Accordions Gone Wild, 10 am Sunday on Classical 101

Taste a sampling of virtuoso accordion music Sunday at 10 am on Classical 101.(Photo: Creative Commons/Flickr/LeahLikesLemon)
Taste a sampling of virtuoso accordion music Sunday at 10 am on Classical 101.(Photo: Creative Commons/Flickr/LeahLikesLemon)

Several years ago, in a performance right here in our fair city, the world-renowned classical accordionist Stas Venglevski told one of the world’s great accordion jokes: A man leaves his accordion unlocked in his car. Fearing the accordion might have been stolen, he hurries back to the car and finds – get ready for the rim shot – two accordions.

For whatever reasons, the accordion has a reputation today as the sad clown of the music world. It has polkaed with the best of them at Bier-und-Bratwurst festivals; it has jammed with the Grateful Dead, Styx and other popular bands and it has joined in the festivities of countless weddings, B’not Miztvah and other happy occasions. Yet, despite its happy role in so many arenas, the accordion still remains a punchline. See? You’re smiling right now just thinking about it.

But don’t underestimate the accordion. This self-effacing squeezebox has become a colossus of the classical concert stage, with artists like Venglevski and, a more recent addition to the international classical accordion scene, Ksenija Sidorova. The international concert accordionist grew up hearing and playing folk music of her native Latvia on the instrument. Today, after a Wigmore Hall debut, awards from London’s Philharmonia Orchestra and wins at countless international competitions, Sidorova is forging a name for herself and helping to rehab her instrument’s image.

Sunday at 10 am, hear selections from Sidorova’s most recent recording, along with performances by American accordionist William Schimmel and accordion-inspired piano music by Virgil Thomson.

It’s a whimsical celebration of the accordion, 10 am Sunday on Classical 101!

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