Today, the name Astor Piazzolla is synonymous with the tango. A master of the
bandoneon, a large button accordion noted for its unwieldy size and difficult fingering system, Piazzolla revolutionized the tango, transforming the earthy, sensual, even disreputable folk music into a sophisticated form of high art and elevating it from the dance halls onto the concert stage. A virtuosic performer with a near unparalleled mastery of the bandoneon, he was also an adventurous composer, borrowing from jazz and classical music forms to create an entirely new harmonic and rhythmic vocabulary dubbed "nuevo tango." His first quintet, formed in 1960, caused a sensation among the youth of his native Argentina, similar to that of the “bossa nova” in Brazil. While it garnered him enormous international popularity and acclaim, tango adherents didn’t welcome his experimentation with the emblem of Argentine culture and death threats were not uncommon. Piazzolla’s music was eventually embraced by his countrymen and he remained tango's foremost emissary to the world until his death in 1992.
The current Quintet of five virtuoso soloists has traveled the world for more than 20 years, sharing his music with a new generation and bringing a sense of newness and freshness to Piazzolla’s unique sound. Join us after the performance for a live discussion with the artists.
Photo Credit: Cristian Welcomme
Funds provided by the Merle & Peter Mullin Endowment for the Performing Arts.