The Mirek Russian Accordion MuseumRussian: Muzey russkoy garmoniki A. Mireka or Музей русской гармоники А. Мирека is one of the four museums in the world dedicated to this musical instrument. The unique collection of Professor and Doctor of Arts Alfred Mirek (1922-2009) serves as the cornerstone for the museum. It took him over 40 years to put together his collection which he then donated to the city of Moscow. For a long time only a narrow circle of specialists was familiar with this 2000+ exhibit collection. It includes not only accordions, piano accordions, and button accordions from all over the world, but also tools for handicrafts and household objects related to the history of the Russian accordion. Not only professional musicians but also fans of music and Russian musical traditions enjoy this museum.
The museum occupies a building constructed in the early 20th century, located in the centre of the town. The museum presents a unique display called “The History of Creation, Evolution, and Existence of Russian Accordion in Moscow, Russia and Abroad”, which reflects the evolution of the national accordion from simple five-valve accordions of the mid-19th century to the highly sophisticated 20th century concerts models of piano accordions and button accordions.
The display extends over four halls with a total floor space of 200 square metres. Here you can also see ionic synthesizers, small pocket accordions of the 19th century, huge button accordions, and Soviet piano accordions. In total, there are over 120 unique instruments in the collection. Interestingly, there is a reconstruction of the world’s first accordion (1783). The museum gives a wide coverage of the history of the accordion in Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Great Britain, and the USA in the 19-20th centuries and an account of the way these countries developed accordion manufacturing and influenced each other.
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The museum covers the major milestones in the history of accordion spreading. It reproduces the circumstances where the accordion has been played: circuses, traktirs (taverns), and solemn occasions. During your visit to the museum you will get to know the names of accordion and button accordion players who have long since passed and listen to their recordings from the archives.
The museum gives its visitors a hands-on experience of the tradition of use of this musical instrument. You will visit a workshop of an accordion maker, imagine yourself as a participant in a public festival in a Moscow park in the early 20th century, see what a traditional Moscow traktir (tavern) looked like complete with a samovara heated metal container traditionally used to heat and boil water in and around Russia and a gramophone. The tables in museum cases exhibit antique artifacts: tea sets, empty chocolate and cookie boxes, and 19-20th century items of furniture. Actual event posters of that time are displayed on the walls.
In addition, concerts given by contemporary accordion, piano and button accordion players are regularly held in the museum. Excursions are run to the accompaniment of musical pieces with the actual historical sound of the accordion played by professional musicians who work there as guides, dressed in traditional costumes.
There is also a small section presenting Alfred Mirek’s biography. While putting together his unique collection from 1947 to the early 1970s, he frequently faced misunderstanding and outright hostility from the Soviet authorities and was even wrongfully convicted. After two years of serving his prison sentence Mirek was released because he never committed a crime. Later, during the years of perestroikaa period of political movement which reformed the Communist Party in the late 1980s – early 1990s in Russia, Mirek managed to collect about a hundred more samples of the accordion.© 2016-2021 moscovery.com