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February 18, 2009 > Piazzolla's Tango: His passion and music

Piazzolla's Tango: His passion and music

By Janet Grant

It may take two to tango but it takes a fabulous five to perform the music of the tango, as the Quienteto Quilombo perform in the old Mission San Jose this Friday. Music at the Mission in partnership with Music@Market presents the second concert of their 5th season, "Trajedia Comedia Y Piazzolla" with a night of music featuring the works of renowned Argentinean composer and bandonista, Astor Piazzolla.

Astor Pantaleon Piazzolla was not destined to follow a normal path in life. Born in Argentina to Italian parents, he spent time in New York as a jazz arranger, played in tango bands in Buenos Ares, and pursued studies in classical composition in the US and France. When it came time to choose his musical form, Piazzolla revolutionized the traditional tango. By incorporating elements of jazz and classical music, he created a new style termed "Tango Nuevo". Known in his native land as El Gran Astor (The Great Astor), Piazzolla is widely considered to be the most important tango composer of the latter half of the twentieth century.

Piazzolla straddled the classical and popular music worlds in a way that has rarely been seen in the history of music. Though many crossover artists have been successful, Piazzolla was incredibly adept in both worlds. Recently there has been a huge surge of interest in his music and many orchestras and chamber music groups have brought his tango compositions to the music hall.

Music at the Mission has designed a program that also straddles the classical and popular. The first half of Friday's concert will explore his classical roots, and will feature a number of Piazzolla's works composed specifically for the Classical music stage. The second half will comprise a set of Piazzolla's tangos and milongas, utilizing what many consider to be Piazzolla's greatest vehicle: the Quintet of bandoneon, violin, piano, electric guitar and double bass.

Quienteto Quilombo was formed in 2007 in order to bring together musicians with a common interest: the music of Astor Piazzolla. The Quintet comes from backgrounds as diverse as Piazzolla's music. Members include renowned Bay Area bandonista Seth Asarnow. Mr. Asarnow appears regularly in tango performances and milongas throughout California, in addition to having appeared as soloist with both the San Francisco and Marin Symphonies. Concert pianist and Music at the Mission Artistic Director Aileen Chanco has appeared as soloist with orchestras including the San Francisco Symphony and the Boston Pops, and in recital in venues including Alice Tully Hall and the Kennedy Center. Guitarist Paul Binkley is a former member of the Modern Mandolin Quartet and the band Strictly Tango. Violinist Ertan Torgul currently serves as concertmaster of the San Antonio Symphony. Bassist Bill Everett is a founding member of the critically acclaimed new music group The Adorno Ensemble, and serves as the principle bass of Symphony Silicon Valley.

As Astor Piazzolla once infused the worlds of classical and jazz with the tango, Music at the Mission hopes to join together two unlikely audiences, lovers of classical music with tango aficionado. And as February is the month of celebrating love and passion, what can be more befitting than exploring the music of the world's most sensual dance? Come celebrate the Argentinean Tango and the amazing works of Astor Piazzolla with a night out at the old Mission.

On Friday, an informative, half-hour talk by musician Bill Everett will precede the concert at 7:15 p.m. with the concert beginning at 8:00 p.m. A complimentary champagne reception will immediately follow the concert where you will be able to meet the artists.

Music at the Mission presents "Trajedia Comedia Y Piazzolla"
Friday, February 20
8 p.m.
Old Mission San Jose
43300 Mission Blvd., Fremont

General Admission, $25, Students/Seniors, $20

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