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Thanks to All for a Great 2023 Festival

Concert Flyer with Dates and Artists: July 20, 2023: UMKC Ensemble and Cory Pesaturo; July 21, 2023 Stas Venglevski and Polyphonia Orchestra; July 22, 2023 Grayson Masefield and ATG Festival Orchestra

Featured Guest Artists

2023 UMKC Ensemble

UMKC Community Accordion Ensemble

Directed by Joan Sommers

Most of the players in the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Community Accordion Ensemble are alumni of the University of Missouri-Kansas City and former members of the renowned UMKC Accordion Orchestra. The players make their living in various careers, but each has remained devoted to promoting the accordion and its varied repertoire, including transcriptions, commissions and other original works.


Over the last years, they have performed in San Francisco, Kansas City, the 80th Anniversary of the American Accordionists’ Association (AAA) in Alexandria, VA, Superior, WI at A World of Accordions Museum and at the recent 80th Anniversary celebration of the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, (ATG) in Lisle (Chicago), IL. In addition, they have participated in the USA contributions to World Accordion Day events, when videos of their performances were broadcast during the live presentations.

Director Joan C. Sommers has held numerous positions in several music organizations, including the Accordionists and Teachers Guild International (ATG) and the Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA – IMC-UNESCO) where she was recently awarded lifetime Honorary Membership. Joan C. Sommers was awarded the title of Professor Emerita upon her retirement from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music (USA), where she established and taught the accordion degree program for forty years. She has arranged innumerable works for both Accordion Orchestra and Chamber Ensemble over many years, works that have been performed around the globe.
Today she enjoys performing with fellow accordionists in duo, with other instrumentalists, with the UMKC Community Accordion Ensemble and working as guest Conductor with various orchestras around the world including founding and leading the magnificent CIA World Accordion Orchestra in many countries around the world including the USA, Scotland, New Zealand, Croatia, Canada, Austria and Lithuania and twice in both China and Italy.


The 2023 UMKC Community Accordion Ensemble players are: Standing: Ron Barrow, Kevin Friedrich, Mary Ann Covone, Ron Dake, Kenn Baert, Sitting: Sherry Carroll, Betty Jo Simon, Joan C. Sommers, Jane Christison and Samantha Wagner.

Thursday Evening Program

Cory Pesaturo Photo

Cory Pesaturo


Cory Pesaturo is one of only four accordionists to win a World Championship competition on both the Acoustic and Digital Accordion, and is the only person ever to also win a World Championship in Jazz. Pesaturo is a graduate of the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he was the first musician ever to major in the accordion. 


In 2017, Pesaturo became a Guinness World Record Holder, as Redbull™ flew him to Austria to break the marathon accordion record, in which Cory played for 32 hours and 14 minutes.  Pesaturo's extensive resumé includes appearances at the White House for President and Mrs. Clinton on four different occasions, starting at age 12. On one of those occasions, he became the youngest person ever to perform at a State Dinner, performing with the Marine Strolling Strings for the President of Hungary.  TV appearances for Pesaturo include, Late Night with David Letterman where he performed with Johnny Depp, Jimmy Fallon's That's My Jam on NBC, Wayne Brady's Let's Make a Deal on CBS, as well as various international television appearances.  Recently, Cory was the featured accordionist in the 2022 Weird Al Yankovich Biopic movie entitle "Weird".

On his Classical side which is less known, a win at 16 years old in a Concerto competition at the New England Conservatory of Music, gave Cory the rare opportunity to perform with the Brockton Symphony Orchestra as a featured soloist and on the Jazz side, Cory recorded two CD’s with saxophone legend George Garzone and his famous band “The Fringe” at age 19, and has performed / become friends with Jazz and Music Legend Wynton Marsalis.

Friday Evening Program

Photo of Stas Venglevski
Photo of Nathan
Photo of Stas Venglevski

Stas Venglevski

ATG board member Stas Venglevski will be performing on accordion with Nathaniel Holman on marimba.

