Duo 2000 is a unique combination consisting of MIDI Accordionist Sergio Zampolli and Harpist Amarillie Ackermann. Here you will experience a bit of our spectacular world of classical and light music. We are thrilled to bring you this global sharing of some of our music compilations in ground breaking recordings made on a Lyon & Healy Harp and a Victoria XB 402 Concert Accordion with Q-Select MIDI system from Musictech.
In 1995 we joined forces to create duet items for this hitherto unexploited ensemble combination. We chose the name Duo 2000, but fruitless attempts to obtain printed music anywhere in the world, convinced us that we are totally unique, and that we would have to create such repertoire ourselves. The Q-Select MIDI System on the Victoria Concert Accordion offers an extra dimension – it can sound like a full symphony orchestra. We could sound like a harp and acoustic accordion duo, or like an orchestra, so the world of orchestral music was open to us, as well as the world of works for a solo instrument, eg. piano, or violin and piano, arranged for orchestra. So we set to work arranging exciting works for our combination.
We had only one computer, so we had to take turns…
Here are the first pages of our scores of Waltz of the Flowers, by Tchaikovsky.
Both our instruments have certain limitations, certain specific characteristic and idiomatic properties, as well as certain aspects of extreme difficulty or extreme ease. We had to take all these aspects into consideration, whilst not jeopardising musical quality of the arrangement.
On accordion, one can only page with your right hand, but you can at least have about four pages open in front of you. On the harp, one can only page with your left hand and you can only have two pages open at once. This proved to be very difficult for us, as we frequently arranged something in a way that we couldn’t turn pages anywhere. Sometimes, we had to amend the arrangement somewhat, in order to allow page turning. We both have our feet involved with a variety of pedals at all times, so any electronic page turning device that needs to be activated by a foot switch, is no good to us.
To date we have arranged about 120 works for our combination, our two flagship works being two concertos:
- Accordion Concerto in A Minor by Pietro Deiro – performed by Sergio on the Accordion, accompanied by Amarillie on the piano.
- Harp Concerto in A Major by Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf – performed by Amarillie on the harp and accompanied by Sergio on MIDI (Symphonic Accordion), to sound like a full harp concerto with orchestra.
For fifteen years running, we have been performing together regularly, in ± 300 concerts and we still continue to make arrangements, learn new repertoire, and perform older repertoire all over Gauteng , and as far as Bloemfontein and the Drakensberg, at various Arts Festivals as well as private and corporate concerts and functions. In addition to our solo repertoire for our Duo combination, we have also transcribed a number of accompaniments which we have performed widely with several local sopranos, tenors and baritones.
- In the early years, our website played the background music of our arrangement of Amore Scusami , by Gino Mescoli. One evening, his son, Paolo Mescoli stumbled upon our website after performing a search on Amore Scusami and heard our arrangement of his father’s famous hit, and brought it to his attention. Gino Mescoli was so impressed with our arrangement, that he contacted us, congratulated us and confirmed that our version was his favourite rendition of his song. Since then Sergio has met him in Milan and spent many hours with him and his wife in their luxury apartment. He gave us a book of his other songs, of which we recorded Cominciamo ad amarci on another CD. It is indeed a highlight for us to have befriended this wonderful and talented composer.
Gino Mescoli and Sergio Zampolli in Milan.
- 1999 Orchestra member for the Three Tenors (Carreras, Domingo and Pavarotti), during their Bravo Africa! Concert, at the Union Buildings, Pretoria.
In the first photo is Sergio Zampolli, Marco Armiliato (Conductor) and Amarillie Ackermann. In the second photo is Sergio Zampolli, Placido Domingo and Amarillie Ackermann.
- 2000 Duke of Edinburgh Awards Dinner with Duo 2000 performing as artists for Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, at the Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg.
Prince Edward and Dr Ivan May formerly of Nedbank, Sergio in the background and Amarillie Ackermann.
- 2004 The poster of our 1 st CD (Song to the Evening Star), was framed and admitted to the Hall of Fame of the Accordion Museum in Recoaro, Italy.
- 2010 Guest artist with Duo 2000 at the St David’s Day concert of the Welsh Male Voice Choir of Africa, at the Linder Auditorium in Johannesburg.
- 2010 Guest artist with Duo 2000 at the Music in the Mountains Festival with the Drakensberg Boys Choir, Rina Hugo (soprano) and JP Malan (cellist).
- At the evening of the Duke of Edinburg Awards, Prince Edward thanked us for providing such beautiful music. He said: “It is a novel combination to me – that of the Concert Harp and the Stomach Steinway”.
- At a concert where we offloaded all our equipment in about 16 trips to the cars and everything was just set up perfectly, Amarillie was about to start tuning the harp. A little boy who had been playing around ever since we arrived, came to Amarillie and said: “Are you also going to do something, or do you just help the man to carry boxes?” (Gaan Tannie ook iets doen, of help Tannie net vir die Oom om bokse te dra?)
- Some guests at a private function once helped us transport all our equipment from the reception room where we performed, to the car. There are really many items and many are very heavy and the entire transplantation takes quite a few trips. Once everything was in the car, one guest said: “Gee, this is quite a mission. You people should charge a fee for this.”
- This cartoon by Gary Larson appeared in the newspaper on the day of our first public concert. Somebody cut it out and brought it to us…
“Welcome to heaven, here is your harp.” and “Welcome to hell, here is your accordion.”
We have since had it redrawn to look like an original, had it framed and it hangs in our lounge. Everybody loves it.