The Art of Accordion Playing

Willoughby Ann Walshe, born 1937 in San Jose, California , was raised by cross-cultural parents: father (born in Lebanon ) a dentist and mother (with German, English, and Irish background) a psychologist. Exhibiting a love for music at the age of four, she began playing the keyboard instruments (accordion, piano, and organ ) that her parents had home. Her mother was an amateur violinist; her grandfather a successful musician in vaudeville times.

Willoughby Ann received qualified music instruction and achieved considerable skill. While accordion was principally considered an instrument for performing folk music at that time,she devoted ever more time to the piano and organ to realize her interest in classical music. After graduating from high school, she studied psychology and philosophy at institution in California and New York. During her studies, she worked at different companies, finally starting on a career path in journalism, which led to the position of editor in chief of a computer-business oriented magazine. Nevertheless, she remained passionately connected with her music hobby.

In1957, Willoughby Ann traveled for the first time to Germany, where she became fascinated with the country and its culture . At every opportunity , she returned , experiencing the Bayreuth Wagner Festival seven times, attending hundreds of operas and concert halls, and visiting art museums and architectural attractions. She learned German in order to read German philosophy in the original language.

Since 1984, when she became editor of the business magazine Made in Germany, published in English and distributed throughout the world from Dreieich near Frankfurt, she lived and worked in Germany. Attending various music festivals and accordion competitions, she learned the accordion had in the meantime developed to an outstanding instrument for classical music. The instrument once again gained importance to her when she acquired a bayan instrument and continued her music studies as student o German-Russian concert bayan-accordionist Waldemar Heldt.

Willoughby Ann has devoted a great deal of time and effort to realizing this English edition of Friedrich Lips’ book , because she is convinced it will further the development of the accordion as classical music instrument. In reflecting on this work, she comments “In compiling the text, I often felt like I was working on a four-movement composition where Lips is the composer and I am the interpreter.”

Frankfurt, May 2000

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