Henry Doktorski
Organist Accordionist Composer Conductor Author Educator
Museum Celebrates Acquisition with Recital
Doktorski with Pietro and Guido's accordions
Doktorski with Pietro and Guido's accordions.
Henry Doktorski presented a lecture/workshop and performed a solo accordion recital at the Hanni Strahl Concert Hall at A World of Accordions Museum (Superior, Wisconsin) on Sunday, April 3, 2005, to help commemorate the museum's acquisition of two historic accordions formerly owned by Guido and Pietro Deiro.

The two Italian-American brothers, Guido (1886-1950) and Pietro (1888-1954) Deiro (pronounced “Day-ee-ro”) are considered by many to be the two greatest pioneers of the piano-accordion, because they introduced the instrument to probably hundreds of thousands of people throughout North America and abroad during their vaudeville performances during the early twentieth century.

Guido, the elder brother, who coined the name “piano-accordion,” was the first piano-accordionist to play solo on the vaudeville stage (May 1910), the first to make records (Edison cylinders 1911), and the first to play on radio (Detroit 1922). Pietro, who learned to play the instrument from his brother, followed in Guido’s footsteps and also became a famous vaudeville star, and later, after the demise of vaudeville during the Great Depression, established an immensely successful accordion music publishing company, Pietro Deiro Publications.

The two historic accordions played by Guido and Pietro, built by the Guerrini Company in San Francisco in 1926 and 1917 respectively, were donated to A World of Accordions Museum by Guido’s son, Count Guido Roberto Deiro (in collaboration with Dr. Allan A. Atlas, curator of the Deiro Archive at the Center for the Study of Free-Reed Instruments at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York), and Pietro’s granddaughter, Sandra Deiro Cattani.

On Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. Doktorski presented a lecture on the two brothers and demonstrated the two historic accordions. Doktorski said, "It was a real treat for me, as an envoy for the generous Count Guido Roberto Deiro and Sandra Deiro Cattani, to deliver these two historic instruments to A World of Accordions Museum, and present a workshop and recital featuring the music of the celebrated Deiro brothers. Guido and Pietro Deiro were two of America's greatest accordionists during their day, and these instruments are priceless relics from the Golden Age of the Accordion. They are quite different in many ways from modern accordions, but they also have their own unique charm and distinctive personality. Just look at the artistic decorations on the grill! In addition, the sound is not muted by a tone chamber, and the instruments project well in a large hall."

Doktorski’s 3 p.m. recital at the Hanni Strahl Concert Hall on Sunday afternoon featured original compositions of Guido and Pietro Deiro, and included many of their celebrated marches, waltzes, polkas, tangos, foxtrots and overtures.


    Guido Deiro:

      My Florence Waltz
      Los Bomberos March
      Deirina Mazurka
      Deiro Rag
      Neapolitan Polka

    Pietro Deiro:

      Pietro's Return March
      Beautiful Days Waltz
      Quick Silver Novelette
      Celestina Polka
      Imperia Overture

    Guido Deiro:

      Preparedness March
      Moonlight Waltz
      Lola Fox Trot
      Tango Tosino
      Sharpshooter's March

Doktorski is intimately familiar with Guido Deiro's original compositions, as he recorded Guido Deiro’s complete works, Vaudeville Accordion Classics, a double CD set of which was released in November 2003 by Bridge Records. He is currently editing Guido Deiro’s complete works for publication by the music publishers Theodore Presser Company.

He concluded, "Perhaps I should mention that I performed the recital on my 1978 Victoria accordion, as the two Guerrini instruments, although restored to a great extent, are very difficult to play, partly due to archaic construction and non-standard key size. However, I played the two historic instruments during the Sunday 1 p.m. lecture/workshop."

Hanni Strahl Concert Hall
The Hanni Strahl Concert Hall at A World of Accordions Museum.

A World of Accordions Museum founder and curator, the distinguished accordionist, educator, author, scholar and historian, Dr. Helmi Strahl Harrington (who received her Ph.D. in Musicology at the University of Texas and an honorary degree from the Staedtische Musikschule Trossingen in Germany), wrote:

    April 15, 2005

    Dear Henry,

    Your appearance at Harrington ARTS Center was so much more than I expected! The lecture-demonstration of the two historic accordions could not have been better--touched with humor and real scholarship. The Deiro brothers came to life for us all through your words. Those who bought your CDs told me they listened several times already and continue to be delighted at the inventiveness of the pieces as well as the musicality of your performances.

    Every time I hear you play, you are more articulate, clean and precise, and interpretively astute. This is very admirable -- and rare. Your concert was a delight. Thank you for being such a fine representative in the accordion world.

A reception followed the 3 p.m. concert. For more information about A World of Accordions Museum, contact Dr. Helmi Strahl Harrington at 218-393-0245 or accordion@sprynet.com.

Dr. Harrington wrote a detailed review of Doktorski's lecture and recital, which was posted on the Accordion World . Org website. To read her review, Click Here.

For booking information and teaching inquiries
see Contact Henry Doktorski.


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