was born in a small town Solano in Calabria, Italy on July 20, 1921.
Carrozza emigrated to the USA with his family when he was nine years old.
The Family settled in the town of Chappaqua in Westchester, NY, where
Carrozza soon began studying music, becoming proficient on the violin, piano
and accordion. It wasn’t long before his love for the accordion became
obvious and he found himself concentrating solely on mastering this
instrument and master it he did! Although the piano accordion was developed
around the turn of the century in 1909, it was stated by one of Carrozza’s
early professors that "the accordion wasn’t given birth until the young
Carrozza placed his hands on the instrument."
In 1937, he graduated from the Pietro Deiro Accordion Conservatory in
Greenwich Village, NYC where he was awarded the highest honors and a gold
medal for his performance. He furthered his studies at the New York Academy
of Music specializing in theory, harmony, counterpoint and composition.
Carrozza’s professional debut took place in 1947 at the Philadelphia Academy
of Music launching what was to be one of the greatest careers of the
century. He went on to triumph with appearances throughout the concert halls
in the United States - (Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, Times Hall, Lincoln Center,
Kennedy Center Music Hall, Philadelphia Academy of Music, just to name a
few) Canada, and Europe - (France, Germany, England, Sweden, Finland, Russia
and Italy). Carrozza was presented with a gold medal by the E.A.L., an
agency of the Italian Government, after an outstanding performance at the
Theatro di Pavia.
Carrozza was the first accordionist invited to perform as featured
soloist with major symphony orchestras: The Boston Pops Symphony Orchestra
under the direction of Arthur Fiedler premiering Paul Creston’s Concerto for
Accordion and Orchestra; National Symphony and New York Philharmonic under
the direction of Andre Kostelznetz, premiering Alan Hovanhess’ Rubaiyat;
Cincinnati Orchestra, under the direction of Thomas Schippers; The Buffalo
Symphony Orchestra, The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Pops
Orchestra, The United States Navy Band, and the list goes on and on. A
legendary composer, arranger and world renown concert artist and educator,
Carrozza has been a true inspiration to humanity.
Carrozza’s success on the concert stage is matched only by his
contribution to the development of accordion literature. In this area, he
has collaborated with outstanding American composers: Robert Russell
Bennett, Henry Cowell, Paul Creston, Alan Havanhess, George Kleinsinger,
Otto Leuing, Paul Pisk, Wallingord Riegger, Elie Seigmeister, William Grant
Still, Carlos Surinach, Virgil Thompson, & Russian composer, Alexander
Carrozza considers solo concerts in Town Hall, New York City, as one
of the high points in his career. At these concerts, he performed and
premiered all original accordion works by the fore mentioned composers. It
was a milestone in the history of the accordion. His performances of the
works of these composers opened a new field for the generations of
accordionists to follow and gives to composers a new instrument to use as a
vehicle of musical expression. Concert accordionists of the future owe a
debt of gratitude to Maestro Carrozza for paving the way for them to the
Throughout the years Carrozza has received numerous awards and
honorees from many different organizations, associations and clubs. On March
17, 2002 Maestro Carrozza was honored by the American Accordionists
Association and was the first recipient presented with the prestigious
Shortly after this gala.
The Carmen Carrozza Scholarship Fund,
(a fund for the advancement of promising young accordionists and the
commissioning of new works for the accordion) began in the spring of 2002.
Carrozza is past president and an active governing board member of the
American Accordion Association (AAA), a national organization dedicated to
the development of the accordion. He continues to promote the accordion
through educational workshops at schools, universities and private music
Carrozza currently resides in the town of Thornwood in Westchester
NY with his wife Jean and has two grown children and two grandchildren.
Carrozza displays a smooth, effortless technique and together with
his musical virtuosity and brisk personality on stage he can be placed
somewhere on the scale between unbelievable and incredible. He makes the
accordion an instrument of remarkable beauty and makes his performances an
experience in artistic majesty. Much has been written about the unique
artistry of Maestro Carrozza and much more surely will be written in the
future, but one critic apparently established for all times Carrozza’s
esteemed position in the world of the concert accordionist when he
proclaimed, “the violin has its Pagannini, the piano its Chopin – the
accordion its Carrozza” - So be it!
for this dedication from
Joseph A. Ciccone,
Carrozza’s Nephew and
Board Member of the American Accordionist’s Association