If the mere mention of accordion music immediately puts you in mind of a bonfire and a commensurately jolly community singing ambience, Richard Galliano will make you rethink - big time. The French-born accordionist has almost single-handedly revolutionized the public's attitude to the seemingly wieldy instrument and what can be eked out of its numerous buttons and keys. Next week (February 16-25) Galliano will join forces with the Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra on a six-date nationwide tour of the country, with concerts in Ashkelon, Kibbutz Givat Brenner, Tel Aviv, Kibbutz Ein Hashofet, Nahariya and Kibbutz Ein Hahoresh. Cannes, France-born Galliano started his musical path on piano and accordion under the tutelage of his musician father before enrolling at the music conservatory in nearby Nice where he studied harmony and trombone, graduating with honors in 1969. Although he started out as a classical musician, and won a string of prestigious awards in the genre, he soon began expanding his stylistic palette. After relocating to Paris in his early twenties he became a staple on the French chanson circuit, collaborating with the leading crooners of the day such as Charles Aznavour, Georges Moustaki and Barbara. He later branched out into jazz, adapting many jazz compositions to the accordion and working with such stellar jazz performers as trumpeters Chet Baker and Enrico Rava and pianist-keyboard player Joe Zawinul. However, Galliano found his niche when he began studying the mysteries of tango music - particular the works of Argentinean nuevo tango pioneer Astor Piazzolla - and gravitated towards the musette genre, the turn-of-the-century Parisian dance-hall music that was the French equivalent of tango. Today, Galliano incorporates all his many influences in his performances, and his forthcoming synergy with the Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra looks highly intriguing.