The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.: Readers' Letters: 1997 & 1998
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.
Readers' Letters: 1997 & 1998
Suggestions, Comments, Criticisms!

Please send your letters to

From: "*Casey*" --
Subject: Re: Tremelo vs. Vibrato
Date: Tue, 8 Dec 1998 22:15:42 -0500


Terms: Harmonium- pressure keyboard free reed instrument with two foot pumped bellows, reservoir, and *Expression* stop. One to seven rows of reeds, typical. American Organ- vacuum-winded keyboard free reed instrument with two foot pumped exhaust bellows and reservoir. One to five rows of reeds, typical. Most harmonium reeds were flat. Variety was produced *mainly* by the scale/width of the reeds, and most importantly by the size of the chamber they spoke into.

American Organ reeds, OTOH, were generally twisted and arched, and /or had a tip sharply bent down, and since they were in individual cells, were able to speak quickly in spite of the tortuous twisting. Reed cell size and shape accounts for much of the variety of sounds with them as well.

Many harmonium reed were mounted in plates holding a dozen tongues, but were also made individually. In any case they are always screwed down to the soundboard. Sometimes a thin leather gasket was used between, this seems to make the tone less strident/smoother.

American organ reeds are always mounted individually, in tight-fitting slots within cells ranging from 3/16" tall, to over 1" tall, depending on the desired sound.

Generally, the bending (voicing) of American reeds to reduce the "undesirable" harmonics results in reeds which are slow to speak unless they are tightly enclosed. The intent was to make the American organs sound as organ-like and "devotional" as possible. Whereas Harmonium makers were trying to develop free-reed tone for its own sake. The way it ended up was American organs sold by the million, but Guilmant, Saint-Saens, Gounod, Karg-Elert, Bizet, and other composers appreciated the possibilities of the Harmonium, and wrote music for it.


Date: Wed, 30 Dec 1998 23:57:57 -0600
Subject: Classical Album

To whom it may concern,

Greetings from Fort Worth, TX! I came across your page during some web surfing. Earlier this year Vienna Modern Masters released an album that features a brass quartet of my own composition along with works of seven other composers. Two of these other works are accordion solos, one composed by Ernst Krenek, the other by Vladimir Solotaryov. Would your readers be interested in this disc?

Yours truly,

Aaron J. Rabushka (ASCAP)


Dear Sir,

Yes, of course, our readers would be delighted to read a review of this CD! We will be grateful if you could send a copy to The Classical Free-Reed, Inc at the address shown on our Free-Reed Review Submissions Guidelines.


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Date: Wed, 30 Dec 1998 16:30:32 -0500
From: Toni Meekins --

Please keep updating your website. It is reputed to have a longer life span than other independent web sites which average about three months. I trust the information I find there more than in any other site.

Date: Sun, 20 Dec 1998 16:14:38 +1100
From: Rob Webb --
Subject: Thanks

I've been reading about Larry Adler, having just been given "The glory of Gershwin" CD. Is Mr. Adler still alive?

I would appreciate knowing that if you have time to answer this. Many thanks in advance

Rob Webb


Dear Rob,

I saw Mr. Adler in October 1997 when he performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Pops; I assume he is still alive and well! His address is listed in The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. International Directory of Classical Free-Reed Performers.


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 11:55:14 -0500 (EST)
From: Peter Soave --

Dear Henry,

Let me start by congratulating you on your Gershwin CD. The sound quality is superb...the concept/packaging is great... arrangements seem very "natural" and last but not least you should be very proud of your performance.

I host a weekly radio program for the metro Detroit area which airs every Sunday from 3:30-4:30.(The Accordion Hour on AM 1090) I featured your CD yesterday....and made sure to include label info for orders. Now I'll also introduce your X-Mas CD!

Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 18:11:58 -0800
From: Lauren Hewitt --
Subject: Buying a Khene on-line.


I am a Bay area composer who is writing a dance piece which includes a khene player (perhaps myself and self-taught). I have not had much luck finding any instruments in the Bay area. Do you know of any places I might shop for khenes, either locally or on-line? Any information would be much appreciated.

Kathrynn Lyle


Dear Kathrynn,

First I would contact James Cottingham at Then I would do a search for the music retailers "Lark In The Morning" and "House of Musical Tradition." (I don't have their website addresses handy.)

I'll also post a message for you on the free-reed usenet newsgroup ( You might also inquire from the webmaster at accordions worldwide (

Good luck!

Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Date: Sat, 21 Nov 1998 09:28:06 -0600 (CST)
From: John Quigley --
Subject: bayan?

I have a large heavy accordion with 120 bass buttons and 5 rows of buttons on the right (88 total) plus two shifts on the bass and 7 shifts on the right. the name on it in multi-colored rhinestones is R. RUELLE and in another place JANAPPE or something. what i need (obviously} is an instruction book, video, something (it is chromatic) any help would be great. Thank you.

John Quigley


Hi John,

I don't know where you live, but my first choice would be to call or write to one of the classical bayanists listed in the "International Directory of Classical Free-Reed Performers" at The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. website at They would all would be glad to offer you assistance.

Best wishes!


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 21:56:22 EST

Hi Henry, Pardon me if this blows my mind but is your fiancee, Mary Kay, the same woman I met at ATG 2 years ago? I'm trying to tell from her photo - cutey patooty- but it's a little fuzzy.

Henry, good looking website. I'm just moseying around it now and it's cool. Please list my name as a classical specialist. Please, por favor, pazhalsta, molto prego, s'il vous-plait - grazie. I'm still lurking around the newsgroup but don't post so much anymore.

Interesting to see that there is a chromatic player near here in Bloomington, IN. One of my professors is traveling so much that we may miss the deadline for me to graduate in December. UGH!!!! I'll probably get the final oral defense out of the way in the next 2-3 weeks though, but it's past the deadline to get my diploma. Do you know that it cost me $600 in tuition just to sit here in my home office writing my theses? UGH!! I'll for sure let you know when I get that degree at any rate. Are you still thinking about a Musicology degree? I'll probably apply for the University of Illinois here in town. It's a good school for a Ph.D. but there's no guarantee I'll get in - I hear it's tough. I have a friend from Colorado who tried to get in and didn't.

In the meantime, I've started playing with the University's Russian Folk Orchestra - and met the musicology professor who specializes in Eastern Europe, nudge, nudge. I also had my first gig in the area for the Peoria Area Accordion Club. I played a chorale by Zolotariev, Scarlatti Sonata, a Russian song arrangement, Cholminov's Nocturne (love that one), a P.H. Rhumba, and some musette things. For an encore, Sakjarven polka - the traditionalists loved it of course after so many "long-haired" things. A guy from Minnesota says that I have "that Minnesota bass style" - something I didn't ever notice although I know my polka basses are just like Dee Langley's.

Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 22:25:42 EST

Henry and Mary Kay. Wow that really is you Mary Kay. I read it in Henry's News section. What a small crazy accordion world! Henry, she is une femme tres chic - I liked her a lot.

Henry, do you have any discography information on recordings of Zolotariev's Sonata No. 3? Right now I know of two recordings on cd: Lips and Jean-Marc Marroni. I hear that Mika Vayrynen also has recorded it but don't know where to get it. Ciao.


Hi Julia,

Thanks for your kind words about my engagement, as well as The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. website! Marco Petricic is an organ student at the University of Indiana at Bloomfield, but I hear he also plays a mean bayan. Mika Varynen's CDs can be purchased from the Finnish Accordion Institute at Good luck with your classical bayan career!

Henry Doktorski

Dear Gregory and Bandoneon friends,

Yes, I enjoyed tremendously your criticisms of the CDs of Maestro Marino Rivero and Gabriela Diaz. I have never read such competent reviews of Bandoneon music in German.

However I had problems with the URL you gave. So I searched your home page via Altavista and got the following: (then click the section: The Free-Reed Review).

By the way, Marino Rivero and Gabriela Diaz will perform again in Goettingen, Germany, February 26th 1999 in the course of the 1st Goettingen Literary Tango Cafe.

Eckart Haerter

Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 22:57:13 +0100
From: Zubytskyy Volodymyr --
Dear Mr. Henry Doktorski!

Hello! I'm composer and button accordionist Vladimir Zubitsky from Ukraine, now living in Italy. I'd like collaborate with you.

It is so important for me to stay in contact with you and your Classical Free-Reed, Inc! The last few days I read many articles by you and received great satisfaction. I wish you great success in your work.

My site is:

Sincerely yours,
Vladimir Zubitsky


Dear Sir,

What a pleasure to hear from you! You are famous in the accordion world; I have the score to your Suite #2 from the Anthology of Russian Button Accordion and I have also mentioned your name in my soon-to-be-published book "The Classical Squeezebox."

