Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Globe trotting Accordion and Mandolin duo stop off in Waterford

Siderova and Avital taking less travelled instrumental paths

 I was chatting to Miks Zarins, this week, the maitre d' at the Theatre Royal Café who hails from Latvia (Do pop in and sample the amazing beetroot and goats cheese quiche. ) . He tells me that you cannot get a ticket for love nor money when Ksenija Sidorova plays in Riga. Ms Sidorova plays the piano accordion. She comes to Waterford  on Thursday with mandolin player Avi Avital as part of a Music Network tour.  Even   non musicians will be aware that the accordion has not always enjoyed much of the limelight in the classical music world or indeed the traditional music world. In a recent documentary on the piper, Tomás O Canainn, I was surprised to learn that the esteemed academic had played the piano accordion until persuaded to take up the 'more suitable' uilleann pipes by Sean O Riada.

Oen Murray

One of my favourite classical performers is accordionist Dermot Dunne who came to prominence as an RTE Musician of the Future in 1996 and who has since done much to advance the status of the accordion in Ireland. Dunne went all the way to Russia to study and I assumed that Ms Sidorova also came through a Russian system. I was surprised to learn that she came to the Royal Academy in London. where she studied with Owen Murray who set up the first accordion dept in a Bristish conservatoire in 1986 .

Dermot Dunne

Though still in her twenties, Sidorova has been been blazing a trail with her accordion around the world and collaborating with the biggest stars in the classical music firmament. I enjoyed this interview with Ms Sidorova where she has interesting observations on the buttons versus key question.


She comes to Ireland with another musician who has explored the possibilities of an unusual instrument. Avi Avital is a Grammy award winnning mandolin player who. is intent on pushing the instrument beyond it's genteel salon repertoire. Last month, for instance he was in the Wigmore Hall with counter tenor Andreas Scholl. You can read an interview with him from the Austin Chronicle here   Here is a snippet 

AC: Why do you love playing the mandolin?

'AA: I definitely find an advantage of playing a unique instrument because I always had a creative freedom with the projects I choose to do. Young pianists and violinists take the great violinists and pianists into consideration and probably choose the same repertoire for the same recital halls and competitions. For mandolin, we don't have too many masterpieces, so the excitement of my path is invented. Every project opens another door. I feel that everything is possible'.
Curiously Avital's first teacher in Israel was a Russian violinist. There was no job for a violin teacher  but there was a pile of unused mandolins and as the fingering and strings are the same, it was a manageable leap, Much of the programme is transcriptions of well known violin reperoire. I am looking forward to hear a new take on familiar pieces. 
Composer, Ian Wilson will attend the Waterford concert and introduce his piece. They will give a workshop in the afternoon at 4.00pm  for WIT students and observers are welcome.

There  won't be too many opportunities to hear either of these two unusual instruments solo let alone in tandem and by such highly rated players . This is the final recital in the 73rd season of Waterford-Music chamber series. Come early and take in the masterclass and two excellent  exhibitions nearby, Connections is  at Greyfriars Gallery and Kate Q-P Black and white images of urban New York are at Central Hall.

Bartók: Romanian Folk Dances
de Falla: 6 Canzoni Popolari Spagnole
Bach: Partita BWV 1004 in D minor / Ciaccona
Kreisler: Prelude and Allegro
Wilson: Spilliaert's Beach
Schnittke: Revis Fairytale
Piazzolla: Histoire du Tango
Budashkin: Concerto in A minor

Full details of Music Network Tour Ksenija Sidorova and Avi Avital 

More details on Waterford Music recital series celebrating 73 seasons!

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