John originally from Tipperary (now living in Dublin) started playing accordion in primary school – in the early years tuition was from Ciaran Mc Namara, father of Frank Mc Namara, the famous musical director/arranger.
He continued to play and study the instrument into his teenage years and throughout his early working life; playing at local social events. Eventually he found himself working in Capetown, South Africa in the late 70’s and studied under Max Adler, the South African accordionist who was an entertainer for the troops in Egypt during the Second World War. It was Mr Adler who first mentioned the great Norwegian accordionist Torlaf Tollefsen and his emphasis on technique-in particular “bellow control” .On returning to Ireland, John studied with Paddy Kavanagh in Churchtown for a number of years and took part in a number of accordion competitions at the time.
Johns’ interest in Tollefsen continued and in the mid 1980’s he got the opportunity to see the man himself in concert. John’s continued interest put him in contact with Owen Murray the newly appointed Professor of Accordion at the Royal College of Music, London. After some introductory tuition from Professor Murray now using a chromatic instrument with Free Base John continued his studies with John Chilton in County Meath who had studied classical accordion under Morgens Ellgard of the Royal Danish Academy of Music Copenhagen .
Studies now included a variety of musical styles – Russian classical bayan free-base compositions by Solotarjow, modern contemporary works especially written for the instrument, French musette waltz’s, accordion standards by Frossini ,Argentinean Tango – to sonatas by Cimarosa. After this period John took a break from the instrument to spend time with his young family.
More recently, John has returned to his passion with a new found enthusiasm and has broadened his interest to include smooth jazz inspired tones suitable for easy listening. His influences now include Richard Galliano, the French Jazz accordionist and some of the arrangements by Frank Morroco the American Jazz accordionist, as well as compositions for accordion by French composer Yann Tiersden .
Accordion music has been my passion and can be a wonderful instrument for musical expression across many genres from traditional folk – classical – to jazz and all in between .(Irish,Balkan,Cajan,Zideco.TexMex,Klezmer – to name but a few)