- Johann Sebastian Bach Arr. Corbett: Prelude and Fugue in Eb Major, BWV 552 “St Anne”
- Victor Vlasov: Gulag Suite
- Isaac Albeniz: Cordoba
- Isaac Albeniz: Asturias
- Igor Stravinsky Arr. Gajic/Corbett: Petrushka
- The Shrovetide Fair
- Petrushka’s Cell
- The Moor’s Quarters
- The Shrovetide Fair and Petrushka’s Death
This concert is sponsored by the The Countess of Munster Musical Trust .
by Malcolm Cotterill
No! Not a pair of squeeze boxes! Nothing to do with the fairground, buskers or the oompah band! These were the classical instruments in the hands of two maestri. And what hands! Under the right a 47 note keyboard. Under the left, 120 buttons. In between, bellows as sensitive as anything you will ever squeeze!
On the 22nd April in St Andrew’s, Curry Rivel, eyes were opened, ears entranced and prejudices ditched when Ryan Corbett – Countess of Munster Musical Trust artiste and BBC Young Generation artiste (go to his website) – and Djordje Gajic – his Serbian Professor at the Scottish Conservatoire – demonstrated compellingly why their instruments should be seen and heard as emotionally compelling as the violin, as versatile as the piano and as tuneful as any other instrument in the orchestra.
Of course, as a “new” instrument, circa 1800, it was not available to Bach but he would have been proud to hear his St Anne’s Prelude and Fugue as it was heard in 2023. “New” music generally sounds like more of a threat than a promise of delight but those composers given the task of writing for these remarkable instruments comprising 10,000 parts have come up with music which is mistakable for the organ, the strings, the woodwinds and the brass. Even the percussion gets an airing when a few fingers can be spared from their multitude of tasks. That performed by our duo was not just agreeable but appealing. Those who were present were delighted – many surprised at their delight – and all with a transformed view of an instrument that has been relegated to the third division for far too long. It was a memorable event.
Here’s a taste of what we enjoyed, from Radio 3, forward to 1:49:00.
Djordje Gajic (accordion)
Djordje Gajic began his musical studies in Serbia at the age of six, finally graduating from the Russian Academy of Music in 1993 with a Master of Music degree and the Honorary Title of Solo Performer.He continued his post-graduate studies at the Gnessin Russian Academy of Music and was appointed Assistant to Professor Yuri Dranga.
Djordje has performed with several acclaimed orchestras and ensembles including the Russian State Symphony Orchestra (under the baton of Yvgeny Svetlanov), Royal Scottish National Orchestra,BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra (BBC Proms, London), the Fibonacci Sequence Ensemble, Locrian Ensemble, Research Ensemble and Hebrides Ensemble, et al. He is a prolific recitalist throughout Europe (Andorra, Holland, France, Germany, Poland, Latvia, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Italy, Malta, Norway and Britain) and also in Australia, Russia, Bahrain, and Tunisia.
Since arriving in Britain Djordje has given solo recitals across the United Kingdom and performed at many of the international music festivals including: Darlington, Norwich, Salisbury, Buxton, and Birmingham. Djordje currently teaches at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Edinburgh University, Douglas Academy and St.Mary’s Music School. He gives masterclasses in the UK, Italy, Germany, China, Serbia and Russia, and is frequently invited to sit on the jury for international competitions. In 1988 he co-founded the International Summer School and Competitions in Kragujevac, Serbia, and in 2013 started Scotland’s first international summer school for classical accordion at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.He regularly participates in seminars and workshops for composers, and promotes classical accordion in schools, universities, and festivals. Djordje performs as asoloist and in duo AdLibitum with the violinist Andrea Gajic.
Ryan Corbett (accordion)
Born in Glasgow, Ryan Corbett is a classical accordionist who has been described as “one of Scotland’s most exciting young musicians” (The Scotsman). This year he graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where he is continuing with his postgraduate studies. Previously, he studied at the Music School of Douglas Academy and St Mary’s Music School. Ryan began playing accordion aged eleven and was self-taught until he started learning with Djordje Gajic at the age of fourteen.
Ryan was awarded the Keyboard Prize, first prize and Gold Medal at the Royal Over-Seas League Annual Music Competition, first prize at the Bromsgrove International Musicians’ competition and prizes at international accordion competitions in Italy, Germany, and China. Ryan is a Tillet Debut scheme artist, Munster Trust Recital Scheme artist and the first accordionist to be part of the prestigious BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist scheme since its launch in 1999.
Ryan has given solo concerts across Europe at venues including the Berlin Philharmonie and he looks forward to upcoming concerts at Wigmore Hall, Kings Place, Bath Festival, St Magnus Festival, Buxton Festival, Cambridge Summer Music Festival, Ryedale Festival, Lake District Summer Music Festival, Oxford Lieder, Edinburgh Festival and Lammermuir Festival. Ryan recorded Bach’s fourth keyboard concerto with the Berliner Symphoniker as part of the Piazzolla centenary celebrations and performed Vaclav Trojan’s accordion concerto with the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland. As a New Generation Artist, he will be introduced to a wide audience through radio broadcasts, appearances at major festivals and performances with BBC orchestras.
In 2021 Ryan formed an accordion duo with Djordje Gajic; its repertoire features an arrangement of Stravinsky’s ballet ‘Petrushka’ and Ryan’s own arrangement of Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in Eb ‘St Anne’ which was described as “musically unified and utterly compelling” (Seen and Heard International). Ryan also arranged Rameau’s ‘Entrée de Polymnie’ from ‘Les Boréades’ for three accordions which was performed for HRH The Prince of Wales during his official visit to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.Other chamber projects have resulted in performances at private events for Sir Jackie Stewart and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. Ryan plays a Bayan Spectrum classical piano accordion made by Bugari Armando in Castelfidardo, Italy. This was made possible by the generous support of private sponsors, the John Mather Trust, and Dewar Arts Awards. Ryan is grateful to the Cross Trust, Drake Calleja Trust, Countess of Munster Musical Trust, RCS Scholarship Fund and Help Musicians UK for supporting his studies.