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Joan Grauman, AAA Historian As the organization’s historian, I have been writing historical articles on events that led up to the creation of the AAA and were important for the AAA. This includes some of its influential members, as well as special events throughout the decades, and more.
Joan Grauman, AAA Historian

Professor Joan Cochran Sommers
Consummate musician, educator, arranger and conductor

Originally printed in 2018.

I have had the utmost fortune to be able to play under the baton of this delightful, dynamic, demanding and brilliant conductor of accordion orchestras on many occasions. I always look forward to these experiences with tremendous excitement - and lots of practice! As a conductor, Maestra Joan C. Sommers is simply unsurpassed!

She can pull together a group of sixty or more accordionists from all over the world, some who have never played in orchestras before, and after three rehearsals present a stellar concert of several challenging and highly moving orchestral selections!

Brighton UK, 1955 Coupe Mondiale

Professor Sommers’ workshops are always highly anticipated, as she prepares thoroughly and provides accordionists with useful study tools and excellent performance preparation guidelines. Her solo, duet and ensemble performances are of the highest quality, and, as I said earlier, there is simply nothing more enjoyable than being in one of her orchestras!

Joan Cochran Sommers was awarded the title of Professor Emerita upon her retirement in 2000 from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), where she established both undergraduate and graduate accordion degree programs in 1961. As a young accordion player, she represented the USA-ATG in the 1955 and 1956 Coupe Mondiale world accordion championships, forming the foundation of a lifelong passion for the accordion.

Joan has served numerous terms as President of the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG) and is presently an Honorary Member for Life of the Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA), as well as a member of the 3-member CIA Advisory Committee.

She is the founder of the World Accordion Orchestra, now in its eleventh year. Orchestras under her direction have won more championships in virtuoso accordion orchestra competitions than those of any other teacher. Joan has also had the most students earn the prestigious right to represent the USA in the Coupe Mondiale.

Joan continues to coach soloists, and to adjudicate, conduct and arrange for accordion orchestras. She also continues to perform with various musical groups. Joan has received awards from the American Accordionists’ Association (AAA), the ATG, the CIA, Sigma Alpha Lota, and Pi Kappa Lambda.

Her lifetime dedication to furthering the importance of the accordion as a serious instrument has opened opportunities for countless musicians around the world and thrilled the eyes and ears of audiences old and young.

Prof. Joan Sommers, CIA Historical Book October 2014.pdf
upon Presentation to Prof. Joan Sommers of the CIA Life Membership Award
Prepared by Kevin Friedrich and Alison Worthington

Report of being Prof. Sommers being honored at the 30th AAMS Festival
March 6th & 7th, 2020 in New Jersey, USA

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