Romano Viazzani Ensemble launch Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign

Romano Viazzani Ensemble at the Pizza Express Dean Street Photo

London Tango crowdfunding starts – your help needed to reach their goal by 14th July 2019!

The Romano Viazzani Ensemble have launched their new crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to enable them to record an album of tangos featuring many new original tangos written by the band and dedicated to the city of London. For anyone not familiar with crowdfunding it is an increasing popular way for unsigned and independent artists to raise money to fund their projects in return for rewards. For little more than the price of CD you can help fund the recording of it and receive the recording and many optional extras depending on the amount pledged, once the recording has been realised. The aim is to then make a film of the title track but funding for that will be through another route it is hoped.

There is a downside though.  If the project doesn’t reach it’s target of £4000 then the ensemble will not receive any of the money and the project will therefore not go ahead and no money will be taken from the sponsors who pledge their support.  Of course £4000 seems like a very low figure to fund a recording but the ensemble hope they will exceed that figure.  You will love their new material and of course the recording will feature a few old favourites too. You only have till 14th July 2019 to help them raise their target of £4000, otherwise they won’t get a penny! So get pledging!

Click on the link to watch the film and pledge your support.–9mAhlTrlFmV6pCY2pdk66bsMwhJtYN–FY8XdojgYuVwv9w

Ben de Souza – New Concert Date – Recital with Chloe Meade on Violin


Ben de Souza accordion recital with Chloe Meade on Violin

Don’t miss this exciting young duo playing at Cambridge University. Ben graduated from the Royal Academy of Music last year and is currently studying choral conducting at Cambridge University.  Chloe is graduating this year and has just performed at her final recital at the Royal Academy of Music.  They have a bright musical future together.They have, just earlier this month, been performing at Hampton Court Palace and at Clare College Chapel.

Thursday 20th June, 12pm

Recital with violinist Chloë Meade

Jesus College Chapel, Cambridge 

Entry FREE


Qianyiu Zhang – Accordion Final Recital Exam – Royal Academy of Music Wednesday 12th June 2019. 17.15

Qianyiu Zhang

Accordion Final Recital Exam

Qianyiu Zhang (aka Samantha) will be performing in her final recital for her post-graduate diploma at the Royal Academy of Music, Marylebone Road London, on Wednesday 12th June at 17.15 in the David Josefowicz Hall.

It really helps the students if they have an audience to play to so please show support for our young accordionists who play so well and are the future of our much-loved instrument. Those who attend will not be disappointed.  In her two years at the RAM Samantha has really impressed her audiences.

She will be playing:

Gubaidulina: Et Expecto

Zolotariev: Sonata No.2

Mikhail Brönner: Jacob’s Ladder (accordion and violin)


Tickets: Free entry

Accordion Showcase – Royal Academy of Music – Thursday 20 June 2019, 19.30


Accordion Showcase

Performance Thursday 20 June 2019, 7.30pm
Don’t miss the last accordion concert of the academic year at the Royal Academy of Music. There will be a programme of solo and chamber music for accordion, including works by JS Bach, Astor Piazzolla and Sofia Gubaidulina. These concerts never cease to amaze those who attend them and in turn it shows great support for the accordion department within the Royal Academy of Music. Watching these students grow in their chosen field is always thrilling to see.

Jonathan Dove – Accordion Concerto “Northern Lights” Review by Romano Viazzani


Jonathan Dove’s Concerto launches the accordion into space!

Jonathan Dove

Owen MurrayThe accordion has sometimes been accused of sounding “old-fashioned” and perhaps one might be forgiven for thinking the same when listening to an amateur busker playing a clapped-out, badly-tuned accordion on a windy day on the high street. It is rather fitting then that this most mechanically sophisticated instrument, which was only patented, albeit in a much more primitive form, in the 1820s and conversely, is therefore one of the most recent acoustic instruments to be invented, that Jonathan Dove chose to send it on a journey into space up amongst the Aurora Borealis – the phenomenon caused by the sun’s rays travelling through space and interacting with earth’s magnetic field over the Arctic Circle. The premieres of this concerto coincides with a BBC series Earth from Space which, on the 1st May, the day before the first premiere, showed film taken from a satellite showing the Northern Lights seen from above and the red peaks that we don’t see from an earthly perspective.

