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Renowned accordionist and clarinetist perform in Abbotsford

Michael Bridge and Kornel Wolak featured in concert on Feb. 21

Abbotsford violinist Calvin Dyck presents one of his favourite artists, accordionist Michael Bridge, in concert on Wednesday, Feb. 21 with the Abbotsford Youth Orchestra.

The concert starts at 7 p.m. at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium, 32315 South Fraser Way.

In 2016, CBC came out with a special list of Canadian talent called “30 under 30,” highlighting 30 Canadian classical musicians to watch under the age of 30.

Since Dyck started his musical journey on the accordion, he was startled to see Bridge on that list and that led him to book him for a concert in Abbotsford.

Bridge and Kornel Wolak on clarinet – both also play piano – met over a decade ago and immediately established an artistic alliance based on the attraction of opposite. Wolak is intensely focused with a world view infused with sardonic humour, while Bridge is flexible and fearless with a playful wit.

Bridge began playing when he was five while growing up in Calgary. His mom bought an accordion at a garage sale for $5. A family friend started teaching him to play by ear, and formal lessons began at age seven.

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Today he performs on a digital accordion – essentially a computer housed in a conventional accordion case that can imitate the sound of just about any instrument you can imagine. He can single-handedly shake the rafters sounding like a full rock drum kit or a symphony orchestra.

He is also a master of the more familiar acoustic accordion, a soulful, highly expressive instrument. Bridge received his doctor of musical arts degree from the University of Toronto and was a Rebanks Fellows at the Glenn Gould School in Toronto.

Wolak received his doctorate from the Paderewski Music Academy in Poznan, Poland.

He grew up in Włocławek, a small city west of Warsaw. His parents were both professional musicians and by the age of five Wolak was taking piano lessons and dreaming of becoming a famous musician.

After encountering the challenges of being an international student on a tight budget, he arrived in Toronto in 2005 for studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Canada offered him a safe harbour, a place to launch a stellar international career as a soloist and an offramp to pursue his impressive academic achievements. Today, Wolak tours widely and is on faculty at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.

Tickets are available only online through

Abbotsford News Staff

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