A first for Carnegie Hall – but who knows?

A first for Carnegie Hall – but who knows?


norman lebrecht

May 13, 2011

There’s going to be some ice broken at Carnegie Hall on May 30.

The Danish accordionist Bjarke Mogensen will be making his debut in works by Sofia Gubaidulina, Sergei Prokofiev, Domenico Scarlatti, a world premiere by the young British composer, Nick Martin, as well as works by the Danish composers Martin Lohse and Ole Schmidt.

It appears to be the first time in a hundred-odd years the hall has heard a classical accordion. Anyone notice? Anyone awake in the press office?Hello…. I know it’s Friday but there might be a story here.

Mogensen is a phenomenon in Denmark and and an astonishment on record: once heard never forgotten.

Even if Carnegie fails to notice, don’t miss the recital.

In the second half, Mogensen will be joined by Rasmus Kjøller as the duo MYTHOS. They will perform a piece titled Views from a
Dutch Train, by the composer Jacob Ter Veldhuis. The concert will end with the duo’s own arrangement of Stravinskys famous ballet from 1911, Petrushka. Bring it on. 

While in the US the duo will also perform a private recital for the Queen of Denmark who is in Washington with the RoyalDanish Ballet.


  • Bruce Triggs says:

    Hi, this looks like a great show, I’ll check out Mogensen’s stuff.

    Not like it matters, but to be literalist, I don’t know of any “classical accordion” at all from as early as a hundred years ago in 1911.

    Charles Magnante premiered work at Carnegie in April 18, 1939: “Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky. The second half includes a lighter type of music.” — [The Golden Age of the Accordion, By Ronald Flynn, et al. Flynn Publications, Schertz, TX 1992. pg 184.]

    Probably the “lighter type of music” included: “Domenic and Anthony Mecca played their own duet version of the Rhapsody [in Blue] at the historic Charles Magnante Accordion Recital held at New York City’s Carnegie Hall on April 18th, 1939.” — [http://free-reed.net/essays/gershwin.html]

    Later (among a number):

    “The AAA [American Accordion Assn.] also sponsored significant concerts in major venues such as New York City’s Carnegie Hall, where the accordion was first featured [sic] in 1947, when accordionist Toralf Tollefifson presented Pietro Deiro’s Accordion Concerto in E.” [The Accordion By Toni Charuhas, Pietro Deiro Publications, New York, N. Y. 1955, Pg 44.]

    A friend of ours, Jelena Milojevic, played the Weill Recital Hall in 2009, which is close, but not the main Hall. Nice to see this happening more.

    Sorry for belabouring, but I’m writing a book, so it all counts as research, right?

    Thanks for your kindness,

  • Drew Lewis says:

    What a beautiful performance of the Three Oranges scherzo! Thank you for the link.

  • Brian Hughes says:

    “Thanks” to people like Lawrence Welk et al, the accordion has never been accepted as a serious instrument on this side of the pond. That being said, I am very well aware that there exist substantial European artists as well as composers writing for the instrument (I know some of them personally). Unfortunately, I’m just a simple country conductor in the heartland of Dubuque, Iowa. Best wishes to Mogensen and the MYTHOS duo. I hope that you pack the place and that I read glowing reviews of the performance.

  • Drew Lewis says:

    Mogensen’s choice of Prokofiev’s Three Oranges scherzo is inspired. Of course, Prokofiev gave the accordion (along with balalaikas) a significant role in his magnificent Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution, op. 74.

  • Harrison Boyle says:

    The accordion seems to be gaining in academe as well, this young woman, on the roster of a well-respected non-profit classical music organization her in Philadelphia, apparently has a doctoral degree in Accordion performance – see link for full info.