Maria de Buenos Aires – Piazzolla’s Tango Opera – 6 dates in May and June 2016 – The Vaults, London

Maria de Buenos Aires

Maria de Buenos Aires – 6 dates in May and June 2016 – The Vaults, London

Fans of Astor Piazzolla and Tango will be pleased to hear that his opera is returning to London for 6 dates in May and June.  It’s quite rare to see this performed so here’s your chance to see it and even participate in a bit of tango dancing after the show!

OSKAR McCARTHY and A CURIOUS INVITATION present MARÍA DE BUENOS AIRES – a surreal operita tango with music by the creator of tango nuevo Argentinian bandoneonist ASTOR PIAZZOLLA and words by Uruguayan poet HORACIO FERRER.

Descend into the Vaults and mingle with the lowlife of old Buenos Aires: thieves, card sharps, pimps and whores. The Narrator will relate the story of the maestro of the bandoneon, Piazzolla’s muse, María, a prostitute born in the slums “one day when God was drunk … with a curse in her voice.” Maria is seduced by the rhythms of the tango and soon becomes “the most sorcerous singer and lover” in Buenos Aries. But her “fatal passion” arouses the wrath of the languishing Piazzolla, who, driven to madness by Maria’s unrelenting freedom, conspires with a group of robbers and brothel madames to murder her. After her death, her Shadow returns to haunt the sordid streets she once walked, and only then does Piazzolla realise the error of his ways: “Maria is music!” A modern day Passion Play, full of religious allusions and black humour, set to a soundtrack of tangos, milongas and waltzes.

This intimate 90-minute masterpiece featuring an 11 piece orchestra will be presented in the setting of an abandoned carnival. After the performance guests who, like María herself, refuse to depart the scene will be invited to tango into the small hours at our after show party.

María de Buenos Aires is presented by Oskar McCarthy and A Curious Invitation, by arrangement with Warner Chappell Music Limited. Directed by Ella Marchment.

Astor Piazzolla
An Argentine tango composer, arranger and bandoneón player: Piazzolla’s oeuvre revolutionised the traditional tango into a new style termed nuevo tango, incorporating elements from jazz and classical music.

Horacio Ferrer
A Uruguayan-born poet, Horacio Ferrer rose to fame as Piazzolla’s lyricist and longtime collaborator. He composed more than 200 songs and authored several books about tango, including El Libro del Tango which turned into a key reference work on the subject.

Tickets £25 – please click here to buy.


A Surreal Operita Tango in the Vaults, Leake Street, Waterloo SE1
Music by Astor Piazzolla & Libretto by Horacio Ferrer

Dates: 6th & 7th May / 13th & 14th May / 3rd & 4th June
Doors at 10:00 pm – Performance starts at 10:30.
For those who would like to tango into the wee hours there will be an after party till 2 am

Classics at the Villa – Romano Viazzani on accordion – 22nd May 2016

Classics at the Villa

Music for a Classic Car show – Villa Scalabrini – Green Street, Shenley, Herts

Fiat 500s and 600s-1200
Fiat 500s and 600s
Fiat 500 Topolino
Assorted classic sports cars
Lancia Flaminia Sport-1200
Lancia Flaminia Sport



Romano Viazzani is very excited to be playing a variety of music from opera, Neapolitan serenades, tango, Italian and american standards and Jazz on his accordion alongside John Bailey on Piano, Nick Pini on Double Bass, Richard Jones on Violin, Jason Reeve on Drums with the beautiful operatic voice of Anna Greco at this event on May 22nd 2016.

Organised by a group of Italians passionate about cars and food.

This fantastic event is set on 25 acres of attractive gardens distinguishes itself due to its Italian food offering and the fact that all money raised goes to charity. So come along and expect a warm Italian welcome.