Allow me to be of some service to you!

I have already listed your name, address, website and email address at The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. "Directory of Classical Performers." You may check it out and make corrections, if necessary.

Once again, thank you for writing. It is truly a pleasure to make your acquaintance.


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 07:20:31 +0700
From: John Moore --
Subject: Sound file

Excellent pages- I'm a fan of free reed myself, especially mouth harps and khenes. Your sound file link for the lao khene doesn't work- any chance of sending me the file ?

Many thanks


Dear John,

Thank you for your kind words about our humble website and thank you also for informing us that the wav files didn't work! We recently overhauled our site and rearranged the directories. After reading your letter, I went back and looked at that file "Description of the Eastern Free-Reed Instruments" and discovered that we had forgotten to update the links to those wav files. Please try it again!


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Date: Fri, 23 Oct 1998 10:01:50 -0300 (CLST)
From: Victor Munoz --
Subject: Beatles Article

I read your article and liked it very much. Very complete way to treat a very specific point. I like those things. I only noticed one little mistake: "We Can Work It Out" is not on "Rubber Soul", but it was a single. Besides, I would be glad if you could fix de footnote refering me (footnote 15). My name appeared as Muqoz, and it is Mu~noz (tilde over `n'). You can make it with ñ for the html document. That's all. The rest is perfect for me.

Victor Muñoz
Facultad de Ciencias
Universidad de Chile

Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 05:21:25 PDT
From: Rocco Jerry --

I visited the Classical Free Reed last week, and was amazed at how much it is expanding. It even contains reviews of scores. The articles are interesting. There's nothing on the web that compares to it.

Date: Tue, 06 Oct 1998 20:13:21 -0500
From: Geno Alessandroni --





Date: Sat, 20 Jun 1998 16:26:16 -0400
Subject: download time

Dear Henry,

Please let me bother you with a nonmusical suggestion.

A recent download of your online books (The Classical Accordion, part 1+2) took approx. 5 mins and I wondered why. The reason is simple: Your GIF graphics (pics and sheet music samples) are in 8 bit format (256 colors). If you convert them to 4 bit (16 colors) there is nearly no loss of quality but significantly reduced download time to save money and nerves of your visitors.

The sample of Tchaikovsky's Orchestral Suite No. 2 (108 KB) can be reduced to 69 KB this way. If you make it greyscale before it is only 53 KB. If you do this with all of the b/w graphics in this section I could imagine half of the current download time.

The most valuable accordion site in the web should also be the fastest one :-)!

If you want assistance how to do it please drop me a line. I needed to learn as my site became b/w graphics overloaded.


Martin Weyde
Hamburg, Germany

Date: Mon, 05 Oct 1998 16:16:33 -0400
From: Joe Natoli --
Subject: Pictures


Just some advice. I have noticed that any reviews and bios with pictures on your site take forever to load. That's because they are so large. I noticed that the Thomas Fabinski picture is a whopping 794,000 bytes! That is much too large for an internet picture. They should never be any more than 20,000-50,000 bytes. These pictures can be compressed before putting them up on your site. If you notice, the pictures on the reviews at my site load very quickly. That's because I compress them before putting them out there. Your readers will become quite dismayed eventually when they have to wait 10-15 minutes (as I am doing now for the Fabinski picture) just to get the page loaded completely.

There are a bunch of programs out there that can do this compression for you. I have Corel Draw5 (which is quite pricey), but there are a host of others. I would highly recommend trying one of them out.

Take care,
Joe Natoli
Niles, Ohio


You are both absolutely right! I'm afraid that neither I nor Greg have had time to work on this problem. However, I promise that this will be our next project.



Date: Thu, 01 Oct 1998 17:19:56 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Stephen Shanfield, M.D." --
Subject: Advanced accordion techniques

I have appreciated your comments on the squeezebox discussion group.

I am interested in knowing if you have materials for learning advanced techniques on the accordion. I am interested in learning jazz. I have been using Ralph Stricker's book and am marching along with a bit slower than I like but am now learning to play the left hand. Do you have other materials for the accordion? I have not found much music literature that utilizes the left and right hand for the accordion.


Stephen B. Shanfield, M.D.
Department of Psychiatry
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
7703 Floyd Curl Drive
San Antonio, TX 78284-7792
voice: (210) 567-5450 fax: (210) 567-6941


Dear Stephen,

To be frank, I am not all that familiar with the jazz literature.

For classical (contemporary original) works, I can recommend:

There are many others as well. You might check Accordion Links for a list of other publishers.

(Readers ... can you recommend literature for our friend?) Good luck, Stephen!


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Dear Stephen,

Mel Bay publications is on-line at There you can order Jazz Accordion Solos (Book with CD), #96309BCD for $17.95. Ernest Deffner, 230 Herricks Rd., P.O.Box 608, Mineola, NY 11501 may be another source. In my own personal collection I have 2 books of Art Van Damme, 2 of Leon Sash and some Frank Marocco solos though I be another source. In my own personal collection I have 2 books of Art Van Damme, 2 of Leon Sash and some Frank Marocco solos though I suspect these are out of print.

Thomas Fabinski

Date: Sun, 4 Oct 1998 18:01:20 -0700 (PDT)
From: Gary Dahl --
Subject: Comments on the free-reed page

Hello Henry:

My name is Gary Dahl and I would like to introduce myself to you. I will send some hard copy info. to the Allison Park address...I hope it will be a direct line to you. Toby Hanson, one my students, said he has carried on quite a dialog with you. I played your composition in a past NW newsletter...very nice for the masses. The average player is anxious for new arrangements and some new compositions but sorry to say the quality and availability is limited. Mel Bay receives weekly, music from wannabes and after 1 minute discards it.

About the web site: (by the way, I'm new with web tv...Peter Soave and me are web tv guys)

What a pleasant surprise!!! I think it is the best I've seen and read; along with the accordions.www page where my site is. (have you seen it?) (you will have to scroll a bit and click a lot to catch it all) I must say it took a few hours to read all of your site....but worth it!

I will make some comments and if it all seems out of sequence please forgive.

You will read a very brief background about me...I've been in aviation and a top 40 type group/bandleader since 1960...mainly because it paid so well and family to support, etc. so have paid my dues in many least the accordion/elkavox was in front of the public in a hip form...according to the mass so-called musical illiterates. I think your bio is very interesting and relates to my background a little. My father is Norwegian and my mother 100% polish. (I have a Jewish mother...great training for assertiveness...) My daughter is a senior at the San Francisco Conservatory and a piano performance major. She studies with Paul Hersh. Paul is a world-class pianist of course but also a top violist. My daughter is also a violist and was a member of the San Francisco youth orchestra. She loved having in-depth conversations with M.T.T. I must say I'm very proud of her...she sight reads like a streak so has quite a few accompanying gigs...primarily for classical singers but does many lounge piano gigs too. I started her at 4 on piano and accordion so she does play the accordion... She thanks me now for always for forcing chord memorization on her starting at 6 years old...real handy to have lead sheet, jazz and jazz theory skills.

....not in order...

I agree with you about Soave...we have become friends exchanging CDs and I've sent a few virtuoso arrangements and compositions for future CDs. These arrangements are a far cry from the Mel Bay books. The Mel Bay books have a mission though...a lot of enjoyment for the masses and with a CD so they can hear the arrangements (on some) and even a challenge in some respects for the pro.

Have you played through the arrangements in the Mel Bay books and listened to the CDs? Would it be possible to have a review section for published music accompanied by a recording? (by the way, you have my permission to review my books and CDs for any publication and perform any arrangement )

I believe all recordings have a positive mission for the accordion world but music included is just wonderful...I receive so many thank you letters and now e-mail from very happy and satisfied accordionists...recreational and pros alike. Many folks are hungry for arrangements that have some skill and creativity behind it, written for the orchestral capabilities of the accordion, have strong audience appeal, ie., don't put them to sleep, etc.,etc.

Dan Newton: Bill Bay contracted me to transcribe Cafe Accordion...didn't want to do it for the same reasons in your review but he had to do it for a professional favor. I wrote the transcription arrangements and had to make approx. 75% compositional common sense adjustments which Dan foolishly refused so I went ahead and rewrote (under protest) 99% as He played the... ugh, ugh, ugh! So, when you see my name on the book if it passes by you the whole story is now known.

I agree; the Davine CD is my favorite...I love the accordion with cello. I played in a chamber group while at the University of Washington Music School. (more to say on this later) While I dearly love piano trios. quartets. etc. I think the accordion needs more notoriety in the chamber music arena.

