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Joseph Keckler performs at the first MacDowell Downtown of the 2011 season.
Joseph Keckler performs at the first MacDowell Downtown of the 2011 season.

MacDowell Downtown 2014

For more than a decade, MacDowell Downtown has provided a platform for MacDowell Fellows to share their work with the New Hampshire community. On each first Friday of the month (March through November), artists from across the U.S. and around the world share original live music, film screenings, readings, performance art, or panel discussions. Free and open to all, doors open at 7:00 and the program begins at 7:30 p.m. Refreshments are served. Please sign up for our mailing list to get advance notice of each month’s program and spread the word with the media of your choice!

Guy Klucevsek
Filmmaker Mohammad Shawky Hassan
Boo Killebrew
Playwright Stacey Gregg

September Yemane Demissie

MacDowell Downtown March 2013, Stephen Kuusisto
Deborah Aschheim  
MacDowell Downtown March 2013, Stephen Kuusisto
Andrea Clearfield  
MacDowell Downtown June 2013 Peter Van Zandt Lane
Tamar Ettun
MacDowell Downtown May 2013, Johannes Helden
Heather Robb
MacDowell Downtown April 2013 Erik Santos
Eva Lee
MacDowell Downtown March 2013, Stephen Kuusisto
Anna Schuleit Haber

SuttonBeresCullerComposer and accordionist Guy Klucevsek

(Photo by Elenora Alberto)

From polka to post-modern, and John Williams to John Zorn, accordionist Guy Klucevsek has expanded the repertoire of his versatile instrument for more than 40 years. He brought his squeeze box to The Monadnock Center for History and Culture on November 7 at the beginning of his first residency at The MacDowell Colony.

Klucevsek explained that at MacDowell, he prepared for a week-long retrospective at New York’s premier new music club, The Stone. For six consecutive nights in March, Klucevsek will present a different project with a different set of musicians, taking a look back at a 42-year composing career.

The New York native introduced the accordion as a concert instrument, and described some of the composing techniques he’s developed. He also played some of his pieces to a rapt crowd, and explained his process of arranging and revising older works that will be featured in the March retrospective series.

The composer said that a lot of his music was written for dance and theatre, so it requires specific orchestrations. “In The Stone concerts I’m going to have a different ensemble each night,” he said, requiring a lot of revising and re-orchestration. 

The accordion, said Klucevsek, is an instrument that came out of popular culture, and when he got serious about it in the mid-1960s, he started to view it as a life-long pursuit. That was about the time people like Virgil Thompson began writing commissioned pieces for accordion, and Klucevsek as a teen started playing the new pieces for competitions.

“I completely fell in love with them,” he said. Previously, if you were an accordion player, you played a transcription or a new arrangement of piano music. “But the new music, in many cases, turned out beautifully.... and it eventually morphed into me composing my own music.”

The composer, who is a 2010 United States Artists Fellow, says that “the creative part of being a musician took over my life in a good way.” He has worked with Fred Frith, Aaron Jay Kernis, Bobby Previte, Mary Ellen Childs, John Zorn, Laurie Anderson, Bill Frisell, the Kronos Quartet, Natalie Merchant, and many others.