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Articles by Robert Young McMahan

Dr Robert Young McMahan

(Chair, AAA Composers’ Commission Committee)
on Contemporary Classical Works for or Including Accordion Commissioned by the AAA, Plus Other Related Articles

NOTE: All of the articles listed below appeared in one or the other issue of the annual AAA Festival Journal that all AAA members receive every year (excepting 2020 and 2021 when the Festival itself was canceled due to the Covid 19 pandemic).

Click on articles in red for instant links to the texts. All other titles are still in preparation for electronic access until they, too, appear here in red.

1. Historical and analytical series of articles by McMahan on the AAA commissioned works originally appearing every year from 1997 through 2019 in the AAA Festival Journal (hereafter, referred to as “AAAFJ,” plus year). Newly revised and expanded. All examined compositions are solos unless otherwise indicated. The articles follow the chronological order in which the works were commissioned.

Year Article Name/Information
AAFJ 1997: “The Quest to Build a Contemporary Serious Repertoire for the Accordion” pdf 1997
AAFJ 1998: The First [AAA] Commission: Prelude and Dance, by Paul Creston
AAFJ 1999: “The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Commissions: Wallingford Riegger: Cooper Square Paul Creston: Concerto for Accordion & Orchestra or Band (1958); Virgil Thomson: Lamentationspdf 1999
AAFJ 2000: “The 5th, 6th, and 7th Commissions: Carlos Surinach: Pavana and Rondo; Robert Russell Bennett: Four Nocturnes; Henry Cowell: Iridescent Rondo" pdf 2000
AAFJ 2001: “The 8th Commission: William Grant Still: Aria" pdf 2001
AAFJ 2002: “The 9th, 10th, and 11th Commissions: Henry Cowell: Concerto Brevis, for Accordion & Orchestra; Otto Luening: Rondo; Paul Pisk: Salute to Juan" pdf 2002
AAFJ 2003: “The 12th, 13th, and 14th Commissions: Alexander Tcherepnin: Partita; Henry Brant: Sky Forrest, for accordion quartet; Elie Siegmeister: Improvisation, Ballade, & Dance String Quartet; Louis Gordon: Aria, Scherzo, & Finale, for Accordion & Orchestra" pdf 2003
AAFJ 2004: “The 15th and 16th Commissions: David Diamond: Night Music, for Accordion & String Quartet; Louis B. Gordon: Aria, Scherzo & Finale, for Accordion & Orchestra” pdf 2004
AAFJ 2005: “The 17th and 18th Commissions: Paul Pisk: Adagio & Rondo Concertante, for 2 Accordions & Orchestra; David Diamond: Sonatina" pdf 2005
AAFJ 2006: “The 19th Commission: George Kleinsinger: Prelude & Sarabande" pdf 2006
AAFJ 2007: [No commissioned works article in this edition due to extensive preparations by AAA personnel to host the 2007 CIA Coupe Mondiale international competitions in Alexandria, Virginia]
AAFJ 2008: “The 20th Commission: Ernst Krenek: Toccatapdf 2008
AAFJ 2009: “The 21st Commission: Robert Russell Bennett: Quintet for Accordion & String Quartet (subtitle: Psychiatry)” pdf 2009
AAFJ 2010: “The 22nd Commission: Normand Lockwood: Sonata-Fantasiapdf 2010
AAFJ 2011: “The 23rd Commission: Nicholas Flagello: Introduction & Scherzo
AAFJ 2012: “The 24th Commission: Paul Creston: Fantasy, for Accordion & Orchestra or Solo Accordion"
AAFJ 2013: “Carmen Carrozza and the AAA Composers Commissioning Committee: A Personal Remembrance”
AAFJ 2014: “The 25th and 31st Commissions: Alexander Tcherepnin: Invention and Tzigane
AAFJ 2015: “The 26th, 27th, 28th, and 29th Commissions: Carlos Surinach: Prelude of the Sea; David Diamond: Introduction & Dance; José Serebrier: Danza Ritual; William Grant Still: Lilt
AAFJ 2016 “The 30th Commission: José Serebrier: Passacaglia & Perpetuum Mobile, for Accordion & Chamber Orchestra”
AAFJ 2017: “The 32nd Commission: Paul Creston: Embryo Suite, and a Personal Appreciation of the Composer’s Contribution to the Classical Accordion”
AAFJ 2018: “The 33rd Commission: Joel Brickman: Prelude & Caprice
AAFJ 2019: “The 34th and 35th Commissions: William Schimmel: Fables; John Franceschina: Scaramouche

2. Additional articles by McMahan appearing in several issues of the AAA Festival Journal pertaining to other aspects of the contemporary classical accordion, and often beyond AAA commissioned works.

Year Article Name/Information
AAFJ 2001: “The Accordion and the Italian-Americans: A Representation and Appreciation.” Review of “The Accordion as an Icon of Italian American Culture,” a program of scholarly papers and performances at the City University of New York (CUNY). My unabridged program notes from the program handout of the event also included.
AAFJ 2002: “A Significant Concert of Contemporary Music for Accordion and Cello.” My review of a concert by Modernworks at the African Museum, featuring Finnish accordionist Mikko Luomo and New York cellist Madeleine Shapiro. Included world premiere of Buttons and Bows, by Charles Wuorinen.
AAFJ 2004: “From Frosini to Foss: A Half Century of Contemporary Music for the Accordion.” Description of upcoming second annual program of contemporary original works for or including accordion, produced by McMahan, to take place at CUNY March 11, 2005; and review of the first program in the series, which took place October 10, 2003
AAFJ 2005: “From Frosini to Foss: A Half Century of Contemporary Music for the Accordion.” Review of the concert. Distinguished composer Lukas Foss was present. “Elsie Bennett Retires as Chair of the AAA Composers Commissioning Committee and is Appointed Chair Emeritus.” Tribute to Elsie Bennett.
AAFJ 2006: “Elsie Bennett: A Personal Remembrance.” Memorial tribute.
AAFJ 2008: “The Fourth Contemporary Concert.” A preview of the fourth and final concert of original contemporary classical music for or including accordion and pre-concert panel discussion at CUNY. Distinguished guest composer Samuel Adler was present.
AAFJ 2009: "CUNY Concert No. 4 Big Success Despite Small Audience." Review of concert and pre-concert panel discussion.
AAFJ 2015: “Faithe Deffner: A Personal Remembrance.” Memorial tribute.
AAFJ 2016: “Latest Work Commissioned by the AAA Composers Commissioning Committee: Three Tributes<.em>, by Guy Klusevsek.” Description of the composition.
AAFJ 2018: A Brief History of the American Accordionists’ Association Composers Commissioning Committee
“Lou and Me: A Personal Memoir and Tribute.” A tribute to my accordion mentor and lifelong friend, Louis F. Coppola

The AAA Composers’ Commissioning Committee welcomes donations from all those who love the classical accordion and wish to see its modern original concert repertoire continue to grow. The American Accordionists’ Association is a 501(c)(3) corporation. All contributions are tax deductible to the extent of the law. They can easily be made by visiting the AAA Store at which allows you to both make your donation and receive your tax deductible receipt on the spot.

For additional information, please contact Dr. McMahan at

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