My back has never bothered me...I guess weight lifting and continual exercise helps...good to be strong to slap a few folks around...occasionally (joke)

My opinion only: I dislike the word squeeze box immensely! The reason why is the accordion is still in the process of gaining respect, primarily in the classical arena. The rock pop arena is gaining ground and of course the cajun,zydeco.tejano,polka are doing fine. The violin has a long history of respectability and it doesn't make any difference to call it a "fiddle". I don't think the accordion has that luxury yet. It also adds to more jokes in bad taste and helps to continue the cornball image.

I love the picture of Bach with the accordion!!! Bach would have loved the modern accordions capabilities. This is very creative of you!!! ...guess I'll have to buy the CD now...along with more of your recordings! (can I critique them?)

I have submitted a few things to JANPress Publications ...Joe is a hip guy to talk to...dynamite player too

Tanglewood; my daughter spent a summer there...1994. She just loved it ...especially the Petruschka! (hope sp is ok) working with Yo Yo Ma and a major pianist I can't recall. She is a great fan of chamber music and has quite a resume of major works to her credit.

Oh...I have an arr., sent to Joe..."Watch your Bach" ( light jazz flash) originally written for a student in competition. If you would like a copy I will be happy to send...always looking for major artists performing my arrangements and compositions. (not many in the original area because of questionable marketing value)

Well...I guess this is about enough for the first time...I have other ideas I would like your opinion on at a later time.

Arrivederci for now....

Sincerely, Gary

Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 08:21:49 +0800
From: henk debroekert --
Subject: Accordion music

Dear Sir,

I have read your interesting website and will soon be sending an order form for these cd's:

Do you also sell sheetmusic for piano accordion? If so,could you send me a catalogue of easy or moderately difficult classical music.

Are any of the above for sale in Australia?

Thanking you.

Henk de Broekert
Perth Western Australia


Dear Sir,

Thank you for your letter.

Please note that of the CDs you mentioned, we have only "A Classical Christmas" in stock. To order "Schneefall bei nacht" you have to write to Herbert Scheibenrief at

Regarding sheet music, I suggest you look at the "publishers" section at Accordions Worldwide at They host sites of several accordion publishers who can probably satisfy your request. Please also check out JANPress Publications at Although they are a relatively new company, they publish my own original music for accordion as well as music by other composers.


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Date: Fri, 04 Sep 1998 09:54:05 -0500
From: daum --
Subject: Classic Primers for Accordion

We live in Ashland, Wisconsin, on the Chequamegon Bay of Lake Superior. Maybe it's our location, but there seems to be a vacum surrounding beginners method books for Accordion. We only find Palmer Method and things like that.

First of all aren't there classical type beginners books for Accordion? I taught classical guitar in a conservatory years ago and I teach lute. We never had to put our students through the polkas and folk stuff if they weren't interested. One of my daughters plays violin and she was able to start with classical music right away. Does classical accordion mean that you must start with Free Bass, I hope not.

I have a daughter, my wife and now myself starting to play chromatic 5 row, c system, button accordion. We have three good instruments of this kind. Are there any beginning books for this type of instrument printed in English? I went to a convention in Naperville, Illinois this summer and found no books relating to this instrument which is supposed to be so popular in Europe.

My daughter has determined to go to France to study next year as there seems to be so few options here in the States of really qualified individuals offering lessons on button chromatics. So any help about this subject will be greatly appreciated by us.

Thank you very much,
Will Daum


Dear Will,

I know there are excellent beginner books for free-bass chromatic accordion as Mogens Ellegaard (Denmark) commissioned many Scandinavian composers to write pedagogical literature for the instrument.

Unfortunately, if you are limited to the stradella left-hand system, your options are much more limited, as folk music is the raison d'etre for the traditional accordion.

However, the Hohner Company has a large catalog of serious music for stradella accordion, as they began the classical accordion movement in the 1920s before the free-bass accordion became common in the 1950s. I would be surprised if they did not publish several fine method books for beginners.

As far a qualified teachers for chromatic accordion, I highly recommend Dr. Helmi Harrington in Duluth (, Stanislav Venglevski in Milwaukee (phone: 414-543-7714), Peter Soave in Detroit (, and Joseph Petric in Thunder Bay ( They can probably recommend several fine method books.

Hope this is of some help.


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Date: Sun, 23 Aug 1998 08:16:34 PDT
From: howie leifer --
Subject: flutinas

I recently found a flutina at a second hand shop and I want to get it into playing condition. do you know of any guides to repairing or fingering charts? the bellows are quite leaky and I don't know how to open the instrument up inorder to fix the leaks and also to check and clean the reeds.

I would also like to know how the flutina fits into the musical history of free-reed instruments and what kind of music was played and by whom. any information that you can pass on to me would be greatly appreciated.

howie leifer

PS I am really enjoying the 2 articals on the khaen and would love to see any similar essays on the sheng which I am trying to learn to play

REPLY: Dear Howie,

I don't know anything about the flutina, but I found a few references by searching the web on alta vista:
List I: Free Reed Instruments and Musical Glasses
Keyboard Free Reeds

(1106) Accordion or Flutina. Possibly Busson, Paris, c 1860.
(1107) Accordion or Flutina. Possibly Busson, Paris, c 1860.
(1050) Accordion or Flutina. Probably France, c 1860.

Accordion History in Australia

A brief history of the accordion in Australia

"In the mid 1850's, a German immigrant, Conrad "Con" Klippel, brought an accordion with him to Australia. This was a 'flutina' model, similar to the accordions of the 1830's Romantic European era."

Hope this is helpful.

Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Date: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 09:46:55 EDT
Subject: cri comp/perf review

Dear Henry,

Thank you for the kind words inre the CRI Composer/Performer recording.

Actually, "Samba D Hiccup" has an interesting history: while touring Europe with John Zorn's "Cobra" big band in 1985, Arto Lindsay, who grew up in Brazil, played me some tapes of the Brazilian forro composer/accordionist/singer Dominguinhos, which knocked my socks off. This predated David Byrne's release of forro music (accordion-driven pop music from the northeast corner of Brazil) and before most people had ever heard of that term.

As soon as I returned home from the tour, I dove into composing what eventually became "Samba D Hiccup," inspired by those wonderful tapes. The title is a deliberate misnomer, since I'm a bad boy at heart: forro is the "non-samba" music of Brazil, but I just couldn't resist the pun of the title, suggested by all the "hocketting" (hiccups) in the center of the piece.


Guy K.

Date: Sat, 4 Jul 1998 14:13:31 -0400 (EDT)
From: Jim Watson --
Subject: Re: 1st US college to offer acc: NOT Houston!

Regarding your news bulletin about Louis Ronchetto his accordion teaching at Oklahoma City University:

While stationed in the Army in 1962 I had the good fortune to study with Louis Ronchetto at his home in Oklahoma City for a little over a year. Mr. Ronchetto was extremely strong in music theory. I remember and value his teachings until this day! I never pick up the accordion without using something that he taught me. I have many fond memories of him. I have a couple of his publications that he autographed for me.

Louis was an early (probably charter) member of the Accordion Teachers Guild, and had written the original exam for their Teacher Certification. I don't know if they still use this test - It was highly technical for its time and place (in my opinion).

Jim Watson

Subject: accordion pain in the back?

Regarding accordionists and back pain: in my experience, lower back pain is caused more by the lifting and carrying of the accordion in its case than by the actual act of playing the instrument.

I had chronic lower back pain for years, but I took two steps which have had a tremendously positive impact on my health: 1) I traded my sedan in for a station wagon so that I would have a flat load-in, rather than having to constantly lift the instrument up and out of a trunk compartment; 2) I purchased a soft pack (with shoulder straps) to carry the accordion in for all engagements involving stairs--thus cutting the weight from 50 pounds, for instrument+case+wheels, down to 30 pounds for accordion+soft pack.

For plane travel, I purchased a hard-shell-oversize Samsonite suitcase which I have lined with bubble wrap top-and-bottom and styrofoam on the sides; I put the accordion in it's soft case, and put that inside the Samsonite. That way, when I get to the other end, I can leave my suitcase in the hotel and travel back and forth to the venue with just the soft pack.

One factor that may be different for me is that, being a concert performer who plays a 30 pound instrument, I sit when I perform. Thus my advice does not take into account those players who have to stand when they play.

I hope this helps.

Guy Klucevsek

Date: Fri, 19 Jun 1998 12:59:19 -0500
From: "Frank J. Genuardi, M.D." --
Subject: recordings

I came across your site, and really enjoyed it, especially the CD reviews. I wonder if perhaps you can help me or direct me towards an apporpriate source. I am looking for a reasonable recording (preferably on CD) of Deiro's overtures for accordion, especially Militaire and Trieste. Any assistance you could provide would be appreciated. Thanks.

