Coming from a childhood filled with Scottish folk music in Dundee, Scottish soloist James Crabb’s remarkable career now sees him described as “explosive” and “dazzling” by critics worldwide and an internationally acclaimed virtuoso of the classical accordion.

Now coming to Auckland in May, his performance with the APO promises to be an unforgettable experience. He will perform Dragspil (Icelandic for ‘accordion’), written for him by the late New Zealand composer Lyell Cresswell. It’s a work of drama, beauty, and ambitious proportions and showcases Crabb’s effortless mastery of the instrument.

“It’s tricky, a lot of it, but it’s really fun to play,” says Crabb. “The last movement has such a drive to it, it’s really exciting. It is an epic concerto; it’ll knock people over.”


The accordionist remembers the late Cresswell, who died in March 2022, with reverence and affection, describing their relationship as full of shared curiosity, endless humour, and a lot of trust. It was always their joint goal to bring Dragspil to the country of the composer’s birth.

“It’s a great honour, and I’m really, really happy to be performing this concerto in New Zealand. It was something we spoke about a lot, and I’m sure he’ll be there in spirit.”

Paired in concert with a mystical tone-poem by Sibelius, a hauntingly beautiful work evoking the raw power of Nordic mythology, and Elgar’s deeply romantic First Symphony, this is an evening not to be missed!

Don’t miss your chance to see the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra performing with accordionist James Crabb. The performance will be held at 7.30 pm on Thursday, 18 May, at the Auckland Town Hall.