the very successful inaugural Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes World Accordion Orchestra debut performance
at the Coupe Mondiale 2007 under the Musical Direction of Joan C. Sommers, the CIA has continued this tradition of uniting accordionists with the magic of music, as performers from around the globe join together to form a unique and magnificent International 'World Accordion Orchestra.'
Osimo was delighted to host World Accordion Orchestra IX as part of our 70th Coupe Mondiale Festival.
This year World Accordion Orchestra IX performed three works. The selections take listeners and performers from the early Italian accordion pioneers who immigrated to the USA and were renowned on the Vaudeville stage throughout the USA, to the latest music from today's Los Angeles based Film composers.
“Omaggio a Pietro Overture” … was originally a solo written by Pietro Frosini (1885-1951) in 1918 in honor of the very popular march, a solo titled “Pietro’s Return” composed in 1914 by Pietro Deiro (1888-1954). Both men had very successful careers in American vaudeville, but Frosini was always a composer at heart. His legendary career as a composer spanned a wide variety of musical expressions including rhapsodies, overtures, waltzes, tangos, paso dobles, ragtimes and musical novelties. Pietro Deiro eventually devoted all his time exclusively to his own school in NYC as well as composing, concert work, recordings and radio and television appearances.
The arrangement of “Omaggio a Pietro Overture” for accordion orchestra was made by Anthony Galla-Rini (1904-2006), who was also a star in vaudeville. Throughout his life he arranged literally hundreds of arrangements for the instrument. These included solos, various combinations of accordions, as well as a great number of outstanding accordion orchestra arrangements, many of which became competition standards. Galla-Rini also composed two concerti for accordion and symphony orchestra, the first of which has been performed innumerable times in many countries. During his long life he earned much respect throughout the accordion field for his many educational workshops presented throughout the USA.
Perhaps no music from a Hollywood movie has captured the imagination of viewers throughout today’s world as much as that from “La La Land” composed by Justin Hurwitz. Accordionist Liz Finch lives and works as an orchestrator, arranger and copyist in the music business in Los Angeles, CA, USA, where she has met and worked with many of the best known composers and performers in the movies, recording industry and television. She has arranged a medley of several tunes from the award-winning movie, winner of 6 Academy Awards, which documents some of the trials and tribulations faced by those who wish to become stars. Her “Medley from La La Land” includes Another Day of Sun, Audition (The Fools Who Dream), A Lovely Night, City of Stars, Mia & Sebastian’s Theme, and Someone In The Crowd.
The movie “Beauty and The Beast” has won several awards, both for the original presentation as well as for the recent one. Released in 2017 by Disney, it is an American live-action fantasy musical film and a remake of the 1991 animated film, which won a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. The composer, Alan Menken, and the lyricist, Howard Ashman, have earned plaudits for many of their compositions; this film won an Academy Award for Best Original Score and Best Original Song for its title song. The 1991 version became the first animated film to be adapted into a Broadway musical. Included in the “Medley from Beauty and The Beast” which Joan Cochran Sommers has arranged for the WAO are three of the movie’s most popular tunes: “Belle,” “Beauty and The Beast,” and “Be Our Guest.” Both the original 1991 film and the 2017 remake have been huge box office successes.
C. Sommers, founder of the CIA World Accordion Orchestra was awarded the
title of Professor Emerita upon her retirement from the University of
Missouri Kansas City Conservatory of Music (USA), where she established
and taught the accordion degree program for forty years. She has arranged
innumerable works for the accordion orchestra over many years, often for
the UMKC Accordion Orchestra, a large symphonic accordion orchestra, which, under her direction, competed in and
won more First Prizes in Virtuoso Accordion Orchestra Competitions than
any other similar American group. This is a record still unbroken today.
In both 1955 and 1956 she earned the right to represent the USA in the
Coupe Mondiale and, although she didnt win, it was those experiences
which opened her eyes to the tremendous opportunities available to accordionists;
perhaps it also fixed her life-long interest in worldwide accordion activities.
Most recently, she celebrated the 50th Anniversary of her UMKC Accordion
Orchestra when they presented their 50th Gala Concert at the University.
As the arranger, Joan has had many years of experience as a teacher, a
conductor, and an arranger for accordion orchestras at all levels. Many
of these arrangements were used by her own orchestras in competitions
held throughout the USA and on the many tours made by her groups overseas
Joan C. Sommers has held positions in several music organizations, including
the Accordionists & Teachers Guild International (ATG) and the Confédération
Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA IMC-UNESCO). Today, Professor
Sommers enjoys performing with fellow accordionists in duo, with other instrumentalists and with the UMKC Chamber Accordion Ensemble. In addition to her performing, she continues to adjudicate, coach soloists, prepare accordion orchestra
arrangements, and conduct accordion orchestras regularly. After her retirement as CIA Vice President, she was unanimously awarded the status of CIA Honorary Member.