In a nod to the accordion’s folk roots Dove also manages to refer to the Scottish Island of Orkney, where Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, to whom the concerto is dedicated, lived. Dove took up the commission after Sir Peter, who was originally to write the concerto, sadly died. I couldn’t attend the Edinburgh world premiere, nor the Glasgow premiere but did manage to get to the Aberdeen premiere and I’m very glad I did as it is a piece which has depth, paints some amazing orchestral colours and is very accessible to all without being banal.

The accordion starts with some left-hand chords and right-hand piccolo reed sounds which are very soon echoed by the orchestra imitating the accordion which builds to the most wonderful orchestral flourish that propels one straight into space. Great to hear the double bassoon responding to the accordion and as the tension builds with accordion interjections the glockenspiel provides some wonderful tingling which rises high above the orchestral throng, taking one up and over the earthly view of the lights to what can only be seen from above. Despite the difference in tonal weight between the accordion and orchestra, the accordion is exposed enough to be heard when it leads but then also adds it’s inimitable sound to passages where it is just part of the bigger orchestral texture. Dove uses some ingenious devices to create the feeling of the vastness of these dancing lights in space and at one moment a very low note from the double bassoon at the back of the orchestra merges seamlessly into the accordion’s low left-hand note at the front of the orchestra, giving the audience the impression that something is coming towards it.

The second movement starts with some melodic accordion playing in the right-hand and Owen Murray’s beautiful left hand registration almost fills that ethereal space, normally the mainstay of high bassoon or clarinet, to counter it with harmony. This woody roundness of the accordion runs which follow are further underpinned by the roundness of the vibraphone which also adds to the other-worldly feel of the piece. The movement ends with very high bowed strings drawing similarities from the accordion’s very high notes cutting through with the assistance of hand vibrato.

The third movement starts with the lovely melody which is a nod to Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’s Farewell to Stromness, it’s folky feel serving to perhaps to bring the listener back down to view the Aurora from the earth. The orchestra continue to echo the accordion with some trill-like passages. The accordion’s bellow shakes are also echoed in the “scrubbing” strings and then the melody returns triumphantly in the brass. Twenty minutes of music just flies by and whilst other composers have sent the accordion into the cosmos before this piece for me has to be the most successful to date. It’s like listening to a film soundtrack but the pictures are in one’s mind and sometimes you are watching the action of the lights from above, from below and sometimes they are all around you rushing towards you and away again.

Owen Murray, a veteran of many premieres, yet again succeeds in convincing the audience that the accordion has a rightful place both in front of the orchestra as well as in it and therefore part of its entire sound. I was so pleased to see him up there after fulfilling his dream of leaving accordionists with a legacy of wonderful concert material, knowing well the agony he went through to deliver this project even when, with Sir Peter’s sudden death, it all seemed like it was never going to happen. I would urge all accordionists to remember well this piece which Owen Murray will promote for the next two years now in the hope that many will play it after him.

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra also played brilliantly under the able baton of Clemens Schuldt with great communication between section leaders and the conductor.  They are so animated and exciting to watch and they feel so youthful even though they are visibly made up of musicians of all ages. It was lovely to see Zoe Tweed playing French Horn so beautifully in the orchestra too.  She is the daughter of accordionist Karen Street and saxophonist Andy Tweed and even dabbled in the accordion herself a few years ago. She told me that she and the orchestra really liked the piece too and I have to say that it showed. They also played Mozart Symphony No.34 in C K338 just before Dove’s concerto and then Ligeti’s Concert Romanesc and Haydn’s Symphony No.90 in C.  The highlight was definitely the premiere and I wish both Owen Murray and Jonathan Dove a lot of luck with it as I believe this piece really has legs. I’m slightly biased but The Scotsman and The Times both seem to agree. I was very pleased to hear that Jonathan Dove has worked with many accordionists over the years and even plays a little himself to aid his composing.  I was even more pleased to hear that he would happily write more for the accordion in the future.


The Northern Lights Photo courtesy of Donna May


Kosmos Ensemble Spring tour 2019 featuring Milos Milivojevic on accordion

Kosmos Ensemble

Tour Dates Spring 2019

Harriet Mackenzie ~ violin

Meg Hamilton ~ viola

Miloš Milivojević ~ classical accordion

Apologies for not having been able to include the tour’s April dates in last months newsletter which for a change, was early.  Here are the res of the tour dates.

