....a roundup of Chopiniana: current news, views, reviews, recordings and performances in the runup to the 200th birthday of the matchless Polish keyboard composer.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Chopin Currency - The Accordion Edition: May 19th, 2008

Virtuoso introducing America toclassical music on the accordion
Las Vegas Sun - Las Vegas,NV,USA

No, I don’t play polkas,” says Lidia Kaminska, "the first and still the only accordionist in the United States who has a doctorate in accordion (received from the University of Missouri, Kansas City). The Polish native is a proud graduate of the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw....

“I can play a four-voice fugue, no problem,” Kaminska says playfully with a thick accent, speaking from her home in Philadelphia. “But nobody asked me to play polka music in Poland.”

That’s probably because in Poland the accordion is accepted as a serious medium for classical music, particularly Baroque. And if you haven’t heard someone knock out a Bach chaconne on accordion, now is your chance...

As it turns out, there is a slew of original literature for accordion, composed mostly by Europeans. What isn’t written for the accordion can usually be transcribed. Same sonatas and concertos, vastly different instrument.

Breaking Boundaries,” Kaminska’s debut CD, released in 2005, includes selections from Bach’s “The Well-Tempered Clavier,” two pieces by Argentine tango composer Piazzolla and a sonata by Italian Baroque composer Scarlatti. Its mission was educational: Convince listeners, particularly those in America, that the accordion is a serious classical music instrument. It’s been an ongoing effort since she first stepped off the plane.

“We were not sure what was going on in America about accordion because I had not seen students from America in competitions,” Kaminska says. “So there were a lot of questions and I had a one-way ticket.”

She’s since performed with chamber orchestras, contemporary ensembles, dance groups and orchestras, and is a virtuoso unlike any other....

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....is a roundup of all things Chopin leading up to the 200th anniversary of the matchless Polish composer for the piano in March 2010.