Frank Genuardi


Dear Frank,

Thanks for your kind words about our humble efforts to propagate the glories of the classical free-reed instruments. I do not know of any CD recordings of the Deiro overtures, although Carmen Carrozza released a cassette titled "Salute to Pietro" (of previously recorded works on LPs in the 1950s) by Deiro such as Concerto in E, and the Trieste, Militaire and Imperia overtures. He can be reached at 2014 Crompound Road, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598.

I suspect that there may be CDs by Swedish accordionists as Deiro and Frosini have fan clubs there. Can our readers suggest other recordings?


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Date: Thu, 11 Jun 1998 15:31:26 +0400
From: olga --

Dear Henry!

Just today I looked trough your book (its Internet version) and I must tell you - it is great! It is really useful and very interesting to us! You use a lot of information and show the main streams in the development of classical accordion. On my opinion it is the real nessesity in the promotion of our great instrument and your book will do a good part of such work!

I understand that it is impossible to include everything in one book and I hope it will be the same book about modern Russian composers one day. I want to tell you there are many really good, high class professional composers in Russia who writes for accordion. Did you hear about our Rostov composer Anatoli Kusiakov? He is exellent!

I know you are a really good accordionist - if you will decide it is not too difficult tou will you please to send us your tapes? We have no any example of modern professional accordion playing in America and I think we and our students will get a lot of pleasure to know your art!

Take care!

Rostov State Conservatory; Russia

Date: Fri, 29 May 1998 00:48:10 -0400
From: Leonardo Bercoff --

Congratulations for the site! It is extremely valuable. Since I found it, an incredible world is opening up in front of me. I play chromatic harmonica since childhood and I was so ignorant about harmonica movement around the world. You have put me on an astonishing trembling state.

Despite some little tricks I needed for browsing the site off-line, due to folder names and references inside the .HTML files, it is extraordinary well organized and full of technical and "calid" (I mean warm) information.

Please, find attached to this message a letter to Mr. Doktorski. I didn't want this being too long, but I really hope him read it.

Thanks for being in the web.

Leonardo Bercoff

Mr. Doktorski:

About two weeks ago I found the Free-Reeds Web site and I'm still impressed. I entered it twice, recorded most of the pages in my hard drive and read them carefully. I enjoy them in several ways I'll try to explain to you.

I play chromatic harmonica since I was eight (27 years ago). Walter Gomez was my teacher in Rosario, Argentina where I born and lived till I was 25. Although he is not strictly an academic teacher in music he had the skill and talent to made me love this tiny instrument as he does (well, a 64-reeds, 4-octave harmonica is not so small in a child's mouth!). He's also a collector, so I had the opportunity to hear lots of music from his old 78 rpm discs. I learned a lot hearing people like Borrah Minevitch and his Harmonica Rascals, The Hotcha Trio, Larry Adler, and many others.

It was precisely looking for something about Larry Adler that I found your interview to him, last year. Well, this was simply great. I was (and still am) tremendously moved, emotioned by this interview cause I had no news about Mr. Adler since I was a teenager. He is alive and still playing! Maybe for you, a professional musician, living in the USA it sounds somewhat silly what I'm telling. But here in Argentina, very very few people play harmonica, not speaking about playing classicals with it. Just blues or folkloric music like tangos, zambas, chacareras, and other native musical forms. Maybe you heard about Hugo Diaz, Jako Zeller, Lay Mora or "Don Pelele". But this people are not sounding this days (some of them died) and unfortunately they don't seem to have left disciples. So, during all this years I had scarce information about the harmonica around the world. Even to subscribe to Harmonica Happenings magazine was very difficult because of money movement, customs, country policies, etc. We were not integrated to the world (except you owned lots of money...).

But now it is different. Communications has grown impressively and Intenet have come to join us all together in this (literarily) web. Let me say, I am Electronics Engineer and I make my life between electronic circuits and computers, for the Oil Industry. Anyway I never abandoned music. I begun serious studies in guitar when I was 15 in the University School of Music, in Rosario. I made several friends amongst rock and pop musicians in the city I'm living now, Comodoro Rivadavia (Patagonia Argentina, south-east of the country), and sometimes play with them in live shows. I still prepare some MIDI music in the few free time. But harmonica was always the instrument I love.

Its about one year I'm linked to Internet but it was not up to now I found your site (in fact it simply didn't come up to me the idea to look for "harmonica" in it!). When I found the interview to Larry Adler and read he was about to give a new concert on Oct 25th I seriously thought in traveling to New York to hear him. And plans begun. How much disillusioned I was when I realized it was on 1997! Anyway, through Internet I could get Adler's biography, and could buy four CDs edited with lots of his old recordings of the thirties and forties. I received them yesterday. Some of them I had heard from my teacher, others I still have recorded in cassettes (but of course not so pure sound) and many others I didn't know. I'm "crazy" about this. Not my mind but my heart seems to brake into pieces! Having found all this music world I think I feel like you discovering all that classic world for accordions. I understand I was many years "disconnected" from the harmonica world... and now all this information and music together! I found lots of people interested, playing and promoting this instrument, like you Mr. Vozar and your other fellows.

I am really happy to have found your web site and I would want to collaborate in some way. I could send some money through my credit card or a US check. In the next days I'll prepare comments on the CDs I recently got and send to you for the site. Besides I have an old "melodica" (I don't know the name in English), from Hohner for the museum. It is a free-reed instrument, with two octaves distributed in a piano-like manner but keys are buttons not piano keys. Player must blow into it to make it sound, as if it was a recorder (flute). It's out of tune but it still works. I also remember I have a LP with classicals recorded by a full accordions orchestra. I will look for it (should be somewhere in my house) and tell you later. It is probably more than 25 years old. Let me know how I could make this stuff reach you.

Finally, I should ask you for something. I firmly want to contact Mr. Larry Adler I would want to know about his next shows. I always dreamed to see and hear him on stage. I hope I could. I will go wherever. Besides I would want to know if he teaches, or if I could take a couple of classes with him. Or at least, just to say to him about my deep admiration on his work, and his unique sound and musicality which have been an inspiration to my musical studies, although amateur. Maybe you could pass by this letter to him or his manager. I hope I am not abusing of your kindness. Forgive me if so, please.

Congratulations for your Web Site, your work, and thank you for using technology to help living in this planet better each day.

Sincerely thank you very much.

Leonardo Bercoff
Fax @ work: 54 97 48-2250
Phn @ home: 54 97 45-1224


Dear Leonardo Bercoff,

Thank you for your wonderful letters of encouragement! Just one letter from such an appreciative person as you makes all the hundreds of hours of time spent on our humble endeavor worth it! We are grateful that we have served to spread the glories of the classical free-reed instruments. Please let us know how we can be of further assistance to you.


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Date: Wed, 13 May 1998 15:38:29 +0000
From: Leatherwood & Tomczyk --
Subject: Accordion history in classical music

A non-accordion friend sent me a copy of the 3/98 Polish American Journal article about you. That's how I learned of your free-reed website - what a mother load of info!

Before this, I didn't even know that "free-reed" is a generic term covering all forms of our beloved bellows. I also have a strong and active interest in my Polish roots and appreciate your weaving that into your book.

How extensive is your library of accordion recordings. What's the size and location of the largest you know of?

Do you know of any recording of ABBA pieces featuring accordion?

FYI, We added some Real Audio to a local website here in these mountains:

I have some extra copies of a video of AAA97 (Amer Accordionists' Ass'n 1997 Gala in DC). Would you like one in appreciation of what-all you've done and do for the accordion? That was my first attendance which I liked so much I wrote an article which appeared in the Asheville Citizen-Times here in NC.

'Keep squeezin, etc.

Joe Tomczyk
Black Mountain, NC (from Detroit)

Date: Tue, 12 May 1998 13:55:35 +0400
From: "[koi8-r] IGORX" --
Subject: accordion

Dear Henry!

I am really glad to receive your letter with anwers to my questions - I feel you are a good professional in your work. Thank you for the links you have gaven to me - I have found some chapters from your book - it is really interesting! I see you have used a lot of information from Alfred Mirek books - I know them well enough and they can be usefull, but it seems to me it is not the most comprehensive sourse and some facts seem to me not objective in some details - but excuse me - I d idn't look attentively throght your book (I had no much time - and I would like to read your book with pleasure) but it seems to me you have used good facts, I think my words are dedicated to other Mirek's books and articles.

As for your question about information on our conservatories - I remember it, but it will take some time - for example our Rostov conservatory is only going to get e-mail adress so I want to give you more full information. Now I am sending you last information we had prepared last winter (which we hadn't sent anywhere till now) / RUSSIA: The Accordion Department of Rostov State Conservatory is headed by the leading Russian professors, three Honored Artists of Russia and three winners of international contests among them. About 100 students attend the classes currently. Over 40 graduates have become the winners of prestigious international and national contests.


