Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Accordion reboot

Old Sun Valley favorite returns for holidays


Accordion player Mirko Pressler hails from Bend, Ore. Courtesy photo

    Some Sun Valley regulars will recognize strolling Slovenian musician Mirko Pressler at Trail Creek Cabin. Pressler, who played accordion at Trail Creek Cabin from 1969 to 1986, is now back for a limited run over the holidays.
    Best known as Mirko, Pressler frequently entertained the Holding family, along with the Hemingways, Fondas and other well-known Sun Valley residents. His music style fit in well with the Old World ambience of Sun Valley, with his immense repertoire of melodies from western and eastern Europe.
    Mirko’s musical repertoire hearkens from his cultural roots and life history. Coming from a musical family, Mirko recalls a childhood steeped in folk music; many of his aunts and uncles played accordion, and everyone sang. His grandfather was an orchestra director who put the family farm in hock to purchase new instruments for his musicians.  
    At the age of 6, Mirko fled on foot with his family through war-torn Yugoslavia over the mountains. At that time, Mirko had already been playing accordion for three years; his tiny accordion was sold among other possessions, in order to raise money for the family’s new life.
    Arriving in an Austria refugee camp, Mirko’s parents found work in local factories. With their first wages, his parents purchased an accordion for Mirko. The multi-ethnic setting of the refugee camp was the perfect place for Mirko to learn folk tunes from all over eastern Europe, as well as from Germany and Austria.
    Mirko’s family eventually received sponsorship to emigrate to the U.S., where they settled in Los Angeles. His parents spent some of their factory wages on top-notch accordion instruction for Mirko. Mirko was then trained in classical music, jazz, harmony and theory.
    By the age of 10, Mirko had appeared on TV’s “Rocket to Stardom,” a 1950s version of “American Idol.” By the time he was a teenager, Mirko was performing in some of L.A.’s most exclusive clubs and restaurants. From there, he received offers to entertain in ski resorts, which led him eventually to spending 17 seasons in Sun Valley.
    Mirko will be performing nightly at Trail Creek Cabin through Jan. 4. Reservations to dine at the cabin can be made through Sun Valley Resort.

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