Astor Piazzolla, composer and bandoneon player, totally revolutionized tango music. He created “nuevo tango” (“new tango”) by adding aspects of jazz and classical to this traditional form. Based in Mar Del Plata, Argentina, the family moved to the States. Astor grew up on the mean streets of New York City, often left to his own devices, as his parents worked long hours. He began composing at a young age, and studied with a student of Rachmaninoff, Bela Wilda, who taught him to play Bach on his bandoneon. He also met Carlos Gardel, an important tango musician, who proved an important influence. He also studied classical composition with Alberto Ginastera (who wrote some terrific piano music based on traditional Argentinean folks themes), and later on, legendary composition teacher Nadia Boulanger in Paris.
Since Piazzolla perfectly combined tango music with classical, it makes sense to showcase the classical group Gryphon Trio in a performance of his music. In the link below, they perform Piazzolla’s “La Muerte del Angel” (“The Death of the Angel”). I’ve page-turned this piece for my brother Jamie who’s the pianist here. It’s torture because the music is VERY EXCITING and it is important to STAY CALM and focus on the score. Also, Jamie’s hands go flying when he stabs the low octaves, which means I have to seriously round out my back as I’m reaching for the page so I’m not smacked. #jobhazards …
Astor Piazzolla was born March 11, 1921 in Mar Del Plata, Argentina, and died July 4, 1992 in Buenos Aires.