Following the very successful inaugural World Accordion Orchestra debut performance at the Coupe Mondiale 2007 under the Musical Direction of Joan C. Sommers, the magnificent staging of the CIA World Accordion Orchestra (WAO) II in Scotland in 2008, WAO III in Auckland, New Zealand, WAO IV in Varaždin, Croatia, WAO V in Shanghai, China, we are delighted to announce that the World Accordion Orchestra VI will be held in Spoleto, Italy as part of our 65th Coupe Mondiale Festival.

The World Accordion Orchestra VI will perform two pieces:

  • Paragon March by Anthony Galla-Rini
    Conducted by Torsten Petzold (Germany)
  • Selections from E.T. (The Extra-Terrestrial) by John Williams
    Arranged by Joan Cochran Sommers
    Conducted by Joan C. Sommers (USA)

The Paragon March is an original work by the renowned accordionist and former CIA Vice President Anthony Galla-Rini, while the magnificent arrangement by current CIA Vice President Joan Cochran Sommers of 'Selections from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial' is a large symphonic one and includes the main themes from the motion picture with various reprises of the "Flying" Theme and the "Bike Race."

We would like to welcome you to this exciting International accordion event and encourage your participation in this historic Sixth edition of the 'World Accordion Orchestra' which will perform on the Gala Concert in Spoleto, Italy on Friday night, 24 August 2012.

Joan C. Sommers, founder of the CIA World Accordion Orchestra was awarded the title of Professor Emerita upon her retirement from the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory of Music (USA), where she established and taught the accordion degree program for forty years. She has arranged innumerable works for the accordion orchestra over many years, often for the UMKC Accordion Orchestra which, under her direction, competed in and won more First Prizes in Virtuoso Accordion Orchestra Competitions than any other similar American group.
In both 1955 and 1956 she earned the right to represent the USA in the Coupe Mondiale and, although she didn’t win, it was those experiences which opened her eyes to the tremendous opportunities available to accordionists; perhaps it also fixed her life-long interest in worldwide accordion activities. Most recently, she celebrated the 50th Anniversary of her UMKC Accordion Orchestra when they presented their 50th Gala Concert at the University.
As the arranger, Joan has had many years of experience as a teacher, a conductor, and an arranger for accordion orchestras at all levels. Many of these arrangements were used by her own orchestras in competitions held throughout the USA and on the many tours made by her groups overseas as well. The large symphonic accordion orchestras under her direction, and several times with the youngest average age for members, earned more First Place Virtuoso Accordion Orchestra Awards than any other American accordion orchestras. This is a record still unbroken today.

The Accordion Orchestra arrangement by Joan Cochran Sommers of Selections from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a large symphonic one with 7 accordion parts, 2 MIDI parts, and special bass accordion in addition to the usual timpani, mallets, and percussion instruments. This arrangement includes the main themes from the motion picture with various reprises of the "Flying" Theme and the "Bike Race."

An accordion orchestra recording of the piece is available to each of the players in the World Accordion Orchestra as a means of inspiring and assisting in the preparation of individual parts before coming together for rehearsals in Spoleto, Italy for the Coupe Mondiale in August, 2012.

Joan C. Sommers has held positions in several music organisations, including the Accordionists & Teachers Guild International (ATG) and the Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA – IMC-UNESCO). Professor Sommers continues to adjudicate, coach soloists, prepare accordion orchestra arrangements, and conduct accordion orchestras regularly, and now proudly serves as a CIA Vice President.

Conductor Torsten Petzold, born in Bonn in 1966, and studied both piano and conducting in Cologne and Wuerzburg.

Torsten was Kapellmeister (Musical Director) of the German National Theatre at Weimar as well as of the Nordharzer Staedtebundtheater, and currently servies as Chief conductor of the Saxonian Police Orchestra Dresden as well as of several other regional choirs.

Since 2010, Torsten has served as conductor of the Accordion Orchestra Hof.

Torsten will direct the World Accordion Orchestra VI in their opening number of Paragon March by Anthony Galla-Rini.

