Toralf Tollefsen -World Artist

‘Toralf Tollefsen World Artist’ is a fascinating and very readable book about the life, career and achievements of Toralf Tollefsen (1914-94), a much loved and internationally renowned accordionist from Norway, a man who truly became a legend in his lifetime. First published (in Norwegian) in 1994 to celebrate Tollefsen’s 80th birthday, this book is not actually a biography as such, but an anthology edited by Jon Faukstad containing a lengthy in-depth biographical interview with the great man by Faukstad, four informative articles about Tollefsen and his very significant contribution to the accordion (written by Mogens Ellegaard, Ola Kai Ledang, Jon Faukstad, and Birger Ostby), plus a complete and detailed discography, compiled by Tom Valle. Toralf Tollefsen has long been a legendary figure in the accordion world, especially in Britain where he lived between 1936/39 and 1946/61. There have been other accordionists equally skilled, but few could match Tollefsen’s charisma, stage presence or reputation, or the deep impression he made on a generation of accordionists in this country whose progress was often measured by how well they could play compositions and arrangements bearing Tollefsen’s name. This newly published English-language version tells a great deal about Tollefsen’s lifelong dedication to the accordion, and the reader will learn much about his ambitions, thoughts on repertoire, performance, his instruments, playing experiences in Britain and the USA, and his philosophy about life. The life of Tollefsen is, in a sense, the story of the modern accordion in Britain and Europe as this was the man whose long-held and eventually realised dream it was to pioneer the accordion’s transition from variety theatres to the classical concert stage, introducing the free bass instrument in the process. In the interview section Tollefsen discusses how he went from variety to classical music in the post-war years, and the problems he had to overcome with this transition. Originally published in Norwegian, ‘Toralf Tollefsen World Artist’ has been painstakingly translated and updated by Owen Murray, with assistance from Olga Jorgensen for the translation of the article by Professor Ola Kai Ledang. Special mention should be made of the initiative of Roland Williams, whose enthusiasm brought this project to fruition.

Toralf Tollefsen – World Artist by Jon Faukstad

Toral Tollefsen, World Artist is a new publication we now have in stock featuring one of the first truly global accordionists of the concert platform.  The book tracks the life of this pioneer of the concert accordion through interviews and articles contributed by the editor Jon Faukstad, Mogens Ellegaard, Ola Kai Ledang and others. The project to translate Faukstad’s original book into English was spearheaded by Roland Williams who convinced Owen Murray to translate it. Tollefsen travelled the world playing concerts.  The book retells his story through an in-depth interview by Faukstad and lists his recordings and his compositions.  It all makes fascinating reading and gives an insight into the life of a concert artist back then which will no doubt draw comparisons with today’s modern globe-trotting concert accordionists. This book is wonderful way for today’s younger generation of artists to discover the story of a mid 20th Century classical accordion trailblazer.

From his humble beginnings playing Norwegian folk music, Toralf Tollefsen took the accordion to the dizzy heights of the Royal Albert Hall as far back as the 1940s.  I met him in the 1980s at Caister with my then accordion teacher Frank Lilley who had met him in Oslo during the war.  He was playing free bass accordion then and it was fascinating to see the journey this man had made.  I knew him through my father’s record of him playing some compelling arrangements of Heart of Paris (G.Auric), Pizzicato Waltz (G. Boulanger), Bel Viso (P. Frosini)and Tomerhugger Dans (Tollefsen).  He was a great influence for me as I’m sure he will have been in the formation of other professional accordionists.

Romano Viazzani

24th May 2015 – First World War – Italy joins the conflict Centenery – Accordion Music to commemorate

Accordion music to commemorate First World War

With performance by accordionist Romano Viazzani. Italy joined WW1 in 1915 on the 23rd of May and Italian forces fought alongside British and French soldiers. The conflict in the Alps was every bit as horrendous as the trenches of Northern France.

In remembrance of the centenary of Italy entering WW1 and for all those who died on all sides, Seeds of Italy are holding a very special daytime concert at their performance space in Harrow headquarters featuring music that Italian troops would have recognised, both popular and classical. Click here for details.


Joanna Strand and Friends – Romano Viazzani headlining on accordion Wednesday 3rd June 2015

Romano Viazzani on accordion guest stars with Joanna Strand at the Crazy Coqs Cabaret, Piccadilly Circus, London

Joanna Strand has given the Cabaret-going public some great entertainment in the last few years at The Pheasantry, The Forge, The Jermyn Street Theatre in London and the Carlyle and Feinsteins in New York.  London’s top Cabaret venue, the wonderful The Crazy Coqs in all its Art Deco glory now beckons and June 2nd, 3rd and 4th 2015 see three nights each with a different headlining artist sharing the platform with Joanna.  On June 2nd it will be with fellow West-End performer Jacqueline Tate with whom she has shared many a successful night in the past.  The 3rd June sees a Parisian theme and Joanna will sing some wonderful French and French-inspired songs alongside some wonderful accordion pieces performed by Romano Viazzani.  (He will also be part of her wonderful ensemble on Tuesday 2nd June, alongside Nick Pini on Double Bass, John Bailey on Piano and Jason Reeve on Drums). Thursday 4th June sees songs from the stage and the opera with baritone Rodney Earl Clarke sharing the stage with Joanna.

For accordion-lovers there will be some great solos as well a some great new arrangements of songs and Instrumentals.  An event not to be missed.Book tickets now.

Romano Viazzani & David VaughanJoanna Strand

Jacqueline Tate       Rodney Earl Clarke






Our thanks to Seeds of Italy and Morris’s Espresso Bar for their kind sponsorship of this event.  

Seeds of Italy mix tuscany

Morris's Espresso Bar






Italian ingredients you grow yourself!

Bergamo, Italy, est 1783  0208 427 5020




Royal Academy of Music – Bartosz Glowacki- Classical Accordion Final Recital

Bartek Glowacki

Royal Academy of Music – Bartosz Glowacki- Classical Accordion Final Recital

After 3 years of playing exams closed to public Bartosz Glowacki’s will perform his final recital, which he invites you to share with him.
He would like to create concert atmosphere and needs YOU to come and support him by your presence so he can share this 50 minutes of music with an appreciative and encouraging audience. He is a player who deserves nothing less and is a talent to watch.
The programme will include some of his favourite original accordion music as well as transcriptions.
Later, the Deco Ensemble and William Percy will join him on stage for some exciting chamber music!
The Concert takes place at: The Royal Academy of Music, Marylebone Road, NW1 5HT London, United Kingdom on 

Friday May 29th 2015
at 7:30pm – 8:45pm
Programme includes:  Gubaidulina, Piazzolla, Lindberg, Zolotariyov, Majkusiak and Messiaen

Royal Academy of Music – Free Lunchtime Accordion & Percussion Concert Friday 8th May 2015

The Academy’s Percussion and Accordion Departments collaborate for an exciting programme of twentieth-century music, including the UK premiere of Magnus Lindberg’s Metal Work.
Friday, 08.05.2015 13:05, Duke’s Hall

Neil Percy conductor

Oliver Butterworth, Daniel Gonzalez Estevez and James Larter solo percussion

Katariina Ahjoniemi, Bartosz Glowacki, Iosif Purits andBen de Souza accordion

Lundquist Duell
Arvo Pärt arr. Vambola Krigul Fratres
Magnus Lindberg Metal Work (UK premiere)
Param Vir The Drums of Courage
Bo Holten The Veils of Pandora

The Academy’s Percussion and Accordion Departments collaborate for an exciting programme of twentieth-century music, including the UK premiere of Magnus Lindberg’s Metal Work.

Free, no tickets required