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Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011

Accordionist Stas Venglevski's Classical Side

'Music From Almost Yesterday' highlights Milwaukee master

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Look out, Lawrence Welk: There is a new accordion hero in town—Stas Venglevski. And his repertoire is, if anything, wider than Welk's songbook. Born in Moldova in the former Soviet Union, Venglevski won awards in his homeland for his mastery of the bayan, a Russian button accordion with greater range than its Western counterparts. He didn't confine himself to playing bars and outdoor festivals, though he's never been adverse to either. A graduate of Moscow's Russian Academy of Music, with a master's degree in music, Venglevski studied under the renowned Russian bayanist Friedrich Lips.

Venglevski's works include original compositions spanning a range of classical and ethnic influences. In addition to his homeland, he has toured Western Europe, Canada and the United States, and worked with Doc Severinsen, Steve Allen and Garrison Keillor. He's been a local treasure since moving to Milwaukee after the Soviet Union dissolved.

For his upcoming concert, as part of the "Music From Almost Yesterday" series, Venglevski will be supported by Mikhail Litvin on mandolin, Dana McCormick on piano and Roza Borisova on cello. The program will include an international repertory of chamber music for bayan, with a world premiere of "Suite for Mandolin and Accordion" by UW-Milwaukee music professor Yehuda Yannay.

The concert will be held 3 p.m. Sept. 18 at Recital Hall of UW-Milwaukee's Peck School of the Arts (2400 E. Kenwood Blvd.).

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