Rostov State Conservatory named after S.V.Rakhmaninov is a leading musical school in Southern Russia, while the Accordion Department is one of the most renowned in Russia.

It is the only higher education establishment in Russia which offers complete course in chromatic button and piano accordions. The complete educational cycle comprises three stages: lyceum (a school providing complete secondary and special education), conservatory (higher education establishment), and a post-graduate course.

The course of study at the lyceum is 11 years. The Conservatory course (full-time, night, and by correspondence) takes 5 years; post-graduate course (full-time and by correspondence) lasts 2 years.

The teaching staff includes the leading specialists in their respective fields, professors and Honored Artists of Russia. During the 30 years of its existence over 40 former students have become the winners of prestigious international (Klingental, Castelfidardo, Grand-Prix in France) and national contests.

Accordion Department of the Rostov State Conservatory is actively involved in:organization of numerous regional contests for accordionists in different age groups (soloists, ensembles, orchestras);organization of methodical and scientific-practical conferences on various aspects: research in the main fields of theory of performance;organization of concerts

Detailed information on terms of admittance to the Rostov State Conservatory for Russian and foreign students can be received by tel/fax (8632) 62-35-84 or from professor L.V.Varvarina at Accordion Department at the address: 23 Budennovsky prospect, 344007, Rostov-on-Don, Russia.

I will send you our e-mail and information on another conservatories later.

Sincerely yours,


Date: Fri, 1 May 1998 20:02:34 -0700
From: iyale2 --
Subject: Wed Page

I have just discovered your web pages, It's just GREAT....EXCELLENT!!!!!!

I have spent almost an hour visiting your web site (for the first time). I know you have spent many hours and hard work in putting this all together. This is just GREAT.

I do play the Accordion (free-reed / bass) and also perform with the Yale Accordion Orchestra. I am the daughter-in-law of the late Oakley Yale and Mrs. Melba Yale, who goes 100 miles per hour producing excellent students; some who will be starting college in the fall majoring in music and possibly the accordion.

Our orchestra still performs and is currently planning a European Concert Tour in the summer of 1999. Any news promoting the accordion is good news especially when it's serious. I know for fact I certainly shall be regular visitor to your web site.

I hope that someday I'll be able to meet you!

Irene Yale

Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 18:08:07 -0700 (MST)
From: "James P. O'Brien" -- jobrien@U.Arizona.EDU

I have visited your Website many times! It's really cool.

James (Jim) P. O'Brien, Ph. D.
Professor (SOMAD)/Interim Director of Digital Arts
The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721
(520) 621-3388/

Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 16:44:00 +0000
From: Antonio Barberena --

I found your site after looking for accordion sites on internet, and after reading many many sites, I concluded that only your site and accordion worldwide are the most attractive and best ones.

About accordion in Mexico, I can tell you that it is a very used instrument in popular and folk music. However, in classical music there are very few performers.

Accordion for concert in Mexico has been around for only 40 years,introduced by teachers who came from Europe (Aldo Rizzardi;Italian accordionist who was second place in Coupe Mondiale,Copenhage 1952), and Mexican teachers who studied in Hohner Conservatory. I can detail this info if you wish in a future.

There are actually frankly only five accordionists seriously playing classical accordion, three of them play piano accordion and two, including myself, play chromatic.

Regarding original music composed by Mexicans, we are still trying to get to the best composers in order to introduce them to accordion so that they start composing since there is no classical music for accordion done in Mexico.

We would love to have classical accordionists from any country coming to Mexico, we can arrange for them to give a series of concerts thru the country. If you know of someone who is interested, please contact me.

I hope we keep in touch, and I will always continue reading your site.

Best musical wishes,

Antonio Barberena
Mexican Concert Accordionist

Date: Tue, 21 Apr 1998 17:59:43 EDT
From: ETC CABLE --
Subject: Larry Logan....

I've read your pages about my father, Larry Logan. I will tell you that through my childhood the name Larry Adler became a household name very early. Although the two reports give a general "feel" of competition, let it not be misunderstood that dad has always admired Mr. Adler. Why not admire him? He was in fact much of my fathers inspiration. The two of them have been mastering an art that only a few even tried.

I only wish that the two of them could join each other on stage to play some sort of a composed duet. It would be a historical moment for the history of the Harmonica and certainly a high point in both of their musical careers. Its only ironic that they would both be named Larry but the choice of profession by both of them has truly been a blessing to the world.

One thing I might add though. My father has made many recordings over the years and when the opportunity presents itself I hope these recordings will be properly released. I thank you for your interest in dads work and I wish you all the best of luck with Free-Reed! Sincerely,

Tim Logan

Date: Tue, 21 Apr 1998 19:15:47 -0400 (EDT)
From: The Classical Free-reed --
Subject: Re: Larry Logan....

Dear Tim,

Delighted to hear from you! It is an honor for me to have talked on the phone and corresponded by mail with your father, as it has been to meet Mr. Adler and correspond with him, as I admire both men greatly.

When I first read your father's article "My Career As a Mouth Organist" I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to present it on The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. website so the entire world could benefit from it.

I had no idea that Mr. Adler would take certain comments negatively.

Yet, when Mr. Adler responded, I thought that, in all fairness, I should make his reply known.

Your letter is very helpful as it helps illustrate that admiration and inspiration are the long-lasting facets of a relationship, as one learns (too often too late) after the death of an acquaintance.

May I share a copy of your letter with Mr. Adler? Perhaps it might foster a reconciliation.


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Date: Tue, 21 Apr 1998 19:37:51 EDT
From: ETC CABLE --
Subject: Re: Larry Logan....

Dear Henry:

Please do share the letter. And if you would please pass this along to Mr. Adler:

From: "Amy Jo Sawyer" --
Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 09:53:30 -0500

I visited your website and was very impressed with all the information you offer. ATG now has a website at and offers information about our organization.

Amy Jo Sawyer, President
Accordion Teachers Guild

Date: Sat, 18 Apr 1998 10:14:46 -0500
From: Phyllis Goldman --
Subject: Cultural music

Your web site looks great!

I wonder if you can help me locate some copyright free up-beat cultrual (europe, asia, africa etc. all on one disk) music for a cd-rom we are doing for the elementary-middle schools. We need some background music for this and as of now we are unable to locate anything.



Dear Phyllis,

You might try Michal Shapiro (104075.427@CompuServe.COM) or Ellipsis Arts ( who produced the 3 volume CD "Planet Squeezebox." You can read a review of this this set at "The Free-Reed Review" on this website.


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Date: Wed, 8 Apr 1998
From: Darcy Kuronen
To: Gregory A. Vozar
Subject: Busson accordion

Mr. Vozar,

I recently viewed your fine "Classical Free-Reed" web page, which was recommended to me by Allan Atlas. I am the curator of historical musical instruments at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. We have been offered, as a donation, a lovely little French accordion marked by Busson of Paris. From what little I can gather, it appears that Busson was one of the earlier manufacturers of such accordions, and I would date the instrument in question between about 1840 and 1860. However, I would certainly like to know more about Busson and his dates of activity. Can you suggest anyone who might be able to help in this regard? I would be most grateful.

Mr. Darcy Kuronen
Keeper of Musical Instruments
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


Dear Mr. Kuronen,

Thank you for your interesting inquiry. I wish I could assist you with information from my own personal font, but I can only tell you that if your estimated dates are correct, the instrument of which you have custody dates back to the earliest years of the accordion's existence. It was patented in 1829, only one or two decades prior.

I can suggest several other sources of information to you. There are many web-sites from which you can hopefully glean some information. See the links page on The Classical Free-Reed. One of the best is Accordions Worldwide at: .There are over 3000 pages to this site as well as numerous international contacts. I should think someone might be able to help you as this is the most extensive accordion-related site on the Internet.

There is also a very good book by Messrs. Flynn, Davison & Chavez called The Golden Age of the Accordion. This work deals with the late 19th & 20th century history of the instrument. The maker you named is not listed in the index, but perhaps Mr. Ed Davison, one of the authors, may be able to assist you. He can be contacted through Flynn Publications' website: .

If you have access to a news-group reader or the Deja News website; post to the newsgroup. There is an international discussion ongoing there about all aspects of bellows-driven, free-reed instruments. Several contributors have extensive historical knowledge.

I would be interested in any information you find, as we may want to make it available for others through our website. I would be happy to put up a News Bulletin on our web-site as well if you will give me a little more information on your recent acquisition and permission to put your e-mail address in it. Who knows, someone may come across it with knowledge!

