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.