Bachtopus is a contemporary accordion ensemble from New York City that performs music by living composers and Johann Sebastian Bach. The quartet was borne out of a fruitful musical duet between Robert Duncan and Mayumi Miyaoka, who partnered during the Winter of 2011. Denise Koncelik and Peter Flint, who were members of the Brooklyn Accordion Club, joined the duet to play Bach’s organ music, which is well suited to the accordion. The group soon shifted focus to become one of the few accordion ensembles in the United States that plays new music. Having established a large repertoire in just a few years, Bachtopus seeks to play more original compositions, commissioned works, and contemporary music that is interesting, accessible, and grounded in traditional folk music.
The ensemble has performed for diverse audiences, and previous performance highlights include: Make Music New York, Bach in the Subways, The New Museum, Accordions Around the World, Meetup.com, and the American Accordion Association Seminars. Bachtopus performs music by and is inspired by Accordion Tribe, Motion Trio, the Kronos Quartet, Arvo Pärt, Philip Glass, Stas Venglevski, the Bang On a Can All-Stars, and Jacques Cousteau. The group features original compositions by Peter Flint and Sy Kushner, and arrangements by Robert Duncan and Denise Koncelik.
Robert Duncan, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the City University of New York, and he received a BA in Music Humanities at the University of California at San Diego. Dr. Duncan studied African percussion with Jason Hann and Brazilian/Afro-Cuban percussion with Mark Lamson and Jorge Alabe. Dr. Duncan is a jazz pianist and swing dancer, and he directed a traditional jazz band and Lindy Hop dance ensemble for eight years in California. He is the founder and Director of Bachtopus. www.robertduncanmusic.com
Peter Flint, comes from a musical family and has degrees in electronic music, history, and composition from Oberlin College and Conservatory and New England Conservatory. He has studied accordion with Walter Kuehr, William Schimmel, and Rob Curto. He is deeply interested in Afro-Cuban music and recently had an orchestral composition performed in Havana, Cuba by the Camerata Romeu. He performs with Reggae-Son, an Afro-Latin fusion group, and is the founder of the Avian Orchestra, a contemporary chamber ensemble. He is on the board of directors at the Third Street Music School Settlement and likes to travel with his family, play soccer, and sail small boats. peterflintmusic.com
Denise Koncelik, DMA, is a freelance musician and arranger. She holds degrees in music theory/composition, pedagogy, and performance, and taught at Midwestern State University and Texas Woman’s University. Dr. Koncelik played piccolo/3rd flute and jazz piano with the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra for 13 seasons, and has performed at Symphony Space, Joe’s Pub and le poisson rouge. She is co-director of the New York Flute Club Ensemble Program, a member of the Chelsea Musica, and plays bass accordion in NYC’s Main Squeeze Orchestra. www.DrKoncelik.nyc
Mayumi Miyaoka, is an Academic Librarian/Archivist by day, and accordionist by night. She is the founder/organizer of Brooklyn Accordion Club, and is the compiler/editor of a self-published magazine, SqueeZine! – Chronicles of Accordionists. Having a painter as her husband, Mayumi enjoys visiting art galleries in the Chelsea area. www.meetup.com/Brooklyn-Accordion-Club
Jeanne Velonis (understudy), is a classical recording engineer and the newest member of Bachtopus. Initially self-taught, she has studied accordion with Leah Barkan and Mary Tokarski. She lives with her husband, three children, and five accordions. Now that she has joined, Bachtopus will probably have to change their name to “10tacles” or something equally ridiculous.