BH Lang, a young student and aspiring classical musician, has just started The Bayan Blog:
This Blog is intended to be a documentary of my efforts to reach my life's goal - founding the first Classical Accordion Department at the Juilliard School in NYC.
So in my spare time, I will be updating this blog with my work status, little steps I take down the big path to my goal. I am hoping that in the meantime, I can begin to inform America about the Classical Accordion.
OK, I'm one American who knows little or nothing about classical accordion. Actually, Google lists aworks for the search american classical accordion music because I posted last year about, among other things, an MP3 of John Cage's Souvenir played on accordion. Still, Accordionlinks.com (Accordionlinks.com?) reports more on classical accordion than I would have ever guessed. I expected accordion renditions of traditional classical music and maybe a mention of Pauline Oliveros. But I also found Gershwin for the accordion, and surprisingly, this historical note:
Although Gershwin didn't actually write for the accordion, Doktorski said his music has always been popular with accordionists. In fact, the second recording ever made of "Rhapsody in Blue" was released in 1928 on Victor Records and featured the accordion stylings of Basil Fomeen and Nick Hope.
For music written for accordion, George Antheil wrote an orchestra piece Accordion Dance (instrumentation: 1+pic.222/4331/timp.perc/acn[=hmn]/str). Charles Wuorinen wrote Buttons and Bows (or, Superparticular Variations), for cello and accordion, and original compositions for accordion were also written by Henry Cowell, Virgil Thomson, Alan Hovhaness, Otto Luening, and William Grant Still (and many more including Lutoslawski. Lutoslawski?).
William Schimmel has an essay What Constitutes a Classical Accordionist in America:
I like to think that my accordion work is about the accordion than around the accordion. It's not much about me anymore. My own compositions (realities) explore other works. My recent accordio-shinto work explores our American accordion ancestors such as Deiro, Frosini, Ettore, Contino, Palmer, Pino and yes, Lawrence Welk.
a nonprofit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the advancement of the free-reed instruments i.e. accordion & bayan, concertina & bandoneón, harmonium & reed organ, harmonica, shêng, sho, khaen, kobing, etc.
In film, Morgan Boatman's Princess Isabelle:
The lead character: the eccentric and artless Emery Ried (portrayed by Richard Rouse), an outdated relic from a bygone era, one of the last survivors from the golden age of the accordion (ca. 1920-1955). His wife, Rose (portrayed by Mary Kate Sawert): a jealous woman on the verge of filing for divorce because of her husband's all-consuming love affair with his mistress: an accordion which he affectionately calls Princess Isabelle.
Finally, on CD, I found more classical accordion than I would have ever imagined, including the soure of that Cage MP3 I blogged about -- Stefan Husson playing the music of John Cage and William Billings (William Billings?). Notably, I also found this CD by Teodoro Anzelotti on Amazon, an all-Cage accordion CD. It duplicates two works from the Husson CD (Dream and Souvenir) but also includes Cage's Cheap Imitation. Even in three thirty-second Amazon samples, Cheap Imitation on the accordion sounds haunting and probably more resonant than on the violin (via emusic).
Good luck to BH Lang and thanks for revealing the vast world of the classical accordion.