‘It is difficult to get away with doing something different on the accordion, but every time you see her she is breaking in a different “different”.’ - Rowan Lipkovitz, Accordion Noir Festival, Vancouver
Seven years ago Katheryn Petersen picked up an accordion for the first time and it was as if her life finally made sense. Needless to say she hasn’t put it down since. For the first few years she learned on her feet playing in bands. Then one night while she was waiting in the car for the rest of her band mates to go to a sound check, she heard an angelic sound on the radio. It was a recording of Jelena Milojevic, a world class accordion virtuoso from Croatia playing in a cathedral. At the end of the song the announcer said that Jelena was moving to Vancouver. Katheryn felt it was a divine stroke of luck to have heard this news. Within days she had found Jelena and convinced her to take her on as a student. Katheryn studied hard with Jelena for six months and got her chops up enough to audition for the jazz program at VCC.
Katheryn is the only person to enter, let alone finish, the music dipoma program as an accordion major at VCC School of Music. It is very likely that she is the only accordion major at any accredited post secondary institute in the whole of BC, ever. It just isn’t the kind of instrument that North Americans take seriously.
Jelena continued on as Katheryn’s accordion teacher at VCC, but because Katheryn had chosen to be a jazz major the college also assigned her to study with a multi-instrument jazz player Alan Matheson. Katheryn studied from 2007-2010 receiving straight A’s and several scholarships.
Since graduating Katheryn continues to have a growing reputation as a unique and skilled accordionist and performer. This summer she played solo at the Victoria International Accordion Festival and was hired as a regular soloist for the Artful Sunday market. She is touring in August with Melissa Bandura to play at the Robson Valley Music Festival and immediately upon return she goes into recording with Elliot Vaughan for a full-length soundtrack for a theatre show.
As a side note she recently did new promo photos and sent a few to the Accordion Babes Calendar out of California. Within a day she heard back and the curator of the Calendar asked her to be in the next issue –the 2013 version!
Katheryn currently plays and tours with Joanna Chapman-Smith, Los Portenos Del Norte, Melissa Bandura and Something About Reptiles. Previously she recorded and toured extensively with Blackberry Wood for five years.
She also enjoys teaching a range of students and is an active board member of the Accordion Noir Society of Vancouver.
‘Her cohesive act included the visual aspect of her costume and engaged the audience with a wide variety of music, maintaining a nostalgic and magical mood well suited to the tone of the event. I, as event organizer, as well as the audience, enjoyed her act immensely.’ - Susan Marczak, Eastside Culture Crawl Organizer
‘Her professionalism was valued and she brought a special touch to the material that gave it real life for the audiences. The flair she brings to her performances, both through costume and presence, are a great asset to have on board.’ - Joanna Chapman-Smith
‘Salmon Avalanche (my favorite performer of the evening).’ - Penelope Mulligan, Discorder