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John Molinari

John Molinari was one of the greatest masters of the accordion. His natural talent, love of the instrument and years of dedicated study led to an extremely successful musical career. He was an artist who possessed a brilliant and masterful technique with a remarkable solo repertoire that ranged from popular to folk to classical.

John Molinari was born in San Francisco (1912), the only son of Italian immigrants. At the age of four his parents gave him a little two bass semitone accordion. By the time Molinari was twelve he was already performing at dances and weddings. As a teenager he appeared as a featured act in Vaudeville theaters throughout California. Later he studied piano and theory with Adolph Fink, the well-known student of Antonín Dvořák.

During World War II John toured the South Pacific with USO Camp Shows entertaining the Allied Troops. After the war his engagements extended to the concert halls and supper clubs throughout the United States and Canada. John appeared with famous opera soprano, Jamilla Novotna, the Andrew Sisters, Vaudeville stars Veloz and Yolanda, and on national radio with Fred Waring.

In 1952, on the strength of his recordings, John toured Hawaii and Iceland. It was also in 1952 that he turned down a major contract with MCA because it would have meant extensive time away from his young family. Instead, he worked for MCA in Northern California and limited his touring to featured supper club appearances, including the Waldorf Astoria in New York and the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco.

In 1967, 1969 and again in 1972, through the efforts of his friend and colleage, Veikko Ahvenainen, John toured Europe, Scandinavia, the Baltic States and the Soviet Union. John remained, for the most part, in the San Francisco area where he performed and taught until his death in 1989.

Friends and admirers will long remember John Molinari for his marvelous technique and interpretation that have placed him among the leading artists of the accordion. John’s recordings date back to 1949. He played his own arrangements exclusively. We hope you will enjoy listening to his unique style.

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