Italian-related products.

Inside, the club's main ballroom will be transformed into an Italian piazza complete with a fountain.  The third-floor Parkview room, which overlooks the festa and Washington Square park, is being transformed into a wine-tasting venue featuring some of the Bay Area’s finest wineries including Mondavi.

The Festa Coloniale Italiana is a family-fun event that is free and open to the public. The Festa runs from 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. and for additional information, please contact Tom Torriglia at either 415 440 0800 or at

 The San Francisco Italian Athletic Club, which is located at 1630 Stockton St., may be reached at 415 781 0165.

Please check back for entertainment updates.

Friday, May 4, 2012

May 6th - World Accordion Day - 24 hr continuous online broadcaststreaming

The Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA) is sponsoring a 24-hour non-stop online broadcast, which will feature accordion music and interviews with accordionists from around the globe.

The event will begin on Sunday, May 6 at 7 am Paris time (1 am New York time, GMT+1) and will go for 24 hours straight. Additional information is available at or on Facebook at .

Please let your friends and accordion club & association members know about this exciting event. The broadcast will be archived at the same website for those who are not able to watch it live.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Goodbye Valerie

It is with sadness that we inform you of the passing of our dear Valerie Kieser, a woman who was the heart and soul of the San Francisco Accordion Club.
Valerie passed away peacefully at her home on Feb 27th, 2012, at the age of 74.  Beloved wife of the late John F. Kieser,  they had lived at their Oakland residence since 1973.  Valerie was an exceptional cook, hostess to all who came within miles of her, and a bright and shining spirit who lived a truly exceptional life. 
She was an avid accordion and button box aficionado, having played with numerous orchestras and ensembles, including the Accordion Chamber Ensemble and directed the Club's "Fun Band." She had a deep love for all animals, though she had a special affinity for horses, dogs and cats.  Always a joy to those around here, she will be deeply missed by her friends and family all over the globe. 
Valerie's nephew, Jeff Trabucco has set up a lovely Memorial website where you can read more about Valerie, see photos and share your thoughts about her in the Memory Book on the website.  Val's Memorial Website

Family and friends are planning a musical tribute and celebration of Val's life at the regular 2 PM meeting of the San Francisco Accordion Club on April 15th.   All who knew Val are invited to attend and if you have a musical gift to contribute to this celebration, please contact Lynn Ewing, SFAC President, at:  

We, who were Val's "Accordion Family" will miss her beyond measure!