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Richard Galliano – famous accordionist back to Tbilisi

By Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, November 9
Tbilisi Concert Hall will host the famous French accordion player Richard Galliano with La Strada Quintet on November 11. Tagiss Arts and Projector Group, the organizers of the concert promise unforgettable evening on this Friday. Having gathered a cosmopolitan jazz band with a Brit living in Norway (John Surman), a Russian living in New York (Boris Kozlov) and two Americans (Dave Douglas and Clarence Penn) the most famous jazz accordion player in the world will offer a new adaptation of Nina Rota’s music themes of the movie La Strada (The Road) as well as his other beautiful soundtracks from Federico Fellini’s other masterpieces.

As the son of an Italian-born accordion teacher, Richard started playing the amazing instrument at the age of four. Feeling admiration towards Astor Piazzola, creator of the Tango Nuevo, Galliano managed to rid the accordion of its old-fashioned image and introduced a whole new rhythmic concept and harmonic style necessary for jazz. By demonstrating his new approach on the CD New Mussete that he recorded with his colleagues, it won Gialliano the Prize for French Musician of the Year at the age of 29 in 1993.

This was followed by a series of albums where Galliano played his trademark Victoria accordion adapting the instrument to “freedom of jazz”. His confidence, mastery of phrasing and ability to get a vast range of tone-colors from his extraordinary instrument, has broken down musical barriers across all genres. Having gained an international reputation Galliano presented his compositions accompanied by chamber orchestra with the pieces of Astor Piazzolla. In his 2003 homage Piazzolla Forever, Galliano went back to playing the music of his mentor.

Acknowledged as “an exceptionally versatile musician” Richard Galliano has made his mark in all kind of musical contexts from solo appearances to playing with big bands. The famous musician continues exploring a vast range of music without losing the lyrical quality that influences the ballads on Love Day that he recorded with Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Charlie Hayden and Mino Cinelu, or the French Touch which allowed him to make the links between Billie Holiday and Edith Piaf, with the trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. Keen to pass on his wealth of experience, Richard Galliano co-authored with his father an accordion method which won the SACEM prize for Best Pedagogical Work in 2009.

With a Tribute to Nino Rota, whose one hundredth anniversary is being celebrated this year, Richard Galliano will amaze the Georgian audience in Tbilisi. For his second album on the prestigious classical label Deutsche Grammophen, the accordionist received full credit to honor the music of Nino Rota – one of the most creative and inspired composers of the 20th century. With almost 150 soundtracks, 23 ballets and about 10 operas Rota won Oscars, Grammys and Golden Globe Awards. One of the most significant Italian musicians of the modern epoch Nino Rota also composed music scores for some of the famous films of Federico Fellini, Franco Zeffirelli and Luchino Visconti.

“It will be Richard Galliano’s fourth visit to Tbilisi. First the famous accordion player performed for the Georgian audience with Quartet Tangaria in 2006. By sharing amazing themes of Astor Piazzola and other tango melodies with great virtuosity Galliano received great appreciation from the audience of Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre. The next year Galliano was still invited with septet Piazzola Forever, followed in 2010 by the concert with Didier Lockwood (violin) and Bireli Lagrene (guitar) at Rustaveli National Theatre,” Ani Lagidze – impresario of Richard Galliano in Georgia told The Messenger.