All makes and models are welcomed from Supercars to classic cars / bikes / campervans / specials etc

Show details:
Date: Sunday the 22nd of May 2016
Time: 9:30am-16:30pm

Entry Prices 2016:
Vehicles visiting £4 per person (U12’s go free)
Vehicles exhibiting £10 per vehicle
Bikes showing £3 per person

We look forward to seeing you here.

Villa Scalabrini
Green Street
WD7 9BB (satnav address)

Any questions or further information please contact us on 07956156741 GIULIANO or via email

Check out lasts years event :

On the day:
-Lots of classics, supercars ,specials, bikes etc
-Motoring clubs
-Trade stands
-Cocktail bar
-Music band
-Fantastic food
-Best car or bike trophies “Villa Scalabrini cup”

Cars and Great Italian street food. Fast Cars and Slow Food.

Regional foods include Cannoli Siciliane, Birra Peroni, Franchi Seeds from Bergamo, Porchetta Romana, pasta, wood oven pizzas ,BBQ, Sausages from Parma, Salumi from Piemonte ,Italian ice cream, Coffee from Piacenza and a lot more.

A real family day.

If you would like to reserve a undercover paddock for your special car or if you are a club and would like to reserve a designated area please contact us and we will do our best

Advance tickets from:

A new Beltrami accordion for Ben de Souza

Ben de Sousa with his new Beltrami CVC5

Beltrami Accordion model CVC5

Yes, his Beltrami accordion has arrived! Currently in his second year at the Royal Academy of Music Ben de Souza spent his gap year converting from a classical  piano accordion to the more compact classical button accordion.  He also spent some time in Italy learning how to tune and repair accordions with Beltrami in Stradella.  It was then that he decided to design his future instrument and trust its construction to Claudio Beltrami.  A year and half on, and incorporating many special requirements that Ben specified to obtain the sound he was looking for a very excited Ben went to collect his accordion.

His Beltrami CVC5 accordion is a little larger than the Jupiter he was borrowing from the RAM.  It has an extra set of reeds in the left-hand being of the 8′ + 8′ + 2′ configuration with all combinations possible rather than the register-free Jupiter’s 8’+ 8′ configuration. His right-hand boasts a piccolo reed that goes all the way up to F above top C on the piano and amazingly it really can be heard by humans and rather well to boot.  It’s not played-in yet of course but I heard him play it and it has the most amazing sounding cassotto I have heard in a long time.  I want to eat the sound it makes! There are a number of other options Ben chose to incorporate but I shouldn’t give too many of his secrets away and I’m not talking about his real mother of pearl buttons!  Can’t wait to hear how it develops over the next 18 months or so.  As a player he has come along so quickly too and it’s amazing that only two years ago we were doing the very first exercises on buttons when I hear him now play Bach and Scarlatti even better than he did on his lovely old Beltrami CVP4c piano accordion which he is selling to fund this accordion.


Romano Viazzani

Claudio Beltrami with Ben De Souza's CVC5
Claudio Beltrami with Ben De Souza’s CVC5


Royal Academy of Music Events for May – Accordion Showcase and Masterclass

Accordion close up

Accordion Showcase

Iosif Purits playing with percussionist in Lindberg's Metalwork










Thursday, 19th May 2016 19:30, David Josefowitz Recital Hall

Always great to keep up with how well the accordion students at the Royal Academy of Music are doing and watching them develop in to fine young artists. It is now 30 years this coming September that the accordion was introduced there.The Academy was the first British conservatoire to introduce teaching for classical accordion as a principal study. Owen Murray has been Head of Accordion since the department was founded in 1986. Going along to support these events enable the students to play for a good size audience and I have seen concerts becoming more and more well-attended over the years which shows that there’s plenty of interest in the accordion out there.

Accordion students will play solo and chamber music works by JS Bach, Scarlatti, Trojan and Berio.


