Anton was drawn to music at an early age however did not have his first music lesson until 11 years of age. At four years of age he had his first encounter with a piano accordion (a little red 8 bass instrument) which left a lifelong impression.
In 1967 his father Josef an accomplished self-taught button accordionist gave Anton his first lessons but on a piano accordion which he had bought out of the goodness of his heart from an Italian chap in 1965 who needed the money to pay fares for him and his family to take them back to Italy. With only two years of instruction from his father Anton developed quickly into an excellent accordionist.
At thirteen he performed solo to a full house at his school concert in the Canberra Theatre. He had his first regular gig at age 15 playing Friday and Saturday evenings in a restaurant with a dance floor. He studied music as an elective throughout high school and college and took Musicianship courses in the Canberra School of Music in the early 1980’s. At age 14 Anton took trumpet lessons and played in the Queanbeyan City Brass Band for five years. There he also learnt to play baritone, euphonium, flugelhorn and cornet. During these years Anton found a love for big band music, classical, pop, blues and jazz. At home his family played classical music, swing, big band and Broadway era vinyls. He played in various ensembles which his father led for 23 years in the Canberra region.
During his early 20’s he realised he had to find a teacher to advance his musicianship however this search was unsuccessful. He wrote letters to music stores in New York, Munich and Paris to acquire technical music for the piano accordion for study.
A great story is when he entered a local music store in Canberra to purchase accordion music and there was just one box of music for accordion (“right down there in the back corner sonny”) said the proprietor of the store. Anton thumbed through the music and took the entire box to the counter to pay for all its contents. The store owner would not allow it so somewhat bewildered Anton purchased about half its contents. A week later he returned in fear the music would be sold and purchased the remaining music in the box. In this music there was technical studies by Pietro Diero (“The Daddy of the Accordion”), Pietro Frosini, Charles Magnante, Frank Gaviani, Eugene Ettore, Charles Camilleri, and Otto Bukowski.
Also contained in this box was music by Art Van Damme who became a strong influence on Anton’s style. This music plus the music sourced from USA and Europe was the foundation of Anton’s self-teaching on the piano accordion.
In the 1980’s he formed several trios and quartets performing mostly in the ethnic clubs around Canberra and then at age 34 Anton after auditioning on piano accordion was accepted by the Canberra School of Music to undertake Jazz Piano Studies. At this point being virtually a self-taught accordionist the opportunity to learn another instrument allowed him to further his musicianship and in particular his love for jazz and improvisation. A period of four years he immersed himself in Jazz Piano Studies all the while processing this knowledge across to the accordion. He began to perform as a solo pianist and also in various ensembles around the Canberra region utilising both the accordion and keyboard instruments in a wide variety of musical genres.
He collaborated with local jazz violinist Wilf Jones and a trio was formed with George Urbaszek on double bass. This versatile trio performed many concerts over a 10 year period and in 1992 produced a cassette titled “Wilf Jones and Friends” and in 2000 a cd recording titled “Those were the Days”.
In 2004 Anton was asked to accompany the Australian Accordion Orchestra as guest soloist on their tour to Austria and Germany. On this tour he gained a reputation among German and Austrian accordionists as a fine musician.
In 2006 Anton formed a duo with local clarinettist Nicole Canham performing French inspired music (musettes, tangos, javas, mazurkas, polkas, and sambas) Astor Piazzola compositions and some of Anton’s compositions. In 2006 they recorded a cd “Live for Life” which has featured on ABC National Radio many times. All arrangements are by Anton and the recording captures authentic French Musette music, Astor Piazzola compositions and a composition by Anton titled “Move Tango”. This duo was the first to showcase an accordionist in the Canberra International Music Festival in 2007 and was a resounding success.
Anton has also been influenced by the compositions of French accordionists Gus Viseur, Andre Astier, Joseph Colombo, Tony Murena, Jean Peyronnin and Andre Verchuren to mention a few. He has composed for solo accordion and accordion orchestra. His solo compositions are a delight and has arranged several of his compositions for string quartet and accordion – (Waves of Mallorca, Furious Tango, Move Tango, Lachlan’s Mood, Rem Zelker, Old Friend and Melancholy Moments) to mention a few.
He has performed in a wide variety of musical genres including Orchestral Work, Live Theatre, Classical, Continental, Latin American, Rhythm’n Blues, Pop, Rock, Country and Jazz. He has participated in local studio (Artsound FM “Friday Night Live Concerts”), national radio, T.V. and video recordings.
In 2013 he was asked by conductor Chris Latham (and Director Canberra International Music Festival) if he would consider playing the Harmonium part in Gustav Mahler’s Ninth Symphony. In less than a month Anton transcribed the Harmonium part for the accordion in readiness for the concert. It was during this experience performing classical music that Anton rekindled his love for classical music and decided to begin selecting pieces for a solo piano accordion cd.
In August 2014 Anton composed a jazz composition titled “Violin Musette” for world renowned virtuoso violinist Christian Howes. Christian was a guest at the Canberra School of Music giving Master Classes and Anton met with Christian showing him a bunch of compositions. The same evening “Violin Musette” was performed in concert by Christian and Anton with rhythm section.
It is interesting to note that Anton upon completing college started a career in Carpentry and Joinery (his father was a builder). He then undertook Architectural Drafting studies and for most of his life has worked as a carpenter, building estimator, building surveyor and in construction project management.
In parallel alongside his working career he has always maintained a great love for music.