Reedwax Music ®

MUSIC FOR ACCORDION

About Douglas Ward

Douglas Ward has played the piano accordion for over 50 years (for 17 years professionally.) In his youth he participated in and either won or came runer up in many accordion competitions in the UK.

The instrument has taken him literally around the world, first as a small group leader aboard the large ocean liners Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2), all now retired from the trans-Atlantic crossing service.

He has been deeply involved in accordion activities in England as a teacher, adjudicator, and composer He also introduced the convertor free bass instrument to the UK in the early 1960s.

One one transatlantic crossing, Charles Hansen, a passenger in First Class, listened to his trio every day during a lunchtime cocktail set. He liked what he heard, and asked if he would like to work for him as an arranger music transcriber. Douglas told him he would like a change, but didn’t think anything would come of the offer. His contract with Geraldo and Cunard was due to end in December that year.  However, in November 1966 Charles Hansen (Chas. H. Hansen Publications) sent Douglas an Eastern Airlines ticket from London to Miami (Hansen Publications headquarters). He told his agent (Geraldo) and Cunard that he would take a break for a few months. So, in December, Douglas duly flew to Maimi, and was met at the airport by Susan Hansen (daughter of Charles) in a Rolls Royce. He stayed at the home of Charles Hansen in Miami Beach, and introduced to various people at the company’s headquarters, and, three weeks later was sent to New York to work in the office there.  Douglas worked as an arranger and transcription artist for Charles Hansen Publications, in the office at 47th Street and Fifth Avenue, New York. It was an exciting time, and he worked in the company’s Pop Music division as a music transcriber and arranger. He worked on the sheet music releases of The Beatles, The Monkeys, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, among others (the sheet music had to be ready for release on the same day as the record).

During his time in the USA, he also wrote the History of the Accordion for the USA’s Contemporary Keyboard magazine (much of this article is featured on the Accordions Worldwide website).

He has adjucated at the UK’ s National Accordion Organization’s Accordion Day for many years. He moved to the United States again in 1979, where he lived for over 20 years. During that time, he adjudicated at accordion competitions including the annual National Accordion Championships held by the American Accordionist Association (AAA). In 1968, together with Faithe Deffner, he organized the first Floating Accordion Festival aboard the ocean liner Galileo, when more than 600 accordionists took part in a 6-day festival cruise from New York to Bermuda and back to New York. He also taught at the Acme Accordion School, operated by the respected contemporary accordionist and educator Stanley Darrow.

He has written over  80 compositions for the instrument, varying from elementary solos and duets to virtuostic works (his virtuoso composition Fantasia Bréve has been played at state and national competition levels in the USA).

He now lives in Hampshire in England, and enjoys composing for the instrument, and adjudicating. Douglas Ward is a member of the Performing Rights Society (PRS), and all compositions have ISMN bar codes for identification.