“Richard Galliano has changed the course of accordion history. Today we can speak of ‘before’ and ’after’ Galliano.” — Yasuhiro Kobayashi, accordionist and musician accompanist of the singer Björk
It was my dearest wish: to give a fair place to this instrument, unjustly qualified as the “poor man’s piano,” whereas my accordion has always been a Steinway with braces.
I was determined to restore the image of my instrument, so I left my native village and “went up to Paris” like many others. There I had the chance to meet artists who quickly put their trust in me: accordionists like Jo Basile, singers like Claude Nougaro, Serge Reggiani, Barbara, and jazzmen like Chet Baker, Charlie Haden, Ron Carter and Michel Portal.
Then, in the early 1980s, there was the collaboration and the birth of a friendship with Astor Piazzolla, and a close collaboration on several creations: Famille d’Artistes, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Three Preludes for concert accordion, and Ballet Tango for four accordions.
The years 2010 to 2016 were devoted to the realization of four albums (Bach, Vivaldi, Nino Rota, Mozart), at the initiative of the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon label.
This intense production reminded me of my very first recording — made in Bonson, a small village in the Alpes-Maritimes, in 1979 — a 45 rpm record in which I interpreted one of my compositions Trois Images pour accordéon, the Prélude du Tombeau de Couperin by Maurice Ravel, and Docteur Gradus ad Parnassum by Claude Debussy.
The concerts I give today recount the story of an artist’s life, mine, the itinerary of a child animated by the passion of music, and of all the music itself.
My friend Pierre Barouh wrote a very beautiful text entitled L’Allégresse on my composition Il Piccolo Circo. He used to say at the time, “It’s incredible to see the number of countries that have made the accordion their national instrument.” He was so right. Indeed, the accordion is omnipresent in the popular music of Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, China, Russia, Ukraine, and in the Balkans.
With this experience and all the concerts I have given on the five continents in my 50 years of career, I invite you to share my music.
— Richard Galliano