Toralf Tollefsen ( 1914 - 1994 )
Toralf Tollefsen was born in Frederikstad, Norway, on 26 August 1914, to a family of musicians.
As his uncles were accordeonists, the young Toralf got interested in the instrument quite soon, and at the age of 5 he received his first accordeon. When he was 7 years old, the family moved to Kristiania ( Oslo ), there he followed lessons at the Oslo Conservatory of Music. At that time the accordeon was not accepted yet at the conservatorium, so he was obliged to study another instrument which became the violin.
Since he was ten years old, Toralf was broadcasting in Radio Oslo's Children's Hour. When Otto Akre came to Oslo, he got interested in the young boy and eventually became his teacher.
In 1936 Tollefsen got his first engagement on the BBC. This would be the base for his later international carreer. He moved to London where he played in shows, on the radio and for television. He also was engaged by C B Cochran, a famous impressario, to appear in his Streamline Revue. During these performances he met his futur wife, Nona, who was a member of Cochran's dance group. They got married in 1939 and went back to Scandinavia to apprar at the National Scala, Copenhagen.
At that time the German invasion began and it was impossible for the family Tollefsen to return to England. They both, Toralf and his wife, helped the war effort: Toralf by giving concerts for food and Nona by smuggling arms in the bottom of their daughter's pram.
Tollefsen played a great variety of music, from singalongs to classical music. In 1947, back in the UK, he played a classical recital in the Wigmore Hall and Pietro Deiro's Concerto for Accordeon in the Albert Hall with the International Symphony Orchestra. This was a breakthrough for the instrument in England. Two years later he appeared in the Times Hall, New York and he played for the radio and television in America. He performed throughout Europe and South Africa.
In 1961 Tollefsen moved to Norway again. He wrote a lot of classical compositions for accordeon. In 1978 he won the Grammy-Prize award. His works and his brilliant playing helped the accordeon to become an accepted concert instrument.
Toralf Tollefsen died on 27 November 1994.
Brita, an arrangement of a piece by Per Bolstad
Concert Walz ( 1934 )
Promenade Rhythm ( 1942 )
Scandinavian Suite ( 1959 )
Customs Hone Polka ( 1972 )
Concert Etude ( 1987 )