To celebrate over 10 years playing together, Kosmos are preparing to make a disc of studio recordings featuring favourite iconic tunes that have been extremely popular with audiences across the UK and Europe.

Please keep an eye out for their future news if you would like to be actively involved in the next Kosmos recording. They will invite you to collaborate with us through the online Kickstarter crowdfunding platform.

18th May 2019, 9.30pm,
Late-night concert
Sacconi Quartet’s Festival in Folkestone
Quarterhouse, Tontine Street, Folkestone, Kent

1st June, 2019
Music Nairn, Scotland

5th June, 1.30pm 2019,
Bridgewater Hall (Barbirolli Room)
Lower Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3WS
22nd September
Ripon International Festival

10th October, 2019
Little Missensden Festival, Buckinhamshire

19th October, 7.30pm 2019
Newton Abbot Music Societ

3rd November2019
Balliol College, Oxford

16th November 2019
Weston Music Society,
Holy Trinity Church, Weston, Hertfordshire, SG4 7DJ

4th December, 2019, 7.30pm
Bideford Music Society

7th December, 2019
Ayr Music Club, Scotland



Borut Zagoranski accordion masterclass with Royal Academy students – Thursday 9th May 2019


Former Student, now professor, gives accordion masterclass

Thursday 9th May 2019 from 10.00 am – 1.00 pm in the Henry Wood Room, Royal Academy of Music, Marylebone Road, London

It’s wonderful to welcome back Borut Zagoranski to the Royal Academy of Music who is coming to give a masterclass with Academy students next Thursday 9 May.  It is a free event with no tickets required.  Borut is now accordion professor at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana and a former student of Owen Murray at the Academy! The masterclass is open to a public audience so will be of special interest to students and teachers who can observe a wonderful teacher at work with the students.


Stunning new Classical Accordion CD by Claudio Jacomucci – Orpheus’ Ballad – A counterpoint of ancient and contemporary music

Claudio Jacomucci - Orpheus' Ballade - A counterpoint of ancient and contemporary music - cover

Claudio Jacomucci hits the spot again contrasting ancient and modern for classical accordion

Jacomucci is nothing if not consistent in his production of excellently researched and interpreted music. He is not only a master performer but a wonderful teacher and author of books on contemporary accordion development and mastering accordion technique. In this new album he hits the spot again with this album of mostly transcriptions from works originally intended for other instruments or groups of instruments. His interpretation of the 8 contrasting pieces in the suite by Claudio Monteverdi makes one wonder why not more music from the Renaissance isn’t played on the accordion. There is so much energy, sensitivity and dynamic shaping in this interpretation that it is as if this music was written for the instrument. There are two original works for classical accordion too, Passing by Martin Lohse and one which closes the album by Jacomucci himself dedicated to his dear canine companion, Lupo (“Wolf”) who was by a strange twist of fate killed by a wolf. The Lohse contrasts sympathetically with the Monteverdi that precedes it and its delicacy sets us up beautifully for the three Scarlatti sonatas that follow it.  Jacomucci is a master of Scarlatti. He builds up slowly with the mournful K87, then up a notch to the K380 and ending with the scintillating K17 which show remarkable virtuosity both in technique, delicacy and in the detail of his ornamentation and dynamic shaping. His thrilling fast passages are like whizzing Catherine Wheels spinning off a rocket in the night sky.

Wonderful to see a work by British composer Elgar in the shape of Nimrod from the Enigma Variations, the piece which in the UK has associations with remembrance and reflection on the dead of two world wars for many. The English theme is continued in the English Nightingale by Van Eyck from the early Baroque period, an unusually descriptive piece for the period which demonstrates great mastery technique and dynamic control in the mimicking of birdsong. The same amazing control and detail is demonstrated in Scodanibbio’s 20th century piece originally for violin and cello which follows next. In an atonal piece such as this Jacomucci applies the same detailed approach as one would to a Bach fugue to really make the piece really work so that the many interweaving lines produce not only a texture but have complete integrity as if played by individual instruments; not certainly the most natural thing to produce on a instrument which in this case, at times, is behaving like three separate instruments but being powered by only one set of lungs – the bellows. Jacomucci propels us straight back to the late Renaissance for John Dowland’s lamenting Lacrimae Antiquae transcribed by Jacomucci, like most of the pieces on the album, from a score which, in this case was in 5 parts and recalls the sonority of the yet to be invented Harmonium coupled with the expressiveness of the viols of the period. Ligeti is up next and a transcription from works for organ here scored for two accordions, with is mass of sound surrounded by a host of trills and other devices recall the spinning atomic particles around a central solid body rather echoing, albeit in a different way the spinning Catherine Wheels of the earlier Scarlatti. Next up is some rather more obvious “counterpoint” if the form of Bach’s Contrapunctus XIV and here Jacomucci’s clear mastery of the form echoes his earlier masterpiece album of Johann Sebastian Bach. And so to the last piece in the album, the aforementioned Ballad for Lupo, a fitting end to an album which speaks of the emotional end of the life of a dear family pet and composed by Jacomucci himself. Needless to say this album will be one for the collector and student alike and is played with all the flair and good taste that will delight both. Jacomucci places works, from the Renaissance and Baroque period through to the Romantic and Contemporary eras, in counterpoint with each other and the concept works brilliantly.