Tickets £7.50 (concessions £5.50) from the Academy’s Box Office: online now, telephone 020 7873 7300(weekdays 10am–4pm)

Accordion Masterclass

24th May 2016 10.00 – 17.00. Lunch 12.00 -1.00 pm. Professor Janne Rättyä. Head of accordion, Graz conservatoire, Austria

Free Admission

Owen Murray with Matti Rantenen with rising stars and ex-RAM students Milos Milivojevic and Ksenija Sidorova at last month's master class.
Owen Murray with Matti Rantenen with rising stars and ex-RAM students Milos Milivojevic and Ksenija Sidorova at last month’s master class.



CANCELLED – David Vaughan at The Pheasantry with Viazzani on Accordion – 3rd May 2016

David Vaughan - The Pheasantry - 3rd May 2016

The London Festival of Cabaret – David Vaughan


David Vaugahn The Pheasantry 6 Piece








Singer-Songwriter David Vaughan is back at The Pheasantry, King’s Road, Chelsea, London on Tuesday 3rd May 2016 at 8.30pm for The London Festival of Cabaret. Vaughan draws inspiration from the European chanson tradition and uses a unique blend of musical instruments to paint a wonderful palette of musical colours which underpin his original songs. Romano Viazzani on accordion, Daniel Broncano on clarinet and bass clarinet, Jason Reeve on drums, Tom Hewins on tuba and double bass and of course Vaughan himself on piano, guitar, trumpet and vocals. His music cannot easily be categorised and since there are very few if any record shops left, all of which compartmentalised music into narrow genres and therefore influenced the categories of music one used to listen to, it doesn’t matter a jot. Come along and be pleasantly surprised at many musical traditions guide Vaughan’s songs. All songs are masterfully and imaginatively arranged by Vaughan himself to bring out the best in his instruments and this is especially evident in his wonderful recent album We’re on a holiday.

Tickets are £15 and available at

Claudio Beltrami restores the Dallapé Liturgical Accordion

Gian Felice Fugazza plays the Dallapé Liturgical Accordion
Claudio Beltrami
Claudio Beltrami in his factory in Stradella

It’s the stuff of legend and where legends are involved there is always a mystery involved.  The Dallapé Liturgical accordion or “La Liturgica” belonging to Stradella Accordion Museum has just been restored by Claudio Beltrami of Beltrami Accordions, Stradella.  It is one of reputedly four instruments built by Dallapé in Stradella in 1941. Claudio Beltrami says that despite the fact that it was built during the war when materials were in short supply the instrument is one of incredible quality with only the best materials used.  Beltrami too had to be very careful to use period materials to restore it to its original condition. It boasts 6 sets of treble reeds across 43 piano keys.  The footages are 32′ in cassotto, 16′ in cassotto, 8′ + 8′ + 4′ out of cassotto as well as a 2 2/3 foot set of reeds which means they are tuned a perfect 5th above the piccolo reed.  This means that the reeds of this register go up to the F# above the top note on the piano! This footage is usually only found in church organs. It weighs a staggering 18kg. The composer and accordionist Gianfelice Fugazza had a hand in its design and also feature a row of pedal notes in the left hand which one depresses and are automatically held down till a second touch releases them.  It’s restoration has been financed by the family of the late composer who died in 2007.


The palatial frontage of the Dallapé factory in Stradella in the 1920s
The palatial frontage of the Dallapé factory in Stradella in the 1920s










Dallapé (with the accent on the last e and not pronounced Dalappy as is commonly thought), was Stradella’s largest factory and dates back to the 1870s.  Rather like Paolo Soprani in Castelfidardo, workers who subsequently left their employment then ended up opening their own factories in Stradella making it a major hub of accordion manufacture.  at it’s peak Dallapé employed hundreds of workers.  The building, which has a large palatial frontage and extensive workshops at the rear still exists but the company sadly ceased trading in 2010, another victim of an economic downturn.  There are rumours that the town council may use the building or part of it to house the Stradella Accordion Museum, currently in the Town Library building, which would at least be fitting use to this historic building.

