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Krasovsky, Emanuel

Picture: Krasovsky, Emanuel

Vilna (Lithuania). null

Biography

PIAZZOLLA, Astor

Picture: PIAZZOLLA, Astor

Mar del Plata, 1921 - Buenos Aires, 1992. Astor Pantaleón Piazzolla was born on 11 March 1921 in Mar del Plata, Argentina. He spent his childhood between Buenos Aires and New York - mostly in the second one. At 9 he started to study music in the United States and kept on learning in Buenos Aires and in Europe. In 1935 he had an almost mystical encounter with Carlos Gardel, while participating as an extra in the film El Día