Antonio Barberena was born in Mexico City in 1962. He started playing the accordion piano system at the age of 11 years in a lyric way, at 15 he started with formal classes with the Italian teacher Sergio Rizzardi, changing to chromatic or botton system. In 1978 he gets the first prize in the 5th National Championship of Accordionists in Mexico city, a year later he enrolled in the Rizzardi Accordions Symphonic Orchestra.
From 1981 to 1987 he developed an intensive concert performer activity, participating in international events in cities such as Caracas, Venezuela and La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland and performances in several places from Navarra and the Basque City in Spain. He also recorded two LP records and founded the Quintet Accordions of Mexico City and actively participated within the Mexican Accordions Federation.
His performance in music put him as director of the group Trova del Tepeyac in the years from 1989 to 2003, playing the Mexican music in several presentations in the Capital and throughout Mexico, as well as four other discographic productions. For the 500 anniversary of the Discovery of America in 1992, he travels to South America to perform as soloist in Buenos Aires and Mar de la Plata, Argentina and Santiago in Viña del Mar in Chile.
For the 300 anniversary of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz death, he offered a concert in San Francisco Javier church’ in Tepotzotlán, playing for the first time Mexican viceroyal music in the accordion.
In 1995 he appeared in the Cathedral of Puebla together with the organist Víctor Urbán, closing the Grand Palafoxian Festival in a singular baroque accordion festival and a monumental organ. The same year he presented in Houston, USA in the World Accordion Festival.
From 1994 to 1998 the Ministry of Culture from Puebla, hired him to perform concerts of Mexican music in native communities throughout the state of Puebla.
In 1996 he directed and improved the chorus of the Basque Center in Mexico, a choral association with whom he travels to the center of the country and records to CD’s with Basque and Mexican music.
From 1997 up to this date, he collaborates from time to time with the Mexican Institute of Culture offering concerts to Mexican communities throughout the State of Mexico. In 2000 he promotes the restoration of the Historic Organ in the San Francisco Church of Coacalco, State of Mexico. In 2001 he recorded the first CD in Mexico with classical music in accordion covering five centuries of music.
He has performed with the Phylarmonic Orchestra of the UNAM, the Opera Orchestra of Bellas Artes and as a soloist with the Classical Orchestra of Mexico. Up to date he has been presented in the main concert halls of the city of Mexico and in most of the main theaters of Mexico.
His music has been played on TV and on the radio in the capital city. During his career he has played the world premiere of several works for accordion in Mexico.
In 2004 he was prized by the Mexican Basque Society with the title “Number One Member” in recognition for playing Basque music in Mexico.
Nowadays, since 2003, he has performed contemporary music together with the Marimba player Javier Nandayapa and Mirna Yam in percussion. His first CD was sold in the summer of 2006.
Today he is working in the third volume of classical music in accordion and a DVD of a life concert in the Basílica de Guadalupe.
Brief history of the Accordion
The accordion is relatively new compared to the rest of all instruments.
There is an accurate date of the accordion´s origin: Accordéon, patent may 23, 1829, Viena by Cyrill Demian (1772-1847) piano and organ builder.
This particular instrument was very simple: two key-harmonicas, put together by bellows, the left one had buttons that produced different chords, from this the name of accordion.
This invention would be the beginning of a long development of free reed instruments (small metal piece placed inside a frame that vibrates freely with air).
In fact accordion evolution began in China (3000 b.c.) with the Cheng, this is the oldest example of an instrument which sound is generated by the free reed. The Cheng was taken to Central Europe in the 13th century by Marco Polo and perhaps by the Tartars thru Russia.
Meanwhile beginning the 10th century in Europe the Organ continued its evolution and so we find varieties which used both brass pipes and close beating-reeds to produce sound and in both cases, bellows to give in air. These were the Positive organ, the Portative organ and the Bible regal.
Back to the Cheng, in 1740 Johann Wilde somehow discovered it and made it popular by playing in the Saint Petersburg Court; although French sources say it was a Jesuit misioner in China, Pere Amiot, who sent it to Paris in 1770, and shortly afterwards to Russia.