I hope this will at least give you a positive lead. I understand your interest as I'm a collector of musical antiquities myself and the provenance of old instruments, musical documents, books, scores, etc. always interests me. Please contact me at the website if I can be of any further assistance.

Greg Vozar, webmaster
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Dear Mr. Darcy Kuronen,

I can also suggest a few people who might be able to assist you in your research on Busson accordions:

Dr. Alfred Mirek of Russia is an author and scholar and collector of free-reed instruments. His museum opened a few years ago in Moscow.

Alfred Mirek
Blok 1, apt. 78
Zatonnaja St 10
115142 Moscow

Also: Do you know Maria Dunkel? I believe Allan Atlas has her address.

Perhaps you can contact Pierre Monichon, author of "L'Accordeon (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1971) and "Petite Histoire de l'Accordeon (Paris: Enterprise Generale de Fabvrication et de Publicite (E.G.F.P.), 1958. I don't have his address, unfortunately, but it would be worth the search if you can contact him, as I believe he has researched the Busson Company thoroughly.

Hope this has been of some little help.


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Date: Thu, 02 Apr 1998 10:35:31 -0800
From: Andy Fielding --
Subject: Tunes online?


I enjoy your lovely website.

I'm a professional pianist/composer. I write music for a variety of instruments, including accordion. (That's what happens when you have accordionist friends!)

I wondered if you had any actual accordion music scores on your website, and/or if you know where I might find some.


(British Columbia, Canada)


Dear Andy,

Nice to hear from you and thanks for the compliment.

Are you looking for classical accordion music?

You can see some excerpts from music scores in "History of the Free-Reed Instruments in Classical Music" which can be accessed from our homepage.

I also suggest SAMFUNDET of Denmark, which is publishing my book "The Classical Squeezebox." I wrote a review about them in "The Free-Reed Review." Look under "Classical" then "Music Scores."

JANPress Publications has a nice selection of accordion music, including pieces by Guy Klucevsek and myself.

Check out "Martin Weyde's Website of German Composers Who Wrote for Accordion" listed on our "Links" page.

Deffner Co. located in Long Island sells much accordion music, both classical and popular as does Stanley Darrow in New Jersey (609) 854-6628. There is a company in Ontario, Waterloo Music, which published dozens of classical accordion pieces.

There are other companies as well. You might consider sending a request to the accordion newsgroup: Make sure to specify that readers write directly to you at your email address as many simply reply to the newsgroup.

Be sure to visit the publishers section of the Accordions Worldwide website (look under our "Links" page).

Best wishes!

Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1998 10:17:39 -0800
From: Toby Hanson --
Subject: Accordion in Modern Dance


I learned something very interesting this morning in a lecture on modern dance: Doris Humphrey's piece Shaker (1928) used chanting, drums, and accordion in the score. I believe it's the first performance of modern dance to make use of accordion.

Doris Humphrey was one of the early practitioners of modern dance and was a noted teacher and choreographer as well as dancer. She got her dance training from the Denishawn school which was operated by Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn in the early part of the century. Doris began teaching for them at their NY studio but then joined Charles Weidman to open her own school. She codified the first system of training techniques for modern dancers in her book of 1951 (the name of which escapes me right now).

The Shakers is the proper title of the dance piece which was premiered in 1930. The information on who composed and first performed the music was not known to my instructor and isn't listed in any of her source materials for the course. She suggested checking in the Dance Encyclopedia however she cautioned me that "musical information is often lost in dance history and what information survives is often contradictory, depending on your source". That may or may not be of some help.

In any event, it was an important event for the dance world because Doris Humphrey was one of the first modern dancer/choreographers to commission new scores for dances and The Shakers was one of the earliest of those commissions. Modern dance to that point had relied primarily on "music visualizations" of existing scores, primarily from the Romantic and Baroque periods.

-Toby Hanson

Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1998 12:35:14 +0000
From: Valarie Morris --

Hello Henry,

I was referred to you by Pauline Oliveros. I had mentioned to her that I was in the midst of research on Hungarian music. I'm preparing a workshop for accordionists and asked Pauline if she could recommend any sources for more information about this subject.

Do you have any information about Hungarian music? Is any music specifically for accordion available?

I'm planning a series of workshops on focusing on music from different countries. I'd certainly appreciate any other leads for resources that you could pass along to me.

Thanks very much for your help.

BTW, I've enjoyed visiting The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. site. And the pictures are great!

P.S. I started playing accordion at age 5. Played in a basement full of 50 accordionists (music in up to 6 parts!) with 2 drummers. Also rode in the back of a pick up truck with about 6 other accordionists wearing puffy-sleeved, red satin blouses/shirts for the Holy Day Parade. Ah. The good ole days.


Dear Valarie,

Thanks for your letter and your kind words about The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. website.

I don't really know all that much about Hungarian accordion music, except for the following paragraph from my soon-to-be-published book, The Classical Squeezebox:

The Hungarian-born composer, Matyas Seiber (1905-1960), wrote Praludium und Fugue in a-moll and Introduction and Allegro (1955) for cello and accordion. Georg Katzer (b. 1935) wrote Jeux trois (1989) for two accordions and percussion, and Gyorgy Kurtag (b. 1926), wrote Songs of Despair and Sorrow (1980-94), a setting of six Russian poems for chorus, two harmoniums, brass quintet, string sextet, two harps, four bayans and percussion.

Hope this helps! I trust that any readers who have more information will contact you!


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Date: Tue, 17 Mar 1998 20:31:21 -0800
From: kevin lilly --
Subject: Khaen article

What an excellent article on the khaen!

That Joseph Lilly must be a by God genius! You all are sure lucky to have him . . .

Keep up the good work, all of you.


Date: Sun, 08 Mar 1998 14:39:50 -0800
Subject: Outstanding site!

Dear Mr. Doktorski,

I have spent over 20 years collecting recordings and historical data on the history of the accordion and on the lives of its greatest artists.I have tried to collect as many books, articles and recordings ( I have over 5,000 recordings in my collection-not all accordion music) of different styles of accordion music from every corner of the globe.

I am currently working with a teacher at the Rostov Academy in Russia who is writing her thesis on accordion performance. I have been sending her tapes of verious styles of accordion performance from the Americas, including classical, jazz, popular and all the many ethnic varities represented in North and South America.Your site it outstanding and I will tell her about it!

The men I have looked up to all my life have been men like yourself who bring music into this world. Your style of writing is the best I've seen in regards to accordion related matters. You are very clear and the reviews are a joy to read.

Please tell me when is your book coming out?? I must have a copy of it, it sounds like a breakthrough for all of us who are starving for this kind of historical information. Please let me know how much it is and I will send a check to pre-pay for it and you send it when it comes out.

Thank you for all your efforts!

Best Regards,

Kent C. Williams
Rohnert Park, CA

P.S. I live 5 minutes from the town of Cotati (50 miles north of San Francisco) we now have here the largest accordion festival in the U.S. ("Cotati Accordion Festival") the last weekend of August. Artists from all over the world gather and 1000s of people come from near and far to hear ALL styles of accordion music from around the globe. If you would ever like to see this you are welcome here at our home in the "wine country".


Dear Kent,

Many thanks for your very flattering letter! but I must confess that much of the credit for recent additions (reviews, articles, etc.) to The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. website belong to our new webmaster, Gregory A. Vozar.

My book, The Classical Squeezebox should be available by Summer of 1998 -- of course this depends on the publisher! It has been greatly expanded to include 85 musical examples, including excerpts from works by Charles Ives, Paul Hindemith, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Luciano Berio, etc.

Once again, thanks for your kind letter. I wish you the best.


Henry Doktorski, founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Date: Thu, 19 Feb 1998 21:37:32 -0000
From: Alun Williams -- --
Subject: Jim Hughes

For those who do not know Jim, he is one of Britain's best known and loved harmonica players.

His CD James Hughes plays James Moody was reviewed on your site in September 1997; he was delighted with the outcome. So delighted in fact that when I told him of my recent elevation to the 20th Century on signing up to the Internet he asked that I let you know of two further CD's to be published soon.The first called "Serenade and Dance" is due out within the next few weeks, the second due in a few months is "James Hughes plays James Moody Vol.2."

I am happy to keep you up to date with Jim's recording and indeed his writing and publishing activities if you so wish.


Alun Williams

Date: Mon, 9 Feb 1998 19:19:02 EST

Dear Henry:

Thought I would drop you a short note that while scrolling down about 60 pages on the NET I came accross your free-reed. Its a wonderful web site. You and I have met several years ago at Stanley Darrow's annual AAMS (American Accordion Musicological Society) extravaganza's in PA. If you have any information you can send me on your organization or catalog, I would appreciate it.

