|Remembering Anthony Galla-Rini
ANTHONY GALLA-RINI was born in Manchester, Connecticut, USA on 18th January 1904 of an Italian family of musicians. His father started to teach Anthony the comet at the age of four, and the accordion at the age of seven. When he was seven years old, he began touring the United States and Canada with his father and two older sisters on the chautauqua, and Vaudeville circuits as a child prodigy. As time went on, he was also taught all the basic instruments of woodwind and brass families, and received instruction in harmony and counterpoint; as well operatic and symphonic conducting. Eventually, Anthony abandoned all other instruments except the accordion, his first love. His purpose was to teach the accordion, to give it the full potential of it's ability, to write music for it so that others might receive the full benefit, and to promote the accordion as a concert instrument.
For many years, Galla-Rini has given concerts and solo recitals on the accordion in all the major cities in the USA, including Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit and New York where he appeared at the Carnegie Hall on a number of occasions. Also touring Britain and Europe where he gave concerts in London, Manchester, Sheffield and Glasgow, as well as Italy. Galla-Rini has also been engaged in soundtrack recordings for a number of Hollywood films, including "High Noon", "Hans Christian Anderson" and "Rhapsody in Blue". He composed his first Concerto for accordion and orchestra in 1941, and it has the distinction of being the first accordion concerto to be performed with major symphony orchestras with Galla-Rini as soloist. He wrote his second concerto in 1976.
As a performer, teacher and arranger of accordion music, Galla-Rini was a musician of the highest caliber. He has done literally hundreds of arrangements, both classical and modem. In the course of his concert career, he has been referred to as the Pederewski of the accordion, Toscanini, Horowitz of the accordion.
In 1975, the President of Italy conferred on him the title of "Cavaliere dell Ordine della Stella della Solidarieta" in recognition of his efforts towards strengthening the cultural bonds between the Italian and American people and for his interest in the development of the Italian accordion in America.
In January 1999, Galla-Rini organized and supervised four workshops for the Kimberley (B.C.) Accordion Festival and eight workshops for his Accordion Camp in Silver Falls, Oregon, all of which were highly successful. He has spanned 98 years as a professional accordionist, more than 74 as a teacher, and more than 64 as a lecturer. He was a living legend, and with all his many accomplishments, Galla-Rini will always be known as "Mister Accordion".
In 1992, he made his last live recording - "Galla-Rini" COLLECTOR'S EDITION consisting of solo numbers and also pieces played by his accordion orchestra. The CD is over one hour in length and covers a wide range of music from "Torna A Sorriento" to "Rhapsody in Blue", to the Beatles "Yesterday".