During the next 50 years various prototipes were made following the free reed and bellows initiative.
In 1821 Buschmann from Berlin, invented a mouth-organ, similar to the actual harmonica, with 15 metalic free reeds and called it Aura. The following year he invented the first hand-reed instrument with bellows called him Handharmonika or Handaeoline which was used as organ tuner.
Some consider this the first accordion, although in fact it played plain notes and not chords, as Demian´s did.
In 1825 British physicist Sir Charles Wheatstone created the Symphonium, instrument with 12 buttons on each side held by both hands and the player blew air thru sort of a mouth-organ. In 1827 he added bellows calling it simply Symphonium with bellows and afterwards Concertina.
Accordion, as well as harmonium, harmonica and bandoneon, had to develop its original form and its limitations before composers could write for it.
At the Conservatory in Paris they keep a copy of what could be the first method for teaching accordion. It is called Méthode Reisner and it´s dated may of 1838, by A. Reisner.
There are statements that say in 1837 there were 11 accordion factories in France and also that these dominated the European market until 1870 when the German ones rose (Matthias Hohner, 1857, Trossingen) as well the Italians (Paolo Soprani, 1863, Casterfidardo and Mariano Dallapé,1876, Stradella).
Apparently accordion was well received by high classes in European societies, it was appreciated since it matched well with the romanticism of that time, but with time it became an instrument of the people and lower classes.
The first patent of an accordion with piano keyboard was by M. Bouton in Paris in 1852, however it did not become popular until the beginning of the 20th century.
Monichon, Giannattasio and Bugiolacchi say the first chromatic accordion was built in Russia in 1870. However Mirek, Russian, sustains that it was Mirwald in 1891 who designed it in Bavaria.
In the last decade of the 19th century the left part evolutionated in a series of bass and chords placed in a fifth circle divided in lines of buttons in 2-bass and 4-chords. Eventually this system is know as Stradella to distinguish it from other common ones at the time.
A model is kept dated in 1898 from Italian Pasquale Ficosecco, which on the left side has bass-buttons with chords an other free-bass. This invention would determine accordion to become later on a concert instrument.
The 20th century
In the beginning of the 20th century accordion finally got to be an instrument capable of playing all tunes and composers gradually started paying attention to it.
A great deal of the accordion popularization during the first half of the century is due to Hohner factory. In 1920 an accordion orchestra was started with almost 30 players who went thru Germany and the countries around spreading the concept of this relatively new instrument.
They also began the publication of classical works for accordions, as well as opening the "Hohner School of Accordion" in 1931, all of this in order to elevate the students´ level. This school became an official statal one in 1948 under Hugo Herrmann, who asked by Ernst Hohner in 1927 composed the first original piece for accordion: "Sieben neue spielmusiken, op. 57/1".
Soon other German composers kept writing original pieces: Hans Brehme, Wolfgang Jacobi, Rudolf Würthner, etc.
At the Kiev, Ucrania Conservatory, the first accordion class was established in 1927.
Soon came other composers who started writing original pieces of high quality: F. Fugazza, A. Volpi, E. Pozzoli, L. Fancelli (Italy); T. Lundquist (Sweden); O. Schmidt (Denmark); J. Feld (Czech Rep.); P. Frosini, P. Deiro, A. Galla Rini, H. Cowel and P. Creston (USA).
Russia deserves special mention: at all times has accordion (bayan) been given same importance as to the rest of all called classical instruments, fact that has devolped a pléyade of composers and players of highest quality: N. Chaikin, V. Semionov, A. Kusiakov, V. Subitski; two outstanding: V. Solotarev and S. Gubaidulina.
In Mexico accordion arrived at the end of the 19th century and stayed among communities up north, brought by peasants an European workers who emigrated thru the United States and Mexico as well.
Bio Boccosi - Atilio Pancioni
Ed. Farfisa (Ancona) 1963
e la storia della Fisarmonica
Zeilo Frati - Beniamino Bugiolacchi - Marco Moroni
Amministrazione Comunale di Castelfidardo e Provinciale di Ancona, 1986
Classical Free-Reed Inc.
- La Caja del órgano
María Teresa Suárez