Monteverdi: L’Orfeo, Instrumental Suite (1607*) Toccata, Ritornello I, Ritornello II, Sinfonia I, Sinfonia II, Ritornello III, Sinfonia III, Moresca.

Martin Lohse: Passing: Allegro con passione, sostenuto (2012)

Domenico Scarlatti: Sonatas B minor K87, E major K380, F major K17 (1738-1742*)

Edward Elgar: Enigma Variations OP.36 Nimrod (1898*)

Jacob Van Eyck: The English Nightingale (1649*)

Stefano Scondanibbio: Escondido (1990/2018*)

John Dowland: Seven Tears Lachrimae Antiquae (1604*)

Gyorgy Ligeti: Coulée from Two etudes for organ (1969*)

Johan Sebastien Bach: Die kunst der fuge BWV1080 Contrapunctus XIV (1749*)

Jacomucci Ballad for Lupo 2018


*transcriptions by Jacomucci

Claudio Jacomucci - Orpheus' Ballade - A counterpoint of ancient and contemporary music - inside cover

An Afternoon at the Musicals – PIzza Express Live – Holborn, Sunday 16th June with Romano Viazzani on accordion


Spend Father’s Day hearing great numbers from the Musicals with stars of the West End Stage and Opera and a 7-piece band!


Sunday 16th June Doors open at 12.00 for 13.30 show

After it’s sell-out Saffron Walden premiere on Mother’s Day now you can celebrate Father’s Day in style in the heart of London! Stars from West End musicals including Les Misérables and Phantom of the Opera come together for an array of songs and duets, bridging time and the worlds of jazz and musicals. Featuring your favourite tunes from classic musicals such as West Side StoryKiss Me KateCarouselSouth Pacific and many more. Come and enjoy a teatime treat for all the family!

Tickets £28:

Box Office: 020 7439 4962


Joanna Strand vocals
Jacqui Tate vocals
Luke McCall vocals
Stephan Ulberini vocals
John Bailey pianoy
Phoebe Snelling violin
Jason Reeve drums
Richard Sadler double bass
Romano Viazzani accordion
Frank Walden saxophone
James Brady trumpet
Luke McCall
Jacqui Tate Joanna StrandStephan Ulberini

ZZ Music sends Owen Murray its very best wishes for Jonathan Dove’s Accordion Concerto Premiere – Edinburgh, Glasgow & Aberdeen – Owen Murray – May 2nd-4th 2019

Owen Murray

Performance Details – May 2nd (Edinburgh), May 3rd (Glasgow) and May 4th (Aberdeen) 2019 – Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Jonathan Dove
Jonathan Dove

MOZART Symphony No 34 in C, K338 (21’)
DOVE Accordion Concerto World Premiere (20’)
LIGETI Concerto Românesc (15’)
HAYDN Symphony No 90 in C (24’)