His artistry, dazzling technical command, and sensitivity have brought Stanislav, "Stas," Venglevski, a native of the Republic of Moldova, part of the former Soviet Union, increasing acclaim as a virtuoso of the Bayan. A two-time first prize winner of Bayan competition in the Republic of Moldova, Stas is a graduate of the Russian Academy of Music in Moscow where he received his Masters Degree in Music under the tutelage of the famed Russian Bayanist, Friedrich Lips. In 1992 he immigrated to the United States. Stas is an Accordionist, a Musician, an Arranger, an Entertainer and a Teacher. Stas' repertoire includes his original compositions, a broad range of classical, contemporary and ethnic music. He has toured extensively as a soloist throughout the former Soviet Union, Canada, Europe, and the United States, including numerous performances with Doc Severinsen, Steve Allen and with Garrison Keillor on the Prairie Home Companion Show. Additionally, he has performed with symphony orchestras throughout the United States. He performed the world premiere of Concerto No. 2 by Anthony Galla-Rini and also the world premiere of Bayan and Beyond, composed for Stas by Dan Lawitts. He is a regular participant the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's Arts in Community Education Program (ACE); has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra; has done television commercials and performed in theater productions; produced 15 acclaimed albums including a transcription of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite for Bayan as well as one of original compositions. He has published several books of original compositions. Stas founded Accordion XXI Century Series in 2010 so that the Midwest audiences can experience the amazing range of the Accordion and Bayan by bringing gifted artists from all over the world. In a concert setting, these gifted musicians share their skills and cultures to provide the audience with a unique musical experience. The performances feature the Accordion or Bayan in solo presentation and, when possible, in concert with other instruments. The brilliant artistry and musical virtuosity of Stas afford an expanded dimension in music and an innovative musical adventure to the audience. Beyond his artistry he is a consummate entertainer capable of engaging any audience.

Photo of Tony Payne

Kevin Friedrich with Tony Payne

ATG Board of Director Kevin Friedrich will be joined by organist Tony Payne, Associate Professor of Music, Director of Special Programs and Artist Series at Wheaton College, Ron Dake (bass accordion) and Nathaniel Holman (percussion) in a performance of a work titled ‘Dargaville Impressions’ by well-known English accordionist and composer Ian Watson.  The two movement work was commissioned by Kevin  Friedrich in honor of the refurbishment of the historical organ at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church and the 150th  Anniversary of his home town,
Dargaville, New Zealand.    

Composer Ian Watson, said he was impressed by the photos of Dargaville and how dramatic the light looked at times.  The piece ‘Dargaville Impressions’ captures his impression of the town, without actually having visited it. The 1st movement features mostly the accordion, with support from organ, timpani and bass accordion. He imagined the light coming into the church from the memorial Stained Glass Window, donated by the family of the town founder, Joseph Dargaville.  The 2nd  movement 'Annie' is all about the organ featuring dramatic dynamic crescendos resulting in echoes around the venue. The historical organ was commissioned by the Dargaville family in honor of Mrs. Anne "Annie" Dargaville after her passing in 1915.  The movement then reprises the haunting 1st  movement theme, capturing the light as it magically illuminates the Stained Glass Window once again.

Photo of Polyphonia Orchestra

Polyphonia Orchestra

The POLYPHONIA ORCHESTRA is an orchestra comprised of young musicians from the French Island of Reunion. Its instrumental composition is atypical. Violin, flute, brass, keyboard, percussion and singers evolve around two accordion stands of 18 members on the occasion of this tour. Their repertoire is very broad consisting of 50 titles including such pieces as Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Itlaien, The Second Waltz by Shostakovich and Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The orchestra has performed on
four continents, and for the second time will perform in the United States. Polyphonia Orchestra is directed by Pierre VARO, accordion teacher, assisted by Maya HENRY, flute and piano teacher and Irwan HENRY, violin teacher. This performance is part of a a musical tour of the Midwest United States that includes performances in Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Saturday Evening Program

Photo of Grayson Masefield

Grayson Masefield

Grayson Masefield is a New Zealand born accordionist and is the first person to win World Championships in Classical, Virtuoso and Digital accordion categories. He is the Instrumental Music Teacher for accordion at the University of Auckland, New Zealand and is invited to perform concerts, give masterclasses and serve as jury at festivals and universities around the world.  This concert will present the versatility of the concert accordion, including classical
transcriptions, original works, nuevo tango and works by Spanish composer Gorka Hermosa including a new world premiere commissioned by the ATG.

Photo of Festival Orchestra

ATG Festival Orchestra

The ATG Festival Accordion Orchestra Concert is a long-standing activity which brings ATG members from all over the USA, Canada, and some overseas countries to perform together.

The repertoire for this year’s concert will feature music such as medleys from The Best of ABBA, Fiddler on the Roof, the Opera Carmen, Lesginka from the Gayne Ballet, Phantom of the Opera, The Imperial March and the Main Title from the Star War movies, plus the very popular Libertango by the bandoneonist/composer Astor Piazzolla.


Conductor Joan C. Sommers is a lifelong ATG Member and past President and ATG Champion.  She is founder of the CIA World Accordion Orchestra and was awarded the title of Professor Emerita upon her retirement from the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory of Music (USA), where she established and taught the accordion degree program for forty years. She has arranged innumerable works for the accordion orchestra, and often for the UMKC Accordion Orchestra, a large symphonic accordion orchestra (the UKMC Ensemble is featured in the Thursday evening program).


Read more of her biography on the Festival Orchestra invitation page,

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