The workshop where the accordion mechanisms were made in the 1920s
The workshop where the accordion mechanisms were made in the 1920s








In 1941, Dallapé took Fugazza to perform for Pope Pius at the Vatican. The Vactican was also gifted with an instrument.  He was very impressed by it’s sound and gave his blessing that the instrument should be played in churches. A great publicity coup! The Vatican are unsure to its whereabouts today and there are various stories surrounding where the other two ended up but at least the one in Stradella is now in working condition. It will feature in a special concert later this year in Italy and we will make sure we let ZZ Music subscribers know when and where that will be.

Carpentry department of Dallapé in its present state of deca
Carpentry department of Dallapé in its present state of decay









There’s an interesting sub-plot to this story too.  Stradella is in the province of Pavia in an area called the Oltrepó (literally beyond the Po).  The Po valley is the industrial heartland of Northern Italy and was notoriously communist traditionally, especially in the postwar period and therefore anticlerical too. Angry at Dallapé’s gift to the Vatican a group of workers in Stradella calling themselves Operai di Stradella got together and created a rival instrument which was then presented to Comrade Stalin as an act of defiance!  Anyone who has read the Don Camillo books by Guareschi, seen the old black and white films with Fernandel or even saw the Don Camillo BBC series with Brian Blessed in the 70s will know that the battle between church and communist local administrations often produced rather humorous and sometimes even quite dramatic consequences!

Operai di Stradella accordion for Stalin
Operai di Stradella accordion for Stalin







The good news is that the Liturgica will once again be played instead of being just a static museum exhibit.  It would be wonderful to allow players to play it in concert from time to time rather like and old Stradivarius in private collections loaned out to visiting musicians so that more and more people could experience this truly unique sound.


Iosif Purits and Cecilia Bignall – Accordion and Cello Duo – St John’s, Smith Square 22nd April 2016

Iosif Purits Ceclia Bignall accordion and cello - Duo Bayanello

Iosif Purits on accordion and Cecilia Bignall make up a wonderful duo called Duo Bayanello, who met at the Royal Academy of Music. On the 22nd April 2016 they will perform Takes Two by Sally Beamish at St Johns, Smith Square, London.  Performance starts at 18.00 and will finish around 18.50.

Duo Bayanello is a young and inspiring new ensemble consisting of two contrasting instruments, resulting in a surprisingly harmonious tone: cello and accordion. This connection was said by Rostrapovich to be a more organic combination of sounds than cello and piano, and brings a bigger contribution to accordion chamber music repertoire than any other.

Both studying at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Cecilia Bignall (cello) and Iosif Purits (accordion) have performed around the world, both in solo and chamber music projects.

For ticket information please see:

Sally Beamish is a British composer and violist. Her works include chamber, vocal, choral and orchestral music. She has also worked in the field of music theatre, film and television, as well as composing for children and for her local community

Catch Duo Bayanello in Hampshire too

If you’re in Hampshire the duo will – Braishfield Church Room,Church Lane, Braishfield, SO51

Royal Academy of Music – Accordion Master Class with Matti Rantenen 22nd April 2016

Matti Rantanen- accordion professor

Royal Academy of Music – Accordion Master Class with Matti Rantenen – 22nd April 2016 10.00 to 17.00 (Lunch:13.00-14.00) A perfect opportunity for teachers, students and all accordionists to see some of the world’s leading accordion teachers work with the accordion students at the Royal Academy of Music.  The Royal Academy itself has a group of students who play to a very high standard under the regular tutelage of our own professor of accordion, Owen Murray. It’s always incredibly interesting and informative to watch the professors from the best music conservatoires in the world come and work with these students at a high level and trying out different approaches and ideas on pieces they are working on.  Last month we saw Professor Raimondas Sviackevicius from Lithuania work with the students. This month is is the turn of Professor Matti Rantanen from the Sibelius Academy in Finland a well known centre of musical excellence that has a thriving accordion department.  Don’t miss it.

Free entry too!