Music for a night of April Showers

On a cold and rainy Tuesday evening, April 7th, the Wray Theater overflowed with an eclectic blend of music by composers ranging from Antonio Vivaldi to Kurt Weill. The Rio Hondo College Music Faculty presented the husband and wife team of guitarist Frank Accardo and violinist Donna Accardo, along with pianist Jannine Livingston, in what was billed as “An Auditory Extravaganza!” Frank Accardo and Jannine Livingston are both full-time professors at Rio Hondo.

The evening saw continuous shifts between the three performers as they deftly entertained the audience with their enchanting interpretations of works by Antonio Vivaldi, Serge Prokofiev, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, George Gershwin, Jascha Heifetz,Edward Elgar, and Kurt Weill.

The evening began with two pieces by Italian Baroque composer Antonio Vivaldi, who is best known for his series of violin concertos known as “The Four Seasons”. The trio played pieces from Sonata in D minor, F. XIII n. 24, for two violins and klavier. This performance of Vivaldi’s music was unique in that it was originally arranged for two violins and a piano. The Accardos re-arranged it for violin, guitar, and piano.

The musical selections covered a period ranging from the late 17th to the mid 20th centuries. It was a rare treat to encounter musicians so talented in such a wide variety of musical styles.

The performance began as a trio and concluded as a duo, with Mrs. Accardo and Professor Livingston closing out the evening with five pieces from Kurt Weill’s “Threepenny Opera”. Mrs Accardo briefly discussed the time period that spawned Weill’s enduring composition and the profound impact that Wiell has had on a variety of artists including Tom Waits, Lou Reed, Sting, the Doors, and PJ Harvey. The audience could feel that these last five pieces held personal significance for Mrs. Accardo and that she was eager to share them.

The evening’s musical trio have had extensive musical careers spanning decades of professional performances.

The only non-Rio Hondo faculty member in the group, Donna Accardo, studied music at the University of Nevada and the University of Southern California. Mrs. Accardo has been Concertmistress of both the San Fernando Symphony and the Calabasas Chamber Orchestra. She has toured nationally with Sammy Davis Jr., Liza Minelli, and Ole’ Blue-Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra.

Professor Frank Accardo has taught full-time at Rio Hondo College since 2005. Professor Accardo, like his lovely wife, Donna, has had the privilege of working with Frank Sinatra, along with fellow “Rat Pack” members Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin. Professor Accardo earned his Bachelor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music in Boston and his Master of Music degree from Cal. State University Northridge. He and his wife perform throughout Southern California.

The trio’s pianist, Professor Jannine Livingston, has experienced a career in music on several levels. Professo Livingston was with Cal. State University Fullerton’s Theatre and Dance Department where she directed the dance music program for 26 years. She has collaborated in varying capacities with Dance companies like the Los Angeles Chamber Ballet, and chamber music ensembles, including the Orange County Chamber Orchestra. Professor Livingston performs with ensembles and as a soloist. She has performed internationally, playing to audiences in America, Germany, Korea, and Taiwan, where she was named Artist in Residence at the Taipei American School. She currently teaches full-time at Rio Hondo College.

If you were unable to attend this Rio Hondo Faculty Recital, please see and check the events calendar for future events at the Wray Theater. You can also go to the Apple App store or Google Play and download Rio Hondo’s phone app by searching the store for Rio Hondo. The App is free.