IDEAS Faculty Scholar Honor
Dr. Michael Soloway
What is the IDEAS Faculty Scholar Program?
Starting with 2019 at Symposium 2.0, Joe Natoli and Michael Soloway, as the co-founders and co-directors of IDEAS (The International Digital Electronic Accordion Society) had decided to distinguish those members whose activities and history are stellar and involved – those who have supported the project since its inception; working with us to build the community all over the world. IDEAS Scholars are deeply involved in the playing, performing, creation, and teaching of digital/electronic accordions.
The position is a lifetime honorary appointment to the Symposium Faculty, and as IDEAS grows and continues to expand, our IDEAS SCHOLARS will form an impressive gallery and will become an increasing part of the history of an already historic organization and society. In normal non-pandemic years, the award is presented at the final celebration dinner on the final evening of the Symposium. However because the pandemic with new variants continues into 2021, we will repeat what we did in our all virtual event in 2020 and present the award in a virtual ceremony. Stay tuned for further announcements on how this award will be presented. Michael Soloway, co-founder and previous co-director of IDEAS has been chosen as this year’s IDEAS FACULTY SCHOLAR for 2021. IDEAS is pleased to continue this program of honor and history for the third year, and so proud to have Michael as its 3rd recipient. Congratulations MICHAEL!!
You all know Michael Soloway very well. As co-founder and previous co-director of IDEAS, Michael has been an integral component of the success of IDEAS. But as most of you know, Michael announced on our GR8 IDEAS Facebook group on 6/20/21 that he would be retiring this year as IDEAS co-director, but certainly has no intention of becoming invisible. He will be with us on the Facebook group and at the Symposiums for many years to come, since his creativity and IDEAS will always be a welcome value add to our GR8 organization.
Since you all know Michael well, rather than repost his bio, which already exists on this site, it would seem more appropriate to re-post his original Facebook post announcing his retirement from IDEAS:
It is with mixed feelings that I am posting to announce my resignation and retirement as the co-director of IDEAS.
I have been avoiding this step for a number of months already; but passing a thousand participants gave me the confidence that I needed to know that IDEAS was now a stable fixture that could/would not fail as it continues to soar into the future. Also, the approach of Symposium 4.0 began to wake me up further to my need and desire to live and breathe a retired musical life. As I am proceeding into my seventies, I am continually aware of the old adage that “life is not a rehearsal”, and my need and desire to grasp the increasing freedom of time that I have dreamed of all of my life. As my wife and I are constantly saying to each other – “if not now - when?”
Given that, I cannot devote to my love for the GR8 IDEAS that Joe and I created from nothing, the full time work that is required to sustain it. Life can be so short and time can move so quickly that I need to turn the page in my personal book to an existence with less obligation and responsibility. I am always talking at the Symposium performances and other gigs about my old historic obsession with “freedom”. “Freedom may be just another word for nothing left to lose” (Eagles) – but while it is still possible, I need to explore it.
I am leaving IDEAS management in the best of hands, of course, with my partner Joe Natoli. Naturally, I am reminiscing about all those nights and weeks and months where we would dream about the possibilities of such a new organization devoted to the digital and electronic accordion community. Could it rise above the politics and the history of the accordion world? Could it actually exist for real with honor, love, and supportive relations carrying a message of harmony and creativity to the world?
The answer, as we all know now, is positively YES! I will never forget when we were all together in Ohio, and Rivka jumped into the excitement of those moments with the letters – IDEAS – written on a scrap of paper telling us that it was the International Digital Electronic Accordion Society and that it was the perfect name that we were looking for.. Who knows what heavenly source those creations were coming from? We were so nervous, albeit excited, when we arrived together at that fateful NAA meeting to unveil our creation. It feels like a century ago - and how thrilled we were to leave Texas with a half dozen committed members.
I am sure that Joe, with all of us supporting and participating as members, will take IDEAS to heights that he and I have only imagined over the last 4 years or so. I am also sure that he will find ways to actualize it all.
I will remain a member of the world’s finest accordion group for life and will focus, at last, more on my own love and pursuit of the music than on the work and administration. And only Joe and I know how overwhelming that work can and has been. I love teaching and sharing the technology and have been busier now, more and more, teaching and sharing about using and programming the FR-4x both privately, and inside and out of IDEAS. That passion will only increase now.
We have relocated to Tellico Village near Knoxville Tennessee and are busy every day now creating a comfortable home for ourselves with my own studio, finally. It is rural and relaxed, and far from the excitement and action of New York City that had captivated us for so long. I also love travelling in my RV and as many of you have known, I am always drawn to show up personally visiting IDEAS members all over the continent and maybe even the planet. Mitchell, and Marcus, and Bob Donovan, and Ted Leyton up in Canada, Maggie Abel in Oklahoma, Tris Gour and Greg Volovic and others….watch in your driveway – you never know!
Symposium 4.0 is around the corner, and I will be there, as I am sure I will be forever. I am sure that it will be the huge success that it has always been. I am so proud that Joe and I, once committed, created the gold standard of virtual musical events with Symposium 3.0 regardless of how much work was involved!
Mixed feelings – happy to enjoy retired life with my remaining time and sad to miss all of the excitement of creating from the ground up maybe the finest musical organization on the planet.
Onward and upward!