Astor Piazzolla


Poverty drove Piazzolla's ancestors to emigrate from their homeland, and the young Astor was born of Italian parentage in Mar del Plata in Argentina on 11 March 1921. ln 1925 the family moved to New York to try their fortune in the big city. As Astor Piazzolla has said him- self, "It was at the lime of prohibition and the mafia... I hung around the streets more than I went to school... my musical world gradually grew up round jazz, Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway who I managed to hear at the door of the Cotton Club, although I was both too young and too poo - to go in. My father used to play the old nostalgic tangos by Carlos Gardel on the gramophone. For my ninth birthday he gave me a bandoneon (button accordion), and I had lessons with a teacher who introduced me to classical music".
ln 1937 the Piazzolla family returned to Mar del Plata, but Astor was soon attracted more to the capital, and when only sixteen he moved to Buenos Aires, renting a small room as a lodger. He had been engaged as a bandoneon player in the band directed by Anibal Troïlo, himself a specialist on the instrument, and was thus able to pay the rent with his first tees. At the same lime he did not neglect his studies but look lessons in piano and harmony with a young teacher by the name of Alberto Ginastera, who went on to become a renowned composel.
ln 1946 Astor got his own "tipica" band together, playing nothing but tangos. It was the springboard he needed for his own development.. "I played my own arrangements, and started using triple rhythms in what had been a very four-square rhythmic pattern up to then, and experimenting with bold harmonies" His innovations, however, met with little success and the group disbanded. He renewed his studies even more enthusiastically and founded a new string orchestra - which led him right back to failure and bitter disillusionment. Still he persisted - his hard upbringing in New York had taught him to be stubborn, with an aggressive edge.
The turning point came when Astor travelled to Europe in the 1950s to study conducting with Hermann Scherchen, and met Nadia Boulanger, the famous teacher of composition in Paris. She showed him that his identity was not in intellectual music but in the tango, spiced with a touch of classical style and jazz, and moulded by his own intuitive sense.
Once back in Buenos Aires he formed his first octet in 1955 and, by using what he had learned from Ginastera and Boulanger as well as phrasing borrowed from jazz, he made his tangos swing with new life. As was to be expected this caused quite a stir in the ranks of the consevative tango players, but Piazzolla was not to be deflected from his new course. From now on his tango was a distinctively modern form that he exploited with his new quintet which achieved lame with their "tango nuevo". International recognition was at last his, and concerts and recordings flowed unceasingly. From the 1960s until his death in July 1992, his success never stopped growing.

Usefull addresses

Fundacion Piazzolla
Rodriguez Pena 577 P.B.
1020 Buenos Aires
Tel. : (54)-1-3727402
Fax : (54)-1-7780898

Editions Universelles
52 rue du Faubourg St Martin
F-75010 Paris
Tel. : 33 (1) 42 02 21 15
Fax : 33 (1) 42 06 83 01

TONOS Musikverlags GmbH
Holzhofallee 15
D-64295 Darmstadt
Tel. : (49) 6151 3904-0
Fax : (49) 6151 3904-90

Editorial Lagos (Warner Chappell Music Argentina)
Cordoba 1351 - Piso 2
C1055ADD Buenos Aires
Tel. : (4815)-9904 ou (54-11) 4816-0734
Fax : (54-11) 4814-3663

A. Pagani s.r.l. Edizioni Musicali
Via Dei Gardonesi 34
Tel. : (39) 031 553254
Fax : (39) 031 553249

Ashley Mark Publishing Co.
1 - 2 Vance Court
Trans Britannia Enterprise Park
Blaydon on Tyne NE21 5NH
United Kingdom
Tel. : (44)-191-4149000
Fax : (44)-191-4149001

Edizioni Musicali Bèrben
Via Redipuglia 65
60122 Ancona, Italy
Tel. : 071 20 44 28
Fax : 071 57414


    • 24.10.2021
    • Four for Tango
    • Clermont Ferrand (France)
    • Opéra-Théâtre
    • Solistes de l'Orchestre National d'Auvergne
    • 14.10.2021
    • Double concerto
    • Aix en Provence (France)
    • Grand Théatre
    • Ksenija Sidorova (acdn), Miloš Karadaglić (guit), Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
    • 14.03.2021
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    • Paris (France)
    • Radio France, Auditorium
    • Musiciens de l'orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
    • 13.03.2021
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    • Buenos Aires (Argentina)
    • Teatro Colon
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