Galla-Rini Accordion Camp

Few people have done more to promote the accordion than Anthony Galla-Rini. Born into a musical family, Galla-Rini started playing accordion when he was seven and, after years on the vaudeville circuit, opened his own accordion studio in San Francisco. Devoted to the serious and classical study of the accordion, he wrote hundreds of arrangements, published his own method books, and in 1941, composed his first accordion concerto which he performed with the Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra. A recognized virtuoso, Galla-Rini toured the world, giving concerts and solo recitals, and played on numerous movie soundtracks (High Noon, Laura).

Since 1990, Galla-Rini has held an annual summer accordion camp where he leads workshops and conducts ensemble pieces. Nearly fifty musicians from around the world have registered for this year’s camp, which will be held at the Dominican University in San Rafael starting on Sunday, July 23rd. The maestro is still going strong at 102 (!!!), but won’t be attending this year; instead, Bay Area teacher/accordionist Joe Smiell will direct the camp.

Galla-Rini’s solo recordings are hard to find, but here’s a track that was included on the 1995 compilation, Legends of the Accordion:


  1. I’m trying to find out more about accordion camps planned for 2007. I am interested in the Galla-Rini camp, and I have heard great things about Joe Smiell. However, I’m not especially interested in playing polkas. I’m looking for more complete and current information about this and other upcoming camps.

    Elwyn Ellis.

  2. Elwyn, these are the camps that I know of (there are likely more):

    * Joe Smiell’s Button Box camps are usually twice a year — in early July and early September. I believe this year, the first one is July 7-14. Contact him through his site for more information.

    * The Rose City (Oregon) Accordion Club is holding their annual camp June 3-8 in Silver Falls, OR. Check their site for more info.

    * I don’t have the specific dates but I believe the Galla-Rini camp will be in late July this year, again in the San Francisco Bay area.

    * The annual Lark in the Morning camp isn’t accordion-specific, but there are numerous accordionists and teachers there. See our calendar listing for more info.

    Hope that helps! Happy camping!

  3. The Galla-Rini Accordion Camp is not about polkas! We play all kinds of music in the ensemble–classical, semiclassical, American musicals and more. It’s about learning to play musically, and learning to play in an ensemble, which is an entirely different experience from playing alone. Joe Smiell is an absolute genius musically, and anyone who has the chance should not miss out on experiencing what this incredible man has to offer.
    The dates of the camp this year are July 27 – Aug. 1 on the campus of Dominican University in San Rafael, CA.
    For info and an application contact Tor Arild (650) 851-7831 or P.O. Box 620063, Woodside, CA 94062.