Band - Howard Kantorowski

  About the band/orchestra teacher:

Howard Kantorowski, (a.k.a. “Mr. K” around the band/orchestra  room),is  a  well-known artist in San Diego, California,  and has performed on his main  instrument, the accordion, since April, 1961.

It was at the Robert Mitchell Accordion School of Music that Howard decided to begin his education on the accordion. He eventually made his way to the Western States Accordion Festivals, held annually in the southern California area, and quickly received 1st place in four categories, three consecutive years in a row.

Mr. K entertained in many of San Diego’s restaurants and night clubs. He continued his musical instruction from Charles Bertolino at Bertolino’s  Music Center, and his graduate instruction at San Diego State University with Maestro Donald Balestrieri, and world renowned musicologist, Dr. Jaroslav Mracek.

For his Master’s Thesis in music at San Diego State University, Mr. K  transcribed a piece for the accordion from the then composer-in-residence in San Diego, Mr. Paul Creston, called the Fantasy for Accordion and Orchestra, to wind ensemble. He then performed it as part of the completed thesis with the San Diego State Wind Ensemble. Sections of this piece can now be heard at Howard’s website, at

He first received his M.A. degree in Music with an emphasis in music history, performed the piece with the San Diego State University Wind Ensemble, and graduated in 1982.  He then went on to Chapman University where he received his M.A. in Special Education. He had been Department Chair and teacher for Special Education, in the La Mesa/Spring Valley School District, working at La Mesa Middle School, La Mesa, CA. Upon graduating, Mr. K quickly reentered the field of entertainment, and began performing on a portable organ, electronic piano, and various vintage synthesizers. Since then he has been studying on his SECOND instrument, the trombone. He later became leader of the present band seen in the San Diego area, The Original German Band.

Mr. K also transcribed on computer disks the piano and vocal scores of several well-known musicals. Each year, the Peter Pan Junior Theater has performed famous Broadway musical productions for the community of La Mesa. Mr. K’s contributions are twofold:  he recorded the entire piano scores onto computer disk, which are then used as rehearsal tools for the students. He also performed gratis on synthesized bass in the orchestra, with additional enhancement of electronic “sounds” and stringed instruments. Some of the musicals that were scored onto disk were “My Fair Lady,” “Oliver,” “The Music Man,” “Annie,” “Lil’ Abner,” George Gershwin’s “Crazy For You,” and recently  “Charlie Brown.”

Mr. K has been seen performing and/or appearing with his accordion at the La Mesa Oktoberfest, San Diego Oktoberfest, The Roman Holiday Italian band, Starlight Theater San Diego, the ALSI monthly meetings in San Diego, CA, and other groups whenever an accordion is needed. He has been an active member of the American Musicological Society since 1978, an active member of AFM Local 325 since 1969.  He performs regularly on his Petosa MIDI AM1100, and the Roland V series electronic accordion. Some recordings can be heard at his website,