Walter Michalski
Denville, New Jersey

Date: Sun, 11 Jan 1998 16:14:13 +0800
From: belis 98
Subject: Free Reeds

Boy I was shocked when I saw your website. It really has a western superior flavour to it. Have you ever researched the ancestors to the accordion, it roots: the Asian free-reed family. It dates back thousands of years, and has been used in court music in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. It is an extremely important instrument for a number of reasons, and is one of the "classic" world instruments, with a history that makes western history look like that of a babies.

Get out of your little westen box and say something about the real history of free reeds in "Classical" music.


Dear anonymous friend,

Thank you for your letter; I like your suggestion to "say something about the real history of free reeds in 'classical' music" very much and would like to impliment your idea.

(We have already begun, with the recent addition of the paper about the Laotian Khaen by James Cottingham and Casey Fetzer in our "Articles and Essays" section. Mr. Cottingham has just submitted another article about the Khaen which we will publish soon.)

However, I confess that, for the most part, I am completely ignorant about the Asian classical free-reed instruments, as you already implied in your letter.

Will you be so kind as to write an article about the Asian free-reed instruments and their music for our "History of the Free-Reed Instruments" or "Articles and Essays" section? Color photos will be appreciated -- for the "Free-Reed Family: A Brief Description" section -- as most of us Western free-reed players know nearly nothing about the Eastern free-reed instruments.

Even better yet, a series of articles would do more justice, since -- as you so eloquently stated -- the "history [of the eastern free-reed instruments] makes western history look like that of a babies."

Please share your knowledge with us so we can escape from "the little western box" which we are presently trapped in.

Once again, thank you for your unsigned letter and I look forward to receiving your articles.


Henry Doktorski, Founder
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc.

Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 14:40:17 -0600
From: James Cottingham --
Subject: Asian Free-Reeds

Dear Henry,

I have read the recent letter on the website regarding the Asian free-reed instruments, as well as your reply which seemed appropriate.

It's a good thing that you try to keep the site as broad as possible, although perfectly reasonable in light of your own interests and background that the emphasis is on Western "classical" music for the accordion/ concertina family of instruments. ( The use of the word "classical" to categorize the music of Bach, Mozart, etc., that we both like has always had problems associated with it, but the usage is so common that we seem to be stuck with it.)

In addition to including articles on your website related to the Asian free reed instruments (thanks for including ours) you might also include links to other sites. A good link to start with would be the Robert Garfias article (Reference 5 in our ar ticle on the khaen). The correct address is (The URL listed in our article is not quite right.) There are both photos and sound examples available at this site.

My students and I might be able to provide additional photos and descriptive articles if needed. As I write this I am looking at a Chinese sheng and a free-reed gourd pipe from northeastern Thailand on a shelf above my desk. There are some other Asian free reed links around that we have explored, but I don't have a ready record of them. I'll let you know if I come up with additional ideas for good links.


Date: Fri, 09 Jan 1998 20:35:41 +0000
From: jack beecroft
Subject: Web Pages

I have just dicovered your web pages. Excellent!

I am a teacher and performer in and around Bristol England, and any news promoting the accordion is good news, especially on the serious music front. I shall certainly be a regular visitor. Thank you once again.

Jack Beecroft ABCA (TD)

Date: Mon, 22 Dec 1997 13:50:25 EST
Subject: Bravo Henry!

BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO! on your magnificent website for The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. I have spent probably an hour visiting it (for the first time) and I still haven't explored everything. It must have been very hard work putting it all together, but the results are fantastic.

I especially love all your anecdotes about how you started playing the accordion, your stories with the Pittsburgh Symphony, your reflections on music and life, etc. I even took the musical free-reed quiz and got many of the answers correct (due to the tidbits of trivia you have passed along to me during our years together at Duquesne University).

The pictures are great. How did you do all of it? It seems like you have had A LOT of visitors other than myself -- I was visitor number 2908 -- Wow, good job! Let me know when you get your Classical Squeezebox book published as I can't wait to read it.

Merry Christmas,

Mike Brozick
first trumpet for The Duquesne University Orchestra

Date: Sat, 29 Nov 1997 00:57:42 +0100
From: BORECEK Philippe --
Subject: Re: Congratulations!


Bravo pour ton travail titanesque. Un site original et vraiment complet !

A bientot !

Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997 00:32:23 +0100
From: Ahmed TAGADIRT
Subject: Bravo.

Bravo pour votre site riche d'information.

RE: CD Review of Geir Draugsvoll: Classical Accordion

Dear Henry (and Gregory),

After hearing Guy Klucevsek's accolades about this CD, I was anxious to read Gregory's review of the same. Now I am even more anxious to hear this CD. Gregory's review is excellent and he obviously spent a lot of time pouring over every nuance of this recording. His writing style is very lucid and I am sure his contributions are a welcome contribution to your web site. Great job.

Joe Natoli
Niles, Ohio

Thu, 13 Nov 1997 11:05:59
Subject: guy, wallpaper

Guy K's article at Henri's website is fun. Many of us learned accordion during that particular time. It was fun seeing the parallels from the point of view of an accordionist who "made it." A great picture of Guy is also posted.

Lastly, wallpaper. Henri D has the nicest wall paper [background] of any website that I have visited. I would love to do a (small) room with it.

Craig Hollingsworth
Leverett, Massachusetts

Date: Fri, 07 Nov 1997 13:51:12 -0500
From: Evan Harlan

Great site! an oasis in the wilderness....

Subject: Free Instruments

I'm in seventh grade. Can we order some free reed instruments for our school band?



Dear Mike,

Thank you for your letter. I'm sorry but the free-reed instruments which are the focus of this website are not free from cost; they cost money just like other reed instruments such as saxophones, clarinets, etc.

The term "free-reed" means that the reeds in the instruments vibrate freely without beating against anything else; like accordions, for instance. For a more detailed description please read "A Brief Description of the Free-Reed Instruments" which can be found in this website.

And good luck getting instruments for your school!

Henry Doktorski

Dear Henry,

The letter from Mike requesting 'free' reed instruments for his school was priceless!

It reminds me of simliar misunderstandings I've experienced with the term 'free bass' accordion. For example, a Fanfare reviewer once wrote: "In my enthusiastic review of Manhattan Cascade, Klucevsek's CRI Emergency Music CD (626) I opined 'free bass' plays on 'free base,' a drug culture term. I'm still not convinced that it doesn't. Not to calumnate Klucevsek's recreational pursuits. His accordion's ambiguous handle does appear consistent, however, with an oddball sense of humor, in ample evidence in the present (Transylvanian Softwear) CD. You've only to glance at the titles."

I had to write a letter to the editor, explaining that I have had nothing to do with either the invention of the term "free bass," or with 'free base'-ing as a recreational pursuit.

Ah, the mysteries of the English language...the joys, the sorrows, the pleasure, the pain...

Guy Klucevsek

Date: Fri, 31 Oct 1997 11:39:20 +0000
Subject: Larry Adler Interview.


My name is Vittorio Bianco and reside in Melbourne Australia. I was very impressed and enjoyed immensely reading Henry Doktorski's interview with Larry Adler published in the Classical Free Reed Home page. I play the chromatic harmonica and subscribe to Hohner Club of Australia (HARPOZ). Harpoz recently published an interview with Larry Adler here in Australia but it fell short of covering important information such as that seen in Henry's article.

With Henry's permission could I reproduce this article for our next issue of HARPOZ? It would be a great addition to our magazine which often struggles to include good stories. Henry and Classical Free Reed will be acknowledged.

Thank you for your time.

Vittorio Bianco

Date: Wed, 15 Oct 1997 01:25:12 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: website

Dear Henry...

This was the first opportunity I had to revisit your website and I was amazed at all the various subject matter that had been included since my last visit. I must commend you on providing an excellent source of information for classical accordionists. You are fulfilling a gap that is unique in this field, and hopefully will continue additional resource material that Macerollo started for us. Thank you for keeping me posted on the updates.

If there's anything I can do to assist you in this marvelous venture, do not hesitate to ask.

Steve Navoyosky

Date: Thu, 9 Oct 1997 19:26:20 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: manhattan cascade

Dear Henry,
I just noticed you managed to get one of the 50 editions of Manhattan Cascade where I signed the cover in gold ink! How did you manage that coup? through CRI?

You're a genius! The whole site looks great. Congrats.


From: Craig Hollingsworth
Subject: Web page

Henry, nice job! Love the background! I am impressed as to how you incorporated some of my suggestions too. The photos of the free reed family are very nice.

another suggestion. On the quiz, answer to 4B. I think that you should avoid use of the "N" word, whether in quotes or not. I think that this could be done easily. Yes, I am writing from politically- correct Amherst, Mass. I think that the point is to be non-elitist. Would your Black colleagues appreciate seeing the nasty term, when there are simple solutions?

keep up the good work.


