Nick Ariondo is an accordionist-composer who has worked with music icons ranging from Paul McCartney to Plácido Domingo. A double Grammy Award winner with the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra, Ariondo became the first American to be awarded Italy's coveted Ancona Prize for his "Kalamatiano for Viola & Free-bass Accordion" (ACCO-Music Publishing). He is also the only accordionist-composer to receive 25 consecutive awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers for both his compositions and performances. Equally proficient in a diversity of musical styles, ranging from classical to jazz and world ethnic to modern contemporary, Ariondo has won accolades from noted composers, conductors and musicians alike. Willard "Bill" Palmer, historian, pianist, accordionist, composer and editor for Alfred Music Publishing, nominated Ariondo for inclusion in the celebrated list, the International Who's Who in Music.
Ariondo's media credentials are also significant and he has appeared in various publications, including the Los Angeles Times,Keyboard Magazine, Accordion Arts Magazine, Five Hundred Leaders of Influence, Strings Magazine and the Journal of the American Viola Society. The Keyboard Magazine's article stated that "Ariondo's skills as a composer and arranger contribute enormously to the effectiveness of his performances." A pioneer in his field, Nick Ariondo continues to inspire audiences while exploring new avenues and innovative techniques through his music.
Nick Ariondo was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and started private accordion lessons at age 7 under the tutelage of TV personality Mario DiNardo. Whilst still new students, Nick and his older brother, Anthony, began playing for church functions, fashion shows and family events. Nick's ethnic background is Italian-American and his grandparents came to the U.S from Naples, Italy.
Nick Ariondo's early talents were soon discovered when the family moved to California in the early 1960s, studying with foremost classical and jazz accordionists Anthony Galla-Rini, Tommy Gumina and jazz saxophonist/flutist Buddy Collette. At age 16, Galla-Rini entered Nick into the Western States Accordion Festival, winning the Virtuoso Category performing Liszt's "Rhapsody Espanol" while acquiring a Certificate of Merit for Artistic Services from the Los Angeles City Bureau of Music. In his early twenties, he attended Los Angeles City College, was elected to the Alfa Chapter of Epsilon Alpha Gamma and upon graduation, was presented the Hugo Davise Composition Award for his "String Quartet No.1". Nick continued studying arranging, orchestration & composition at California State University at Los Angeles. Accepted into the master classes of string pedagogue Noumi Fischer and concert pianist Dr. Milton Stern, Nick transcribed, adapted and arranged string and piano literature for the accordion. Nick Ariondo received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts Degrees in accordion performance and composition, integrating a variety of music styles and genres from classical to gypsy, improvisational to the avant-garde.
At the young age of 17, Nick Ariondo was soloist/accompanist in the Café Russe Cabaret Theatre production in Hollywood, CA., performing with international singers and dancers of varied backgrounds and cultures. He toured with violinist Rima Rudina in a duo act concertizing in various parts of the U.S. and in 1974, '78 and '87 was a three time winner of the International Grand Prix Competition sponsored by the Accordion Federation of North America. Throughout his career, Ariondo developed a unique ability to reach out to diverse audiences of all ages. His astounding 'live' concerts and videos on Youtube are a testament to his devotion and everlasting commitment to innovative accordion artistry. Hailed American composer Lukas Foss personally wrote Nick in 1988 saying, "I am impressed by your music, by the way you write for accordion and by your playing: so precise, so powerful." Critics have referred to Nick Ariondo as..."the Yehudi Menuhin of the accordion". The L.A. Times calls him ..."the irrepressible avant-garde accordionist!"...."infinitely expressive, technically dazzling!"...."a force to be reckoned with!" Nick Ariondo was featured with Plácido Domingo in L.A. Opera's World Premiere "IL Postino" by Daniel Catán televised on PBS Great Performances. The Artistry of Nick Ariondo has appeared "live" on radio stations throughout the West Coast, on cable television and KCET's Classic Arts Showcase. In 1987, after a standing ovation and a riveting performance of Nikolai Chaikin's Concerto for Accordion and Orchestra at UCLA's Royce Hall, eminent conductor Zubin Mehta called Nick Ariondo "a brilliant success!" That same year Ariondo received the Distinguished Music Alumnus Award by CSULA's Friends of Music for "achievement and dedication to his musical craft." Nick worked closely with Britain's acclaimed composer Thomas Adès in the Los Angeles premiere of "Powder Her Face" and in 1990, received an Artists Fellowship Grant from the California Arts Council awarded to "those artists who have demonstrated exemplary professional achievement in their fields." Ariondo's incomparable performances have gained international attention, his music arrangements of Russian folk songs were featured in the Warren Beatty film "Love Affair" (Warner Bros.) and his playing can be heard on recent film scores "Knight & Day", "Happy Feet Two", "Bridesmaids" among a few. Stellar return performances of The Nick Ariondo Trio has become a favorite among audiences at Paolo Soleri's Arcosanti,Arizona's architectural wonder of the world and in 2012 Nick was selected as the featured solo artist to perform in Long Beach Opera's production of Ástor Piazzolla's "María de Buenos Aires" receiving rave reviews. Nick Ariondo's concert reportoire highlights his arrangements and compositions of over 200 works ~ solos, duets, trios, small to large ensembles - vocal and instrumental, including an accordion concerto co-composed with colleague Edward Hosharian. Ariondo's publisher is ACCO-Music Publishing and Accordiondo Music.
Kalamatiano for viola & free-bass accordion,
Duo for double bass & free-bass accordion,
Fantasia for solo viola,
Concerto in G Minor for accordion & orchestra,
Matsuri (Festival) for piano & accordion,
Musette a la Russe,
Tango Indo-Serene for violin, accordion & piano,
Tarantella for soprano & accordion,
Variations on a Jazz Theme for piano & accordion,
Impromptu for violin, clarinet & accordion,
Arabesque for accordion & strings,
Nick Ariondo "Trilucence" featuring Larry Hughes, clarinet...ACCO-Music, AM/CD1(original compositions & arrangements for accordion, clarinet, violin & piano by Nick Ariondo),
"Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny", K. Weill / B. Brecht, LA Opera Orchestra & Chorus, James Conlon, Audra McDonald, Patti LuPone, Anthony Dean Griffey, EuroArts, Germany, 2056258 (2008 Grammy Award Winner) DVD (N. Ariondo with LA Opera Orchestra).,
"Knight and Day" movie/film score by John Powell, Twentieth Century Fox/Regency, 2010, DVD 2267223 and CD release by Varese Sarabande 302 067 034 2 (Nick Ariondo, featured musician).,
Andy Summers "Peggy's Blue Skylight" RCA Victor, 2000 (Nick Ariondo on tracks #2,#7),
Greg Poree "Inventions" Poree Music BMI (Ariondo featured on tracks #4,#5,#7),
"Tango Fiesta" Music by Gus Flaherty ABM001 (Ariondo featured on several tracks)
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