It is not often this happens for sure.  An accordion concerto by one of the UK’s foremost contemporary composers. Jonathan Dove’s concertos are often more than they seem, for example, his flute concerto The Magic Flute Dances imagines the life of the magic flute after the end of Mozart’s eponymous opera. His new Accordion Concerto promises to be a fitting tribute to Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, drawing influences from his love of Orkney. Max had been commissioned to write the concerto for accordion virtuoso Owen Murray, but sadly he passed away just as he was about to start work on it.  Luckily Dove rose to the challenge, rescued the situation and has now completed the work. And what a work! ZZ Music can reveal that Owen Murray, professor of accordion at the Royal Academy of Music has tried the work and is delighted with it commenting that it is absolutely beautiful. Given that this is a rare occurrence in the UK ZZ Music sincerely hopes that the three Scottish concert halls will be full in support of a major new work for the accordion.  Good attendances will only encourage promoters to programme more accordion music in the future so can only be good for the instrument. The accordion, along with the ‘fiddle’ and bagpipes are synonymous with Scottish music and what a fitting tribute to the instrument that the concerto will be premiered in three major Scottish cities. This premiere is down to the dogged determination of Owen Murray to keep the accordion present on its recently-gained position on the classical concert platform and to leave a legacy of good works for the next generations of players. ZZ Music wishes Owen Murray, Jonathan Dove and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra a huge success with this work. If you arrive early enough there will also be an introduction by Jonathan Dove on the Concerto. And May the 4th be with them!

The programme will also include Mozart and Haydn who, are both in high spirits in their symphonies here – Haydn plays a joke that is sure to catch you out – while Ligeti is in rustic, folksy mood.

Clemens Schuldt: Conductor
Owen Murray: Accordion
Benjamin Marquise Gilmore: Violin

Composer Insights: 6.30pm Jonathan Dove introduces his new accordion concerto Northern Lights

Kindly supported by Mr Roland Williams, PRS Foundation and the Royal Academy of Music

Thu 2 May,19:30
The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh
From £17.50 Book tickets
Fri 3 May,19:30
City Halls, Glasgow
From £17.00 Book tickets
Sat 4 May,19:30
Aberdeen Music Hall , Aberdeen
£29.00 – £13.00 Book tickets

Jonathan Dove is one of the UK foremost composers

Jonathan Dove’s music has filled opera houses with delighted audiences of all ages on five continents. Few, if any, contemporary composers have so successfully or consistently explored the potential of opera to communicate, to create wonder and to enrich people’s lives.

Born in 1959 to architect parents, Dove’s early musical experience came from playing the piano, organ and viola. Later he studied composition with Robin Holloway at Cambridge and, after graduation, worked as a freelance accompanist, repetiteur, animateur and arranger. His early professional experience gave him a deep understanding of singers and the complex mechanics of the opera house. Opera and the voice have been the central priorities in Dove’s output throughout his subsequent career.

Starting with his breakthrough opera Flight, commissioned by Glyndebourne in 1998, Dove has gone on to write over twenty operatic works. Flight, a rare example of a successful modern comic opera, has been produced and broadcast many times, in Europe, the USA and Australia. More recently, The Adventures of Pinocchio, premiered by Opera North at Christmas 2007, achieves another rare feat in contemporary opera, being a successful full-length symphonically-conceived entertainment for a family audience. It too has been produced across the world.

Dove’s innate understanding of the individual voice is exemplified in his large and varied choral and song output. His carol The Three Kings was commissioned for the famous Nine Lessons and Carols service at King’s College, Cambridge. Dove’s confident optimism has made him the natural choice as the composer for big occasions. In 2010 A Song of Joys for chorus and orchestra opened the festivities at the Last Night of the Proms. Works such as his Missa Brevis, Wells Canticles and The Passing of the Year are in the repertories of choirs across the world.

A sure sense of dramatic narrative also informs Dove’s orchestral and instrumental music. Stargazer, a concerto for trombone and orchestra commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra and premiered by them with Ian Bousfield and Michael Tilson Thomas, has been described by Dove as an opera for the solo instrument. In The Magic Flute Dances, a flute concerto, Dove imagines the life of Mozart’s eponymous instrument once the opera has ended.

Throughout his career Dove has made a serious commitment to community development through innovative musical projects. Tobias and the Angel, a 75-minute opera written in 1999, brings together children, community choirs, and professional singers and musicians in a vivid and moving retelling of the Book of Tobit. His 2012 opera Life is a Dream, written for Birmingham Opera Company, was performed by professionals and community choruses in a disused Birmingham warehouse, and a church opera involving community singers The Walk from The Garden was premiered at Salisbury Cathedral as part of the 2012 Salisbury International Arts Festival.

2015 brought the World Premiere of The Monster in the Maze, a new community opera commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker and Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, performed under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle in three separate productions.