Katerina Lekka (GR) — The Muse from the Acropolis
Katerina Lekka began to play accordion at the age of seven and later studied under composer George Georgiadis until she received her degree from the academy of music in accordion, piano and music theory.
She plays in various ensembles as solo-accordionist, teaches accordion, piano and music theory and is a welcomed guest in diverse CD projects (among others Nikos Grapsas, Iossif Valet, G. Lyckouras etc.).
Katerina isn’t restricted to one musical style, she can be found playing everywhere, not just on Greek weddings.
“With every breath that my accordion and I breathe together, new music is born. That’s why the accordion is my greatest passion!”
Aziz Ali Elyagutu (TR) — Oriental sound-poetry
Aziz ali Elyagutu comes from Istanbul. Here he studied accordion at the Turkish state conservatory.
He works with various orchestras and dance companies, eg. the Orchestra à la Turki, the Bosporus trio and his new world-music project Etnogram. He also composes for musicals (eg. „Ermiç Çoban“).
In addition to his musical activities at home- and abroad, he wrote the very first school for Garmon, a very unknown unisonoric diatonic accordiontype in our latitudes. The garmon is playes in Russia, Azerbaijan( here the instrument is chromatic),Turkey and Iran.
As a child Aziz wanted to play the garmon, unfortunately the was no instrument around, and he had to content himself with garmon-like playing on a normal chromatic accordion.
"Accordion and Garmon are my destiny and my opportunity ."
Ge Zhang (CN) — Pearls from the land of the dragons
Born in Beijing, Ge Zhang learned to play the accordion at the age of six at the Beijing Capital Normal University and won several accordion competitions.
During the last years, she has participated in music recordings for various movies and serials.
The accordion became very popular in China through military orchestras, where it was backed as a substitute for piano. In no country of the world is the accordion played more than in China, mostly Western classical music or popular music.
Ge’s musical education was also shaped by Western influences, but today she devotes her accordion playing to traditional and contemporary Chinese music.
“When I play accordion, I wish I could keep time from running in order to sink into music as into a fine dream.”
Krzysztof Dobrek (PL) — The Polish Whirlwind
“I came into the world to make music“, this is what Pole Krzysztof Dobrek is said to have told his grandmother at the age of four – and he has never done anything else!
He first came in contact with the accordion at a very early age.
As the instrument increasingly became to be used by communist propaganda sources, he decided to study bassoon and piano.
Then came the call-up from the army where upon Krzysztof got his accordion from the attic and absconded to Vienna. He earned his living as a street musician there for six years until he was hired off the streets.
Today, the Vienna world music scene is impossible to imagine without the phenomenon Krzysztof and his quartet “Dobrek Bistro”.
Servais Haanen (NL/D) — The Master of Fine Sounds
As musical contrarian, Dutchman Servais Haanen is string puller and organiser of the Akkordeonale. Among other things, he composes and arranges the festival’s ensemble pieces.
“It’s always a huge fun for me to invent a new programme every year with musicians from the most diverse countries, to be on tour with such a gang and get a great concert up!”
Servais has left his former home of classical and folk music far behind to realize his sensitive and poetic compositions with minimalist repetitive structures, magnetically pulling forward melodies on the diatonic button accordion. This allows his accordion to set foot into spheres where it hadn’t had a place yet…
Thanks to his versatile work with groups like Appellation Contrôlée (avant-garde), Quatro Ventos (fado and Portugese music), KlangWelten-Festival (world music) and his activity as a composer for various productions at music theatres and for film documentaries, Servais brings into play most diverse musical material.
In addition to being a docent for accordion, one of his dearest activities is his manifold ensemble work with exceptional or impossible instrumentation.
Nora Thiele (D, Frame drum, Darbukah)
As a musician, Nora Thiele moves between the realms of early music, world music, jazz and improvisation. Traditional, experimental and classical music are equally part of her repertoire.
Nora, who lives in Berlin, is considered to be one of the leading and innovative specialists for frame drum. She is an accomplished and experienced workshop docent.
Together with her ensembles “The Playfords”, “Duo Doyra” and Iraqi oud player Saef Alkeat, she has performed on stages in Germany, France, Poland, Italy, Turkey, Iran, Syria and China.
Christoph Pfändler (CH, Hammered Dulcimer)
Swiss Christoph Pfändler plays hammered dulcimer because he fancied an exceptional instrument.
After initial paths through the folk music of the Appenzell region in Switzerland, he discovered heavy metal for himself – a unique combination with this instrument up to now.
He is a founding member of the first hammered dulcimer metal band and studies since 2010 with marked preference new Swiss folk music at the music college in Lucerne.
As it is possible to play both melodically and very rhythmical on the dulcimer, it is the ideal instrument for groove infatuated Christoph.