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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" original pdf 2000 updated pdf2023
AAFJ 2001: “The 8th Commission: William Grant Still: Aria" original pdf2001 updated pdf2022
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 updated pdf2023
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 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" pdf2005, updated pdf2022
AAFJ 2006: “The 19th Commission: George Kleinsinger: Prelude & Sarabande" original pdf2006 updated pdf2022
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: "Toccata" original pdf 2008 updated pdf2022
AAFJ 2009: “The 21st Commission: Robert Russell Bennett: Quintet for Accordion & String Quartet (subtitle: Psychiatry)” original pdf 2009
AAFJ 2010: “The 22nd Commission: Normand Lockwood: Sonata-Fantasiapdf 2010 updated pdf2022
AAFJ 2011: “The 23rd Commission: Nicholas Flagello: Introduction & Scherzo and the less detailed original article pdf 2011
AAFJ 2012: “The 24th Commission: Paul Creston: Fantasy, for Accordion & Orchestra or Solo Accordion" pdf 2012
AAFJ 2013: “Carmen Carrozza and the AAA Composers Commissioning Committee: A Personal Remembrance” pdf 2013
AAFJ 2014: “The 25th and 31st Commissions: Alexander Tcherepnin: Invention and Tzigane pdf 2014 updated pdf2022
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: Liltoriginal pdf2015 updated pdf2022
AAFJ 2016 “The 30th Commission: José Serebrier: Passacaglia & Perpetuum Mobile, for Accordion & Chamber Orchestra” pdf 2016 and updated pdf2023
AAFJ 2017: “The 32nd Commission: Paul Creston: Embryo Suite, and a Personal Appreciation of the Composer’s Contribution to the Classical Accordion” original pdf 2017 updated pdf2022
AAFJ 2018: “The 33rd Commission: Joel Brickman: Prelude & Caprice pdf 2018 updated pdf2022
AAFJ 2019: “The 34th and 35th Commissions: William Schimmel: Fables; John Franceschina: Scaramouchepdf 2019 updated pdf2022

"2. Additional articles by McMahan in AAA and other publications pertaining to the accordion in the contemporary classical music scene. (The annual AAA Festival Journal will be abbreviated as "AAFJ" in the "Year" column for entries therein.)"

Year Article Name/Information
AAFJ 1998: "Accordion Samba - Gary William Friedman" pdf 1998
1999: "Classical Music for Accordion by African-American Composers: The Accordion Works of William Grant Still (1895-1978) and Ronald Roxbury (1946-1986)." The Free-Reed Journal, vol. 1, Center for the Study of Free-Reed Instruments, City College of New York.
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. pdf 2001
2001 "Idiomatic Use of the Accordion in Atonal Music: A Study of Toccata by Ernst Krenek, and a Work by the Writer." Robert Young McMahan. In Musical Performance, an International Journal, vol. 3, parts 2-4, The Accordion in All of Its Guises; Editor in Chief, Basil Tschaikov; Issue Editor, Malcolm Miller. 2001.
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. pdf 2002
2002: Book Review: The Art of Accordion Playing, author Prof. Friedrich Lips (Russia). This book review was first published in the Free Reed Journal in 2002 by Robert Young McMahan and updated in 2022.
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. pdf 2005
AAFJ 2006: “Elsie Bennett: A Personal Remembrance.” Memorial tribute. pdf 2006
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. pdf 2008
AAFJ 2009: "CUNY Concert No. 4 Big Success Despite Small Audience." Review of concert and pre-concert panel discussion. pdf 2009
AAFJ 2015: “Faithe Deffner: A Personal Remembrance.” Memorial tribute. pdf 2015
AAFJ 2016: “Latest Work Commissioned by the AAA Composers Commissioning Committee: Three Tributes, by Guy Klusevsek.” Description of the composition. pdf 2016
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. pdf 2018

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

Upcoming Events

2024 AAA 86th Festival, July 12-14, 2024 West Conshohocken, PA in the Philadelphia Area

2024 Elsie M. Bennett Accordion Composition Competition. Information and entry: Entry closing date, April 12, 2024.

2023 AAA 85th Anniversary Festival Daily Reports

July 12-16, 2023
Marriott Philadelphia West
Conshohocken, PA 19428

2023 AAA Color Journal (47 pages)
Wednesday July 12, Daily Report
Thursday July 13, Daily Report
Friday July 14, Daily Report
Saturday July 15, Daily Report
Sunday July 16, Daily Report

AAA History Articles

Historical Articles about the AAA by AAA Historian Joan Grauman Morse

Music Commissions

Original works commissioned by the AAA since 1957

Recent articles:
Alexander Tcherepnin: Invention, Tzigane
Joel Brickman: Prelude & Caprice

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