Dear Craig,

Thanks for your letter and suggestions. Yes, you have brought up a sensitive point and I thank you for your concern. I consulted one of my African-American friends who plays piano with the PSO and she replied,

"Of course the word is horrible and offensive. But so was the Third Reich -- and if that's what they said, that's what they said."

I have, however, enclosed the phrase in double quotation marks. I have also posted your letter in the "Letters" section because I think your concern is significant.

Henry Doktorski

I just looked at your website. It is a good start. Your work along with the Accordions Worldwide (Deffner) will do the job for us classical accordionists.

Jim Wadowick

Congratulations, your web site is first rate! I'm a Portuguese classical accordionist and found here a lot of useful information I could not find anywhere else. Thank for your excellent work.

Octavio Martins

Congratulations on your interest in and dedication to the concertina; we need more people like you.Take care and thanks once again,

Eric Matusewitch, classical concertinist

Your directory of classical free-reed performers will prove to be a great service. There are names on there that I fell out of contact with for years and it's great to know how to get in touch with them again. Great job...thanks from all of us for taking the time to get this page up and running.

Joseph Natoli
Concert Accordionist
Niles, Ohio

Last Saturday, I spent about an hour visiting your impressive and informative home page. I had a young accordionist here, the last graduate student of Mogens Ellegaard's, who wants to perform my Saga Night and comes for composer's advice. (It seems the piece is getting pretty much standard repertoire in this region of the world...). He got printouts of quite a few pages and was very interested.

Svend Aaquist, composer/conductor
Copenhagen, Denmark

Hi: I'm on your squeezebox mailing list and caught your message re this page.

Thanks for taking the time to put it together. Lots of interesting and relevant info for squeezers. I'm not very advanced in my playing ability and tend to lean towards folk music, but I have a degree in Music and enjoy your references to Classical lit.

Keep it going!

Randy Millan

Very impressive web site. Lots of information, and it is very informative.

Richard Martin
The Harmonica Educator/ Editor & Publisher

Just visited your new web page and am mightily impressed. I particularly liked the article by Dr. Schimmel and the descriptions of the various kinds of free reed instruments. I had previously thought that the Great Highland Bagpipe was a free reed instrument, but after reading through your page, I can see why I was mistaken in that idea.

Just one comment: I liked the half tone photo of the woman playing the PA and dancing with her skirts flying up, but am puzzled by it. I tend to think of classical music as either pretty serious sit-down-and-listen music or danced to by highly trained ballet dancers. Even the tango is fairly intense. I would generally associate this picture more with the folk dance genre (which is where I fit in).

Keep up the Great work!

Glenn Lee

Great pages!

Jeroen Nijhof

I've been browsing through your web site. It's FIRST RATE.

Peter J. Slominski
Concert Accordionist
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Let me congratulate you on your new website. I will visit frequently to see new articles.

Unfortunately, I am not a well-educated classical musician. I merely play pleasant melodies on my Anglo concertina's and look forward to the day that I can find some good publications and tapes that use my instrument for more than jigs, reels and hornpipes.

My ability to read music is halting, at best, so I stick to melody lines on song music. I wish I could do better.

Oh, yes. I saw the illustration of the Bandoneon. I have one of them too.. I thought it was just a huge Anglo concertina with extra buttons.

Thanks for listening.

Pete Gibbons
Ithaca, NY

I just spent a while checking out most of your new site. Pretty good! I had tried to access it several times since your first posting of it but always got error messages until today. I hope whatever problem your site had has been cleared up permanently!

There are a few comments I would like to make:

1. Your opening line is a bit confusing to me: "...a nonprofit tax-exempt organization dedicated to the advancement of the free-reed instruments (accordion, bayan, concertina, bandoneon, harmonium & harmonica) in classical music."

Is your dedication limited to the instruments you have listed? Or is that list supposed to be definitive of "free-reed instruments"? It seems a bit strange to me as bayans are a specific type of accordion and bandoneons are a specific type of concertina. By mentioning both group and subgroup it makes it seem like they are different instruments. It would be less confusing to either leave out the subgroups, leave out the overall group types, or be clear about the differences such as by saying: "Accordions (piano accordion, diatonic or button accordion, and chromatic or continental accordion or bayan)... Concertinas (diatonic or chromatic)... etc.

There is also no mention of sruti boxes and melodicas which frequently perform classical music. Jew's harps are also free-reed instruments, though I can't say that I've ever heard one played classicly.

2. In your page "Free-Reed Family: A Brief Description" you seem to start into the nitty gritty of establishing the various types of reed families, explaining the differences between the beating reed family and the free-reed family. Then you entice us further by mentioning 5 subgroups of the free-reed family without telling us what they are or what makes them different from each other, or what makes our type (you don't even give our type a name!) so special. Finally, you just drop the whole thing and give us some photos. Who can tell how representative of our group they are?

3. Comments on the photos:

3C. Diatonic accordions seem to get no notice at all! There are BY FAR more diatonic accordions produced than both piano and chromatic accordions put together. There is a huge amount of classical music played by the diatonics. There are many subgroups of diatonics, far more than either PA's or CA's. How about a few photos of DA's?

3E. Also missing are melodeons (suction organs), sruti boxes and melodicas.

I would be happy to assist you in classifying free-reed instruments and have a wealth of photos that you can use.

-- Rich --
Web site:

Dear Rich,

Thank you for your suggestions and please excuse any omissions in the website; the process of setting up this website has taken many dozens of volunteer hours and some discrepancies are bound to occur. I have followed some of your suggestions already.

Regarding diatonic accordions, to my knowledge, no classical composers have written for them since Umberto Giordano wrote his opera "Fedora" in 1898. Since then, classical composers have written for the chromatic accordions (piano keyboard or buttonboard) because they can play in all keys. The diatonics, as you know, are limited to one or two keys. In fact, it was the popularity of the chromatic accordions which prompted composers to write for the accordion.

At present, I am not familiar with sruti boxes, although I believe they might be used in classical Indian music.

Henry Doktorski

Just visited your website as the 212th visitor. The layout is superb as it allows one to view each and every page as well as links. Thanks for remembering me in sharing this good development on the web. The very first four topics were informative and accurate. I can see where I might consider the possibility of contributing to your instrument museum in addition to the many 'old' books and memorabilia that I have accumulated in my 'thusfar' 58 years of being an accordionist.

Thanks again, and best wishes for further page development.


Steve Navoyosky
Steve's Accordion Shop & Accordion School
*since 1953*
new & used accordions
P.O.Box 88, Greenford, Ohio 44422

Dear Henry: "tuned in" to your web page--VERY NICE!--and also INTERESTING, which is far more than one can say for most of the concertina-accordion stuff on the internet--

by the way: will be playing at NYU on November 21st and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art of December 4th--

Best. . .Allan Atlas
New York City
Classical Concertinist
Author of "The Wheatstone Concertina in Victorian England"

About 8 months ago - the time I first published my accordion site in the web - I felt quite disappointed because searching the Internet I could not find useful information on my accordion teacher's teacher, Hugo Herrmann. Now he's in. Thank you!

Regarding your "Letters" section: I find the response extraordinary interesting. It gives a good impression of the variety of discussion your Free-Reed project already initiates.

I am currently thinking about adding some information to my site entitled "Composers of early German accordion solos and duets". It will not be comprehensive but give a few samples of what I liked best in my early accordion times. Most of the composers are already mentioned within your explanations :).

There are some problems in finding the adequate term for these kinds of accordion music of course. You choose "classical", I dislike "serious" and "original" would not mean much to most people although for instance compositions born by members of "Trossin ger Schule" are called "Originalmusik".

Perhaps classification of musical history related to special instruments may depend on how young these instruments are. After my link to "The Classical Free-Reed" I follow the "classical" designation. From my point of view it is either "early" or "contemporary" - an anachronism. Maybe "classical" covers a wider range although I could imagine great arrangements of Gregorian chants for accordion ensemble as well as contemporary chants as Arvo Paert composed for voices and wind instruments. Hugo Herrmann occasionally called it "neo-baroque".

If you have not been there so far I cordially invite you to take a look at my site at

Hoping your activities will bear some fruit I look forward to future extension of your explanations!

With best regards

Sincerely yours
Martin Weyde
Hamburg, Germany

Subject: Your new Website

As always you do a first class job and provide lots of useful information.

Bob Berta
San Francisco Bay Area Accordion Club

Subject: Bravo!

Henry, Your site looks great!

Patricia Pratt-Jennings
Principal Keyboardist for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

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