Skipton Accordion Festival – March 25th-28th 2016

Skipton Accordion festival

The Spring kicks off with the first ever Skipton Accordion Weekend


25th-28th March 2016 at the Rendezvous Hotel (Skipton)

There will be a full programme of artists from all over the UK as well as a trade area and classes for all to join in with.

Artists will include:

Gary Blair     Paul Chamberlain     Julie Best     Jean Corrighan     Harry Hussey    John Romero


Harry Hussey     Gary Blair


Friday 25th March

2.00 Arrival and check in
3.00 Welcome cup of tea or coffee (Bar)
4.00 Welcome party with Harry Hussey  (Bar)
6.00 Dinner
8.00 Julie Best & Jean Corrighan (Concert Hall)
8.30 John Romero (Concert Hall)
9.00 Interval
9.15 Gary Blair (Concert Hall)
10.00 Interval
10.15 Paul Chamberlain (Concert Hall)
11.00 Late Night with Harry Hussey (Bar)

Saturday 26th March

8.00 – 9.30 Breakfast
9.00 Accordion Orchestra –   (Concert Hall)
10.15 Accordion Orchestra –   (Concert Hall)
11.30 Accordion Orchestra –  (Concert Hall)
2.00 Accordion Orchestra –   (Concert Hall)
2.00 Scottish Workshop –  (Lower Hall)
3.00 Guests Concert – Hosted by John Romero  (Concert Hall)
4.00 Complimentary cup of tea or coffee  (bar)
5.15 Fun busking session with –   (Bar)
6.00 Dinner
8.00  (Concert Hall)
9.00 Interval
9.15  (Concert Hall)
9.45 Interval
10.00  (Concert Hall)
10.30  (Concert Hall)
11.00 Ceilidh – Gary Blair  (Concert Hall)
12.00 Late Night with Harry Hussey (Bar)

Sunday 27th March

8.00 – 9.30 Breakfast
9.00 Accordion Orchestra –   (Concert Hall)
10.15 Accordion Orchestra –   (Concert Hall
11.30 Accordion Orchestra –   (Concert Hall)
2.00 Group class   (Concert Hall)
2.00 Scottish Workshop – Gary Blair  (Lower Hall)
3.00 Orchestra performances – Hosted by John Romero  (Concert Hall)
4.00 Complimentary cup of tea or coffee (bar)
5.15 Fun busking session with –  (Bar)
6.00 Dinner
8.00  (Concert Hall)
8.30  (Concert Hall)
9.00 Interval
9.15 Gary Blair (Concert Hall)l
9.45 Charity Raffle  (Concert Hal)
10.15   (Concert Hall)
10.45 Party time Pro Jam Session  (Concert Hall)
11.30 Late Night with   (Bar)

Monday 28th March

8.00 – 9.30 Breakfast

Additional Notes

Please note that should guests wish to practice in their rooms they are welcome to at any time between 9.00a.m. and 4.00p.m.

Your Half Board Stay at our March (Friday 25th – Monday 28th) 2016 Accordion Festival

£239 per person (£80.00 deposit) Balance to be be paid to the Rendezvous Hotel from Friday (26th february 2016), four weeks before the festival, N.B. Single room supplement is £30.00

To book tickets please go to:

UKAAT Workshop February 7th 2016 – A great success

UKAAT 1st Workshop morning session audience

Accordion teachers, students, professionals, composers and UKAAT supporters packed into the Henry Wood Room for UKAAT’s first workshop on February 7th 2016 at the Royal Academy of Music. The day kicked off with a presentation by Romano Viazzani (UKAAT President) outlining what UKAAT’s aims are and what they have been doing since their initial meeting three years ago along with their hopes for the future.











This was followed by a talk and workshop given by Prof. Owen Murray and Romano Viazzani on teaching basic skills to students. Ideas on all manner of basic skill teaching from posture and confidence in performance to finer points such as articulation and bellow skills were covered with participation from the workshop-goers.  A video clip was also shown to demonstrate the  freedom that comes with good posture. Some exercises were put forward to help improve certain aspects of playing as well as some ideas for chord combinations on standard “Stradella” bass. After a mid morning break the workshop continued explaining how free bass works and its ever increasing importance in the world of Music.  Several systems were explained with Prof. Owen Murray drawing comparisons between the C Griff System Free bass system and the mirror image of the C System Right-hand button-board.  Then Vice President Ian Watson spoke on the B griff System and it’s relationship to the right-hand B-griff button-board. Various diagrams and technical exercise fingerings were made exclusively available to attendees for download.

Basic Skills Workshop










The end of the morning session was rounded off with a short concert by the tremendous students of the Royal Academy of Music’s accordion department. Ben de Sousa and Soprano Elly Broomfield kicked off with an impactful Haydn’s Benedictus from “Little Organ Mass” and Music for a while by Henry Purcell.  Then Inigo Mikeleiz-Berrade played a beautiful and authentically Spanish, Albeniz’s Cordoba followed by Franck Angelis’s Study on Chuiquilin de Bachin. More chamber music followed next with Iosif Purits supporting Cecilia Bignall on cello for J.S Bach’s Sonata for viola de gamba and harpsichord and Manuel de Falla’s Suite Populaire Espagnole. As if almost to underline the topic of dynamic-shaping and articulation covered in the earlier workshop, this performance was an object lesson in how the accordion’s left-hand can ably support a cello to the point of almost believing there was another cello playing with this duo, so well crafted was Purits’s control of the lines played on his free bass. A very mauture performance of Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonata in A major and Zolotaryov’s Sonata No.3 followed and was so appreciated by the cheering audience that brought Bartosz Glowacki back on for a curtain call.  Finally, a blistering performance of Rodion Schedrin’s short piece Toccata by Iosif Purits.

After a pause for lunch, Roland Williams gave a brief talk on a recent book he and Owen Murray translated and compiled about the life of Toralf Tollefsen (available form this site) and some wonderful archive recording of Tollefsen was heard music to the audience’s delight.



Karen Street

Karen Street

Karen Street -First participants play









Once the initial shyness wore off the accordions were donned by the workshop participants for the very enjoyable and informative workshop given by Karen Street on her rather unique way of playing jazz using almost exclusive free bass. Attendees found the similarity between the way Ms Street plays and the jazz voicings pianists use in their left-hand, particularly stimulating.  Then Simone Zanchini and Karen Street combined to get everyone improvising.  The RAM students who had played earlier also joined in and gave jazz a try too which was very pleasing to see.  Karen Street then gave us a wonderful performance of her solo playing so the audience could fully experience what her sound is really like which was much appreciated by the audience and Mr Zanchini alike.



Karen Street - More and more

Karen Street - More and more and... Simone Zanchini










Finally, Simone Zanchini gave a talk on his approach to improvising, what his influences were and some of the jazz accordion greats he had the fortune to play and record with.  He also gave us an insight into his idea of sound and the acoustic experiments and innovation he has incorporated into his accordion.  He talked of the importance of confidence in delivery and sound projection when improvising and the inevitable practise that goes into learning the “coding” of the different styles and genres of music he calls upon during his improvisations some of which he owes to his classical training at Pesaro conservatoire under Sergio Scappini.  He rounded off with a jaw-dropping 30-minute improvisation incorporating many of the jazz styles he had spoken about during his talk.


Karen Street and Simone Zanchini

Simone Zanchini

Simone Zanchini








Happily, all the feedback about the event was very positive indeed and it was felt that generally there is a need for this type of workshop and that they should happen more often.

Simone Zanchini

Simone Zanchini