ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Accordionist Guy Klucevsek’s most critical gig came at a church service.
In September, he joined soprano Renee Fleming on “Danny Boy” at the funeral for Sen. John McCain at Washington’s National Cathedral.
“I was looking directly across from Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, George Bush, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton,” he said in a telephone interview from New York. “Directly to our left was Cindy McCain and her son and to our right was the coffin.
“It was incredibly moving and incredibly powerful.”
Klucevsek will perform at Chatter on Sunday, Dec. 2, with pianist Luke Gullickson at Las Puertas Event Center.
Klucevsek starting playing the accordion at age 5.
“I didn’t know any better,” he said with a laugh. “It was on TV all the time when I was a kid. I pestered my Dad to buy me one. I wore him out after six months.
“There were a lot of great accordion players at the time,” he continued. “It was still the most popular instrument in America. Then Elvis Presley came along and changed everything.”
Klucevsek studied the instrument in college, where he majored in composition. He would go on to play with Laurie Anderson, Bang On a Can, Dave Douglas, Bill Frisell, the Kronos Quartet, Natalie Merchant and John Zorn, among others. He worked with the composer John Williams on four film scores. He most recently collaborated with Anderson on a virtual reality piece.
His Albuquerque date will feature a smorgasbord of his own compositions drawing from tango, boogie and rag traditions, as well as classical themes in “Bar Talk” (Bartok).
“I’m something of a punster,” he acknowledged.
A selection of solos and duets make up the program. The concert marks the first time he has performed here.
“I’ve been to Albuquerque many times before,” he said. “I have friends there. It’s my favorite landscape in the U.S.”