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Main Squeeze Brings the Russians to Bowery Poetry

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According to neighborhood lore, ten years ago Walter Kühr, the German-born owner of the Main Squeeze Accordion shop on Essex Street, had a dream that he was conducting an all-female accordion orchestra. Not just any all-female accordion orchestra, but an orchestra of unsurpassable quality. “I dreamt I was conducting all these women playing the accordion in pigtails, and I was the only man there. It was beautiful,” says Kühr.

Well, dreams can come true. The next morning he frantically began recruiting among his female students, and the rest is accordion ‘herstory.’ Main Squeeze Orchestra — the Western world’s only 14-piece all-female accordion orchestra — was born. The orchestra’s musical numbers, mostly arranged by Kühr, are far outside the typical accordion repertoire.  Hits include the Brandenburg concertos and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

This week, Main Squeeze will debut its all-accordion, all-classical, all-Russian musical spectacular, The Russian Show. The program features classical Russian music by Mussorgsky, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky, arranged especially for thirteen accordions by Bu P. Scherf and conducted by Kühr, with a special introduction by guest lecturer and Russian Studies scholar Alexa Voytek. Better brush up on your Russian. This is not your grandfather’s accordion concert!   Sunday, May 6, 8pm. $10. Bowery Poetry Club.

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