Carmen Carrozza

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Carmen Carrozza (July 20, 1921 – June 17, 2013) was one of America's premiere concert accordionists, before he retired from performing after suffering a stroke.[1] He was born in the village of Solano Reggio di Calabria, Calabria, Italy in 1921 and emigrated to America with his family at age 9, settling in the "Golden House" in Chappaqua, New York. He played piano and violin, but soon became enamored with the accordion's flexibility, how it could fit perfectly into an orchestra or sound like an orchestra itself.

Carrozza studied under Pietro Deiro who was one of the pioneers of the accordion in the United States. He has appeared as soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra, under the direction of Arthur Fiedler, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the National Symphony Orchestra (United States) at Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.). He has also appeared with the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Andre Kostelanetz, premiering the "Rubaiyat", written by Alan Hovhaness and narrated by Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. in Washington D.C. and for former NYC Mayor John Lindsay in New York. He has concertized throughout Europe and was presented with a gold medal in Italy after an outstanding performance at the Teatro di Pavia. One of the high points in Mr. Carrozza's distinguished career was a concert in The Town Hall in New York City where he performed all original accordion works by many outstanding American composers including Robert Russell Bennett, Paul Creston, Virgil Thompson and many others.

Carrozza retired from touring in the 1980s, but in the summer of 1994 he was called back to the road, playing three weeks of festivals with Jörgen Sundeqvist in Sweden. He was surprised they knew so much about him. "They had music I wrote when I was knee-high and recordings I had forgotten about myself."

Carrozza was president of the American Accordionists Association (AAA), a national organization dedicated to the development of the accordion. He continued to promote the accordion through educational workshops at schools, college and private music studios until his death. In addition, he was the director of the Northern Westchester School of Yorktown. Until his death, he resided in Thornwood, New York with his wife Jean. He had two grown children, Carmen and Marianne.


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