Accordion, nowadays, has its own renaissance - Zoltan Orosz

Zoltan Orosz has inherited the love of the accordion from his father, who noticed early the outstanding talent of his son. Zoltan was four years old when he got his first accordion with 8 basses. In 1977, when he was only 11 years old, he started his studies at a Bela Bartok music conservatory in Budapest. There, he mastered playing not only the accordion, but the organ as well. In 1992 he founded the "Podium Duo" with guitarist Gabor Ursu. The repertoire is featured by the permanent motto of their appearances: "Well-known melodies on accordion in virtuoso interpretation". To meet their motto, Zoltan and Gabor attempt to prove that the accordion can be used in nearly all genres of music. They are playing French musettes, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish pieces and tangos. In their program, fiery South-American tunes, ragtime and classical adaptations follow each other in harmonious neighborhood. 

From Singapore to Paris the Duo has appeared in numerous cities of the world, but their most loved place to give concerts is Hungary. In March 2000 they got the very prestigious “eMeRTon” award from Radio Hungary as the “Nostalgy Band of the Year. During the last couple of years Zoltan won the first prize of "Hungarian International Accordion Competition" consequently three times. 

How did your tryst with accordion happen? What were your initial inspirations?

I got acquainted with the accordion at my age of 2 or 3 as my Father was also an accordionist. I got my very first instrument also from him, and it meant a lot to me that in my childhood I could play and practice together with him. He has been my example, for his human and musical values, forever throughout my life.

One of the biggest problems of accordion world is that it is quite isolated from the general music world. In effect, many accordion players feel like they are considered to be at a lower level in respect piano or strings. What is your opinion?

Accordion, nowadays, has its own Renaissance. At last, contemporary composers also started realizing the extreme richness and diverse nature of this instrument, as it can be used anywhere from jazz to folk and film music, and it can even be used as a solo orchestra single-handedly. Its quality of dynamism and richness of expression, in expert hands, can play a significant role in any genre, that is why I have been lucky to give concerts in various genres all over the world from Siberia to Singapore. It has been a great happiness and honor for me to get a very positive response also from Indian audience, and at the end of the concerts, I feel, their standing ovation is not only a great appreciation, but in the same time, also a great responsibility for me: the openness and recognition by this music-loving audience is a real treasure for me that I am valuing and respecting a lot. 

The Accordion is an instrument that is often connected to folk music, but in reality its applications are much broader, such as accordion players in (for example) jazz and pop music show. Can you please talk a bit about the possibilities the accordion offers as an instrument?

The structure of accordion is made in such a way that its pipes sound with the help of air, therefore the dynamism and expression of the instrument are very similar to a singer's performance. 

As far as I am concerned, I have been giving concerts with accordion in the world in all types of genres, from Vivaldi to French chanson, from Jazz to the Balkan folk music, to pop music, and I can state that this instrument has proved its right of existence in various musical styles. It's a special honor for me that after one of my concerts in Delhi, this fantastic guitar artist Susmit Sen requested me to participate in the music of his next album, and also, to participate jointly with him in one of India's greatest music festivals. After our first rehearsal together, it has also been proved that accordion holds its own stand even in progressive rock, based on Rajasthani folk music, giving a particular special new shade to this enchanting musical world. 

I, along with the Hungarian Information and Cultural Centre, New Delhi, have been searching for new possibilities to explore avenues that would enable us to present the music treasures and culture of both countries to a much broader audience, and also, our aim is to  publish all the treasures that have been created as a result of this musical interaction between the two countries

Your advice for aspiring accordion players?

My Father told me at my age of  four that there are both good as well as bad (music) notes living in this instrument, therefore we have to be very careful that only the good notes should be allowed to come out, as these released notes would travel around the world and would come across our way one day. When I asked him how to do it that I should release only the good notes from the instrument, he answered: "One has to live like that..."

This is the hardest homework, I ever got from him... And I keep on practicing according to this every day, ever since...

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