Home » Jazz Articles » William Schimmel: Theater of the Accordion


Album Review

William Schimmel: Theater of the Accordion


Sign in to view read count
William Schimmel: Theater of the Accordion
Long-time instructor at Julliard and all-around guru of the accordion, Dr. William Schimmel is a musical force of nature. Not a household name? Go to YouTube and type in "Scent of a Woman Tango" and watch the clip. Schimmel is sitting on the right of the band. That is who he is. He plays the accordion. Or, maybe that's too simple. Here is an extract of the liner notes by the maestro himself, placing the accordion into certain perspective:

"The accordion is theater—not just part of theater—but theater itself. It's a living sentient being with its own lungs, its own soul, mind, diaspora of memories, smells and dispositions. It needs no costume. It is the costume that we wear. It needs no words to tell stories although words are always welcome. Blind Homer would feel at home with the archetypical blind accordionist. And it's the ultimate Brechtian machine with just enough déclassé for alienation. The accordion has your number and don't you forget it"

Yeah. Schimmel is a bit of a character also. But this text is not the only indication of that. The repertoire Schimmel has chosen for his present recording Theater of the Accordion is an intellectual session of group therapy. Schimmel touches Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier, Berg's Wozzeck and Berstein's Candide Overture and those are just the show tunes! He quotes Busoni on "Sonata for Fiddler," Schoenberg on "Accordion to Schoenberg" and Bartok om "MicroBela." It does not require a college degree to enjoy this music, but a music appreciation class sure is helpful.

Schimmel's playing is without compare as is his intellect and sense of humor. He even brings on Wynton Marsalis in on "The St. Louis Blues" where he pulls the tango bridge out of the bridge and threads it through the whole piece. Marsalis also joins him on "Mahler 9" and what else is there to say...

Track Listing

Der Rosenkavalier; St. Louis Blues; Wozzeck, The Winner; Sonata for Fiddler; Discarded Melody; According to Schoenberg; MicroBella; Carnical of Venice; Classical Bluegrass; Candide Overature; Malher 9.


William Schimmel: accordion; Wynton Marsalis: trumpet (2, 10).

Album information

Title: Theater of the Accordion | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Roven Productions

Post a comment about this album

Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.



Borrowed Roses
Gonzalo Rubalcaba
Where Are We
Joshua Redman
Polarity 2
Ivo Perelman / Nate Wooley


Double Portrait
Giuseppe Millaci and the Vogue Trio
Afro Futuristic Dreams
Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids
Pharoah (Box Set)
Pharoah Sanders
Dynamic Maximum Tension
Darcy James Argue's Secret Society

On the record

Vibes on a Breath
Ted Piltzecker
Jonathan Karrant
Brazilian Match
Luiz Millan
Double Portrait
Giuseppe Millaci and the Vogue Trio

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.