John Williams, World-famous American Composer, Conductor and Pianist
Born February 8, 1932, Celebrating his 80th Birthday in 2012
The career of John Williams has spanned almost six decades and he has composed some of the most recognizable film scores in the history of motion pictures, including the Star Wars saga, Jaws, Superman, the Indiana Jones films, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Hook, Jurassic Park, Schindler's List, War Horse, Home Alone and the first three Harry Potter films. He continues to be active even now after beginning in 1952, writing not only film music but also Contemporary classical music and Jazz.
One could hardly forget hearing that ominous two-note motif from Jaws or the emotional, sensitive and soaring melodies of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. All of his music is in fact totally memorable. The music of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial conveys the film's benign, childlike sense of innocence, particularly with a spirited theme for the freedom of flight, and a soft string-based, harp-featured theme for the friendship between characters E.T. and Elliott. The film's final chase and farewell sequence marks a rare instance in film history in which the on-screen action was re-edited to conform to the composer's musical interpretation. Williams was nominated and awarded his fourth Academy Award for the Best Original Score in 1982 for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. In 1981 his "Flying" (Theme from E.T.) won for Best Instrumental Composition as well as the Best Arrangement on an Instrumental Recording. Others followed.
John Williams has earned five Academy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, seven BAFTA Awards, and 21 Grammy Awards. With 47 Academy Award nominations, Williams is the second most nominated person, after Walt Disney. He has been honored with other awards for his significant contributions to film and television music.
Williams has also served as a distinguished Conductor for the Boston Pops Orchestra from 1980 to 1993 after which became Laureate Conductor of the orchestra, a position he still holds. He makes annual appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl and served as conductor and composer in the orchestra's opening gala concerts for the Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2003. In 2004, 2006, 2007, and again in 2011, he conducted the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City, in sold-out appearances. He can be also heard as pianist in many diverse recordings and music for films. John Williams has been inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame, and the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. In 2004 he received a Kennedy Center Honor. He won a Classical Brit award in 2005 for his soundtrack work of the previous year. His awards include those in competitions for not only composers of film scores, but also for composers of instrumental music of any genre, including composers of classical fare such as symphonies and chamber music.

Anthony Galla-Rini was born, January 18, 1904 in Manchester, Connecticut, the third of seven children born to Italian immigrant parents, John & Angela. Anthony started his career in the family band at the age of 5 and when two years later they began working the Vaudeville circuits. His debut was as an encore, playing "Casey Jones" on his cornet.
He spent 20 years in USA vaudeville shows, and in that time he had learned to play twelve instruments, woodwinds, brass and the accordion. The act toured the vaudeville circuit from coast to coast. He played on the same shows as Mae West, The Marx Brothers, Jack Benny, Jimmy Durante, Eddie Cantor and many other famous vaudeville acts. It was during this time that he realized that the accordion was musically complete in itself. So a deep interest and desire grew in him to play a lot of serious music on the instrument, bringing more personal satisfaction than anything else.
He was one of the founding members of the American Accordionists' Association (AAA) in NYC in 1938 and also a founder of the Accordion Teacher's Guild, International (ATG) in 1941 in Chicago, for which he served as President Emeritus throughout his career. Galla-Rini also served as a Vice President of the Confederation Internationale des Accordeonistes (CIA).
During the spring of 1941, he began composing his first major work: "Accordion Concerto #1 in G minor", scoring the orchestral part as well as the solo part. It was premiered with the Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra on November 15th of that year with Anthony as soloist. In the Hollywood film industry, you can hear him playing on such films as: High Noon, Laura, Carnival at Costa Rica, Rhapsody in Blue, Shine of Harvest Moon, The Gunfighter, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and the Sting 11 just to name a few. During the next decade, he performed on concert tours in various theaters across the US He also toured England, Scotland, Norway and Sweden in 1950, taking his family with him.
In 1951 he represented the ATG at the CIA General Assembly and Coupe Mondiale in Paris, which resulted in the CIA accepting the ATG as a member organization. In 1958 and 1959, he performed as a guest artist in Carnegie Hall. In 1960 he was elected to the Accordion Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Arcari Foundation.
In 1975, the President of Italy conferred on him the title of "Cavalier of the Star of Solidarity" in recognition of his efforts towards strengthening the cultural bonds between Italian and American people and for his interest in the development of the Italian accordion in American activities.
Being featured as soloist with over 15 symphony orchestras, Galla-Rini has played on numerous recordings with several record companies. He has arranged hundreds of transcriptions from orchestral works for accordion ensembles, orchestras, soloists and students as well as composed many original works for accordion solo and orchestra.

Composed in 1947, Paragon March was made the official March of the CIA Premiere Voting Member, The Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG) in 2000, as a tribute to Mr. Galla-Rini's status as a founding member and President Emeritus.

Anthony Galla-Rini passed away on Sunday 30th July 2006 at the age of 102.


On behalf of the Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes, I would like to welcome you to this exciting international accordion event. Thank you for your participation in the World Accordion Orchestra which represents accordionists from many different countries. This will be the sixth year the orchestra has been organized. The CIA is very proud to have you participate in it and we feel it will become one of the most enjoyable experiences in your musical life.
The WAO VI will perform two pieces which have been chosen very carefully. The first will be Paragon March composed by the famous accordionist Anthony Galla-Rini (1904 – 2006). The second piece will be Selections from E.T. (The Extra-Terrestrial) composed by the illustrious composer/conductor/pianist John Williams for the award-winning movie of the same name. CIA Vice-president Joan Cochran Sommers will serve as the conductor of the orchestra and many members of the CIA Executive Committee and Official Delegates to the Congress will perform with the orchestra. It will be possible for this large orchestra to perform the pieces well, both musically and technically, providing each individual player prepares his parts in a professional manner. The time and place for the rehearsal(s) will be announced online. Please go to for all details regarding the orchestra.
The rehearsal must be devoted to overall performance matters regarding balance and interpretation details, plus taking care of the usual routine performance matters. This is not a time for sight-reading of parts, please!
The concert will take place on Friday evening, August 24. Members must be ready to take their proper chairs at the proper time. All members must provide their own music stand and music. You may not use an accordion case as a music stand. The CIA cannot furnish accordions. Members must make arrangements for borrowing instruments from their own friends. Please place your name on everything: music stands, music, accordions, and accordion cases; this will prevent any misplacement or loss. Ladies, please do not bring purses onstage during the performance; leave them with a friend while you perform.
Concert dress will be black shoes, black trousers or skirts, and black or white shirts or blouses. Gentlemen, please wear a tie and black socks. Coats will not be required. There will be many photographs taken and much publicity surrounding this concert; therefore, we would like to look very professional.
Every orchestra part is important whether it is numbered 1 or 7 and all players are equally responsible for the success of the performance. You may have a 3rd part on one piece but a 5th on the other piece since the arrangements do not have the same number of parts overall. Practice with the suggested metronome markings in mind, but remember that these are only guidelines; you must be prepared to watch the conductor at all times. Correct attention to dynamics and musical expression will be expected of this professional group of invited musicians, but you should bring a pencil to the rehearsal just in case you will need to make any notes.
If, for any reason, you have been assigned a part but will not be performing with the orchestra, you are urged to notify Joan Sommers immediately because of the need for balance within the parts and the seating arrangements. If you have questions about the music, the rehearsal or the concert, please do not hesitate to speak with your conductor if you are a member of one of the invited orchestras taking part, or contact Joan Sommers at any time. The e-mail address is:

Again, thank you for making the 2012 World Accordion Orchestra VI an important part of your musical life. I look forward to meeting you in person in August, if not before!
Stay informed about the Coupe Mondiale and all events here at

Please complete the following steps using either your 'mouse' or 'tab' key to move between sections:
  • (1) Name and Contact Information (this must include e-mail address for parts to be e-mailed to
  • (2) Approximate Playing Level, Accordion and additional information
  • (3) Submit your World Accordion Orchestra VI Registration

Please note: Each part in the orchestra is of great importance. Music will be assigned by the organizers to ensure a balance of parts. The music will be sent to you via e-mail in .pdf format.

Deadline for Orchestra registration is July 15, 2012.

1. Name and Contact Information - Please complete the following information
Family Name
First Name
Confirm E-mail Address
2. Playing and Accordion Information
I would prefer parts to be assigned with level
I will play an accordion with treble notes   and
I will be playing another type of accordion
Questions or additional information.

Please Note: You will need to arrange to bring your own instrument, or arrange to borrow an instrument yourself.
3. Please Submit Your WAO IV Registration
Please submit your information by clicking the "SUBMIT WAO VI INFO" button below.


We look forward to welcoming you to Italy for the 65th Coupe Mondiale and World Accordion Orchestra VI.

Main Index Page General Competition Info Accommodation World Accordion Orchestra VI
Press Information Contact Welcome to Italy CIA Website