2022 Festival Featured Guest Artists

Michael Bridge

Michael Bridge is a 21st-century musical maverick - toppling popular expectations of what it is to be a professional accordionist.


He’s a virtuoso performer on both the acoustic accordion and its 21st Century cousin, the digital accordion - an extraordinary piece of technological wizardry that imitates the sound of just about any instrument you can imagine. His concerts capture the energy and panache of stadium rock with the elegance and discipline of chamber music. It all began when Bridge was five and growing up in Calgary. His mom bought him a $5 accordion at a garage sale and Michael was hooked.


Since then he’s won a slew of competitions in Canada and abroad and was named one of CBC’s 30 under 30 classical musicians. He gives over 100 concerts a year as a soloist and as a member of both the “Bridge & Wolak” duo and “Ladom Ensemble”. He offers lectures and master classes around the world, recently became a Rebanks Fellows at the Glenn Gould School, and received his Doctorate in Performance from the University of Toronto.


Bridge & Wolak also give back through an on-line Music Mentorship Program. After performing hundreds of concerts in schools, they are determined to build more meaningful relationships with musically inclined teens.


Michael embraces a musical aesthetic that is alternatively irreverent, deadly serious, meticulously prepared and completely in-the-moment. He’s at home with jazz, folk and classical music. He’s premiered 53 new works. If pushed, he’ll say he likes Baroque music best because of its unforgiving demand for clarity of intent and execution.


Ultimately, he aims to make your world more bearable, beautiful and human – even if only for the length of a concert.  We invite you to experience the world of Michael Bridge at our ATG 80th Anniversary Festival.


Stas Venglevski

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.


UMKC Community Chamber Accordion Ensemble

The University of Missouri - Kansas City (UMKC) Chamber Accordion Ensemble are preparing for an upcoming performance in Lisle, IL (Chicago) as part of the upcoming 80th Anniversary Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG) Festival.


All players are alumni of the University of Missouri - Kansas City, and former members

of the renowned UMKC Accordion Orchestra with guest member Joanna Arnold-Darrow joining the group for the 2022 performances.  The players make their living in various careers, but each have remained devoted to promoting the accordion and its varied repertoire, which includes transcriptions, commissions and other original works.


They have recently performed in Chicago, San Francisco, Kansas City, the 80th Anniversary of the AAA in Alexandria, VA. and in Superior, WI at the World of Accordions Museum.  In addition, they have participated in the USA contributions to previous World Accordion Day events, when videos of their performances were broadcast during the live presentations.


Joan C. Sommers has held numerous positions in several music organizations, including the Accordionists & Teachers Guild International (ATG) and the Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA – IMC-UNESCO) where she was recently awarded lifetime Honorary Membership.


The UMKC Chamber Accordion Ensemble performs under the direction of Joan C. Sommers who also plays as a member of the ensemble. 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 Chamber Accordion Ensemble and as guest Conductor with various orchestras around the world including leading the magnificent World Accordion Orchestra XI in Shenzhen, China on August 18, 2019.


The 2022 University of Missouri - Kansas City (UMKC) Chamber Accordion Ensemble pictured are:  Standing: Mary Ann Covone, Ron Dake, Ron Barrow, Kevin Friedrich, Cathy Sue Weiss. Sitting: Betty Jo Simon,  Samantha Wagner, Joan C. Sommers (Director), Christine Jarquio Nichols and Jane Christison (not pictured: Joanna Arnold Darrow.)

Murl Allen Sanders

Murl Allen Sanders is a musician, composer, teacher and recording artist living in Seattle. Murl has worked in the USA, Canada, England, Brazil and Japan with such diverse artists as Chuck Berry, Etta James, Il Divo, Glenn Yarbrough, Seattle Symphony, accordion virtuosi Frank Marocco, Chico Chagas, Stas Venglevski, Alex Meixner, Gary Blair and Cory Pesaturo, Leroy Bell, Peter Duchin, Alarm Will Sound, Seattle Modern Orchestra, Cascade Symphony, Everett Philarmonic, Orchestra Seattle/Seattle Chamber Singers, The Von Trapp Children, Theodore Bikel, Leslie Gore, Barbara Lamb, Susan Pascal, Warren Rand, Pearl Django, Michael Tomlinson and Kelly Harland, among many others.


Murl teaches piano and accordion privately and is also adjunct faculty at Cornish College of the Arts and Shoreline College in Seattle. He has received two grants from The Seattle Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs to compose “She Blows Hot and Cold” for chorus and symphony orchestra in 2010 and “Accordion Concerto #2” in 2007, both pieces performed by Orchestra Seattle/Seattle Chamber Singers. His “Accordion Concerto #1”, a commission from Orchestra Seattle/Seattle Chamber Singers, premiered in 2003. Murl received a 2010 and 2009 ASCAP plus award for his concert compositions from The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.


Recent appearances:

Bellevue Jazz and Blues Festival 2021, 2022

LeRoy Bell 2020

SanFrancisco Accordion Club 2019

Seattle Symphony “Music Beyond Borders” Concert 2017

Deep Squeeze Accordion Festival 2019, Port Townsend, WA

Leavenworth International Accordion Festival 2018

Accordionists and Teachers Guild Festival, Chicago 2018

International Festival Da Sanfona, Juazeiro, Brazil 2016

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil with Chico Chagas

Earshot Jazz Festival

Milwaukee Accordion Club & Chicago Accordion Club

Alarm Will Sound

Seattle Modern Orchestra

Northwest Film Forum


Murl’s discography:

“Guides and Spirits” 1981, “Soon” 1991, “New Romance and Doing All Right” 1996 “Can You Dance To It?” 2000, “Accordion Concerto #1” 2003

“Murl’s Holiday Favorites” 2009, “Stories of Lucile” 2012

Mirco Patarini (Italy)

Mirco Patarini was born in Spoleto (Italy) and in 1978 he began studying music at the CDMI (Centro Didattico Musicale Italiano) in Spoleto.  In the same year, he began to participate in various national competitions, ranking in the first places.   In 1981 he ranked first in the Italian Pre-Championship of Castelfidardo, obtaining the right to access the 31st CMA Accordion World Trophy, where he was the youngest participant. 
Between 1983 and 1985 he won the Italian Pre-Championship three times so that he could participate in International competitions in Caracas (Venezuela), Caldas de Rahina (Portugal), and La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland), where he obtained the 1st prize.
His concert activity ranges from classical repertoire to modern music; from acoustic to electronic and MIDI accordion; from solo performance to concerts for accordion and Symphony Orchestra, in 69 countries around the world.  His career boasts many important collaborations with famous artists such as Luciano Pavarotti and Nicola Piovani in the most prestigious theaters in the world.
He was the General Music Manager in the Bontempi-Farfisa Group for many years, actively participating in the design, marketing and distribution of Bontempi Musical toys, Farfisa amateur, professional keyboards and synthesizers; and Furnstein, Furstenberg, Hermann and Anelli acoustic pianos.
He is the President of “Scandalli Accordions” company, one of the historical and most prestigious accordion factories in the world.
In January 2006 he founded, together with Gianluca Bibiani, the publishing company “Ars Spoletium”, of which he is President. In September 2007 they acquired the historical music magazine “Strumenti e Musica” (founded in 1948 by Bio Boccosi)  restarting its publication and transforming in an International bilingual publication.
Since 2007 he has been the Artistic Director of the IAC (Italian Accordion Culture) association, Italian Premiere Voting Member of the CIA. For numerous years he has been the Italian juror for the CIA Coupe Mondiale. 
Since 2008 he has been the founder and Artistic Director of the Instruments & Music Festival of Spoleto and in 2011 he was the Artistic Director and organizer of the CIA Coupe Mondiale in Spoleto.
On 2014 he was elected President of the Music Committee of the Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes ) IMC-UNESCO and in 2017, he was elected as the organization’s overall President, being re-elected in 2021 to serve a second term.
In 2017 he was the Artistic Director and organizer of the CIA Coupe Mondiale in Osimo (Italy) and since 2018 he serves as Guest Professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.
We look forward to welcoming this outstanding musician, CIA President, and spokesperson for the accordion to our upcoming 80th Anniversary Festival.

Bill Morse

Maestro William Morse has been Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Jefferson Symphony Orchestra since 1999. The orchestra continues to develop and flourish under his leadership. 


Dr. Morse holds bachelor and master degrees in music from Oberlin Conservatory and a doctorate in orchestral conducting from the University of Arizona. He has also studied at the Mozarteum Academy of Music in Salzburg, Austria.

He is Professor Emeritus at Metropolitan State College in Denver where he conducted the Metropolitan State Symphony Orchestra and taught Advanced Conducting and Music Theory.

A man of diverse musical talents, Dr. Morse is fond of the literature for symphony and chamber orchestra. His dynamic conducting style, innovative musical taste, and outstanding musicianship have made him very popular with Colorado audiences.

Nikolay Bine

Nikolay Bine (born 1996) began accordion studies at the age of 6. He studied at the St.Petersburg State Conservatory named after N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov. During his education, Nikolay proved to be one of the most talented accordionists among young musicians of Russia. He is a winner of many world prestigious competitions such as:


- 2014 1st place Trophée Mondial (Kaunas, Lithuania)

- 2017 five 3rd places in internationally aclaimed accordion competitions: “Internationaler Akkordeonwettbewerb Klingenthal” (Klingenthal, Germany), “Coupe Mondial”(Ozimo, Italy), “Citta di Castelfidardo” (Castelfidardo, Italy), and “Trophee Mondial”(Onet-le-Château, France).


He toured as a soloist and with his jazz ensemble “Four ever band” organized in 2015, participating in many large international festivals:

Limbažu accordion festival in Latvia, the festival of association of Chinese and Russian universities of arts 2016 in Jinan, China, “Jazz accordion festival in Castelfidardo” (Italy) 2017. In 2019, he was invited to play in the international exhibition “The New York Times Travel Show” in New York, USA.

Nikolay's well-received concerts and masterclasses have been held in the USA, Canada, China, Italy, Hungary, Latvia, Slovenia, Germany, and many other countries.

In 2019, he was accepted to Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts (USA), and currently continuing his music education at the University of Victoria in Canada, pursuing a Master’s Degree in accordion performance in the newly established accordion studies program.

In addition to his primary instrument, the accordion, Nikolay began studying piano at the age of 8 as a secondary instrument. He continued piano courses at the St. Petersburg State Conservatory where he developed his virtuoso music skills.


The following are web links to his recent performances:

Petite suite Française (by Richard Galliano)

"Pondicherry Tango"  (by Jérôme Richard)

Nikolay Bine Quartet - Sudden mood (live)


Racine Symphony Orchestra

The Racine Symphony Orchestra, celebrating its 90th season, is one of Wisconsin’s oldest symphony orchestras. Over 400 concerts have been performed featuring classical symphony orchestra, chamber music, and pops programs. Guest artists have included Rafael Mendez, Ralph Votapek, Leonard Sorkin, Janice Martin, Kathryn Henry, David Fung, and Stas Venglevski. 


The Racine Symphony Orchestra maintains robust education programs including an annual artist-in-residence, elementary education concerts, concerto competition, high school invitational opportunities for choirs and instrumentalists, and an introductory strings program.


Artistic Director, Pasquale Laurino, has led the RSO for 11 seasons and has a lengthy and lauded conducting and violin performance career, notably associated with ballet and opera companies around the country.  Executive Director Jonathan Winkle has led arts organizations in Wisconsin, Tennessee, and New Mexico; and has served as President of the Association of Wisconsin Symphony Orchestras.

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