Not your grandpa’s squeezebox

By - Oct 6th, 2010 04:00 am

Stas Venglevski is a rock star in the accordion world. His artistry and technical prowess have brought him worldwide acclaim as a virtuoso of the bayan accordion — just watch the attached videos and you’ll see why.

Although you might not think rock stardom could ever encompass the accordion, Stas’ dexterous and passionate playing is sure to change your mind. His fingers move with lightning speed as he bops back and forth in his chair, a knowing half-grin on his face the whole time.

Just as Stas is not your average squeezebox player, the bayan is no average instrument. Featuring a total of 226 buttons (120 arranged in six rows on the left; 106 in five rows on the right), it also boasts an impressive range and spectrum of sounds. It is among the most beloved folk instruments in Russia, lending itself to many different styles of music.

Who knew the accordion could be so fun and, frankly, so bad ass?

Born in the Republic of Moldova, Stas has toured extensively through the former Soviet Union, Canada, Europe, and the United States, where he has lived since 1992 (the last time he came through Milwaukee, he played at none other than Riverwest’s favorite dank tap The Uptowner).  He is a two-time first prize winner of bayan competition in the Republic of Moldova and earned his Masters in Music from the Russian Academy of Music in Moscow, where he trained under the famed Russian bayanist Friedrich Lips.

Stas has performed numerous times on American Public Media’s A Prairie Home Companion and with symphony orchestras throughout the United States.

Not only is Stas an amazing musician, but he is dedicated to sharing the gift and accessibility of music.  He is the immediate past president and current board member of the prestigious Accordionists and Teachers Guild, which was established with the purpose of “furthering the progress of the accordion by improving teaching standards, music, and all phases of music education.”

Simply put,  Stas is the Bono of the accordion world … except way more awesome.

To see this master at work, be sure to mark your calendars for Saturday October 23rd at 7:30 PM.  The concert will feature Stas’ solo work as well as an accompanying ensemble.  It will also feature special guest star Semion Shmelkov, a fellow Russian bayanist who first picked up an accordion when he was six years old.  These are world class musicians that are not to be missed.

Stas Venglevski will bring his world renowned show to the beautiful Helfaer Hall at Mount Mary College on Saturday, October 23rd. Tickets are available in advance for $16 and at the door for $20. Student tickets are $12.  For more information check out Stas’ website.

Categories: Classical, Videos

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