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Accordion With A Big "A"
Not "just another accordion success story
In the midst of this wealth of musical activity, we were recently visited
by one of the most brilliant musicians of our time. I do not use this
term lightly. We were privileged to see and hear live one of the most
exciting accordionists of our time. It is difficult to find the words
to describe the impression the young French accordionist Jérémie
Buirette, World Champion, in duet with his wife, the pianist Clémence,
left here in the Boston area. The concert hall, generously provided by
the New School of Music in Cambridge, (Pamela Curtis director), was packed
with lucky "hand-picked" members in the audience, made up mostly
by accordionists and aficionados, among them Frank Gaviani Jr, and Robert
Clémence and Jérémie had been invited to the United
States by a private party for a concert in New York. I was already aware
of Jérémie's almost mesmerizing musical personality, so
as soon as I found out their schedule, a fire of desire ignited inside
me. I said to myself "I have to bring them to Boston for a concert.
It is a rare opportunity to offer my fellow Bostonians something they
have not seen in a long time, or probably have never seen!" I prayed
to Euterpe to help me, and she graciously granted me my wish.
The Clémence and Jérémie Duo performed for us compositions by Vivaldi, Rossini, Brahms, Saint-Saëns, Khachaturian, Piazzolla, and much more. For this concert's grand finale, Jérémie offered us something that we were all craving: a medley of French Musette Waltzes. What a delight to the audience! That 130 year old genre sounded younger and fresher than ever, with scales and arpeggios running up and down at a delirious speed (no ticket again!), improvising on melodies so familiar to us. Among them were "Souvenir de Montmartre," "Le Retour des Hirondelles," "Reine de Musette," and my favorite "Flambée Montalbanaise." This concert could have not ended better. The audience erupted with euphoria and standing ovations several times during the concert.
After the concert Jérémie conducted a master-class with
three of the students Robert Paolo nurtured in his studio in Johnston,
RI. Anthony Falco, Lenore Del Ponte, and Anthony Federici, were the lucky
students who received valuable instruction from Jérémie
Buirette, Champion du Monde.
The mere presence of Jérémie became contagious. He showed us that his musicianship encompasses all the qualities of a World Champion. He is a virtuoso of the highest caliber, and at the same time he is a gracious and eloquent shaper of melodic phrase. But what makes him even more special is his modesty, his humbleness, and his friendship. This makes him a true champion!
This year the Brockton Symphony Orchestra celebrates 60 years of music making. Throughout these years, the orchestra has been the main attraction for music lovers of the city of Brockton (Massachusetts) and the surrounding communities. The orchestra has performed with great success many works from the vast literature of the symphonic repertoire, including operas, symphonies, and concertos. Many great musicians, soloists, and conductors have started their careers as guests of the orchestra. Some of the current members have been performing with this orchestra for 45-50 years! One finds it hard to believe that music making has no limits of age or ability! The love for music has no borders.
This season the Brockton Symphony Orchestra again offered to their audience a special event, the traditional Holiday-Pops concert, which is the most popular performance of the year. But, what few members of the audience would ever know, is that the concert was almost cancelled. The orchestra was lacking the necessary resources for renting the concert hall, for hiring musicians, etc. That was when Emilian Badea, Doctor of Musical Arts, Accordionist, Bassoonist, Musicologist, and Conductor, stepped in and "crafted" a concert that would be a pleasure for performers and audience as well. He selected the pieces, invited the soloists, and conducted the orchestra. Few will ever forget this holiday concert, as the Brockton Symphony's performance opened everyone's soul to welcome the spirit of the season. Dr. Badea's enthusiasm was contagious, and those who attended were the beneficiaries. There was music for all ages and tastes, representing every aspect of the holidays. But what brought everyone up on their feet, was the "musical surprise" brainchild of Dr. Badea.
He thought "if there is an instrument capable of 'bringing down the wall' between all people, that must be the accordion." Therefore, he brought in his accordion to perform the lovely Hungarian Dance no. 5 by Johannes Brahms, with Robert Paolo guest conducting the orchestra. Next, he brought in two more accordionists as special guests of the Brockton Symphony Orchestra. He invited two of the most deserving young accordionists in the country for this performance, two talented young musicians who are well on their way to mastering the secrets of creating beautiful music with accordion, technically as well as emotionally. The two guest accordionists were Christopher Gorton and Anthony Falco, both of them students of Robert Paolo of Johnston, RI. Christopher and Anthony are only two of many great accordionists who have learned in Mr. Paolo's studio. They were "discovered" by Robert Paolo when each was only 7 years old, in the St. Rocco Elementary School in Johnston. Through the years, Robert Paolo has guided them with his "encyclopedic" knowledge, and with his care and patience. Both of them earned New England Champion titles multiple times. Once you hear them playing the accordion, you can only say: "yes, these accordionists are the product of someone who really knows music and accordion!" The families of these students should be proud and thankful for the good luck they have had in their music education. Surely the parents were proud as the last chords of Four by Miles Davis, of Malaguena by Ernesto Lecuona, and Mazurka Variata by Augusto Migliavacca (in a Trio arrangement) were sounded. It is chillingly emotional to recall the frenzy of applause that followed the performance as the entire audience of more than four hundred people stood.
Perhaps any musical instrument could have accomplished that, but this time it was (again) the Accordion. As noted in a newspaper review, "the instrument in the right six hands can work magic."
As the reviewer concluded in the newspaper, "In the lobby, hearing the praise and thanks of the departing audience, one could hardly believe this was the concert that almost wasn't. The City of Champions was again home of 'beautiful music in Metro South.' As the doors opened, the very first snowflakes were falling .. True holiday concert, true holiday spirit!"
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