The Free-Reed Journal
Articles and Essays Featuring Classical Free-Reed Instruments and Performers

The Rizol-Quartet

by Igor Sayenko

The Quartet of Button Accordion Players of the National Philharmonic of Ukraine (Rizol-Quartet) has a glorious history as innovators who created on the academic stage new artistic impressions. Their development reflected the fate of an entire romantic generation, which extended the virtuous abilities of the national instrument, overcame the technical limitations of button accordion, and reached new performance peaks.

Founded in 1939, the Quartet of Button Accordion Players began their affiliation with the National Philharmonic of Ukraine in 1946. At that time, the group was headed by the founder of the Quartet, the People's Artist of Ukraine, professor Mykola Rizol. The first members of the Quartet were like a lovely family: during fifty years the Quartet consisted of the two sisters Raisa and Maria Biletskie and their husbands Mykola Rizol and Ivan Zhuromsky. Today the Rizol-Quartet consists of People's Artist of Ukraine Sergiy Grinchenko (in the first chair), and laureates of international competitions: Oleg Shiyan, Igor Sayenko and Roman Molochenko.

The Quartet's performances have left unforgettable impressions in many cities of Ukraine, Russia (1993, -94, -95, -96, -97, -99), Poland (1995, -96, -97, -99, 2000), Italy (1996, -97, -98, -99, 2000), Switzerland (1997, -99), and Germany (2000). In October 1999 the Rizol-Quartet won the First Prize of The National Competition "CITTA'DI CASTELFIDARDO" (Italy) and were awarded the Diploma of the International Competition "ASTOR PIAZZOLLA" (Italy).

The Quartet has unique musical instruments, which differ in the subtle colors of their timbre, which makes possible to authentically perform various repertoire, including the musical compositions written for the symphony orchestra. In the arsenal of Rizol-Quartet there are two accordions (type of "JUPITER"), and exclusive soprano-accordion, alto-accordion, baritone-accordion, and contrabass-accordion.

Reviews of Rizol-Quartet have been outstanding. The Polish Gazeta Poznanska (07.11.95) praised the "Sensational accordionists: Standing, with the loud applause audience well-know the Quartet of Button Accordion Players from Kiev. They masterly showed how only four Accordions can imitate the whole orchestra or organ, surprised the audience with the playing of W. Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusic, J. Strauss' Fledermaus, and many other pieces from classic and original literature."

The Swiss Sarganserlander newspaper (12.08.1997) exclaimed, "Pleasure from the virtuosi from Ukraine: Indeed, a storm of applause shook the church in Bad Ragaz where the audience was impressed with the harmony, virtuosity and competence of the Quartet of Button Accordion Players. All those, who still had doubts, now knew: they waited for just such pleasure from music. . . . The evening finished with (the father) Johann Strauss' Radetzky-Marsch, after which the walls shook from the applause from the grateful audience, and the talented musicians played BIS twice [two encores]."

For more information, please contact Igor Sayenko at

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