The Finlandia Foundation National recently announced that Finger Lakes Finns member [and past President], Richard Koski, has been selected as the 2005 Performer of the Year. Past performers have covered the full range of Finnish and Finnish-American music, including kantele, piano, guitar, organ, flute, and singing, with music heard in Finn halls 100 years ago to contemporary classical instrumental and vocal music.
The Performer of the Year is expected to perform throughout the country with travel expenses covered by Finlandia Foundation National. Host organizations handle local arrangements, transportation, accomodations, and performance fees.
Richard plays the old-time Finnish dance music that he grew up with on the one and two row diatonic button accordions. These kinds of accordions, which are rarely heard in Finnish-American music today, were popular in the nineteenth century, before the invention of the piano accordion around 1900.
He began performing at the Finn Hall in Van Etten, NY in the 1950's and since then has played for many local and national dances and festivals including those in Kaustinen and Rääkkylä, Finland.
At our November, 2004, Finger Lakes Finns meeting, Richard presented an outstanding program featuring Finnish music on the button accordion and harmonica.