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: