Wednesday, May 25, 2011

'McMahan's performance combined virtuosity with fine musicianship and he is an advocate of the accordion!'

[William Grant Still]

Yesterday's posts on accordion works of William Grant Still generated some email exchanges among our associates and Robert Young McMahan:

Dominique René S. de Lerma
“Robert is a very serious musician. He formerly taught at Peabody (not accordion, however). I saw him last at the Still gala in Flagstaff too many years ago. WGS would almost certainly have appreciated Robert's work. The AT reference is to a recording he made for me in Baltimore.”

I vividly recall that performance by Robert McMahan at Northern Arizona University in 1998 - you were there! In fact by playing 'Aria' an arrangement of Still's 'Aria' and Quit Dat Fool'nish' he woke me up to the fact that it IS possible to produce real music from an accordion!” “McMahan's performance combined virtuosity with fine musicianship and he is an advocate of the accordion! More please, Mr McMahan!
Kind Regards

Greetings, Dominique, and thanks for your kind words.
What a nice reunion this is! As I recall we first met at Morgan State University in 1976 during the first semester of my college career anywhere. I believe that was your first year there as well in the midst of an already long and distinguished career. A small correction: I was teaching music theory in the Peabody Preparatory Dept. (not the Conservatory) where accordion was offered as well. We did graduate one Prep. accordion major around 1979 who went on to graduate as an accordion major from the forward looking Music Department of the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Sadly, Peabody Conservatory, as with the other major conservatories in America, has yet to offer it as a major, unlike its Russian and Asian counterparts. So, in that sense, you were correct in saying accordion was not offered at Peabody. In any event, long live the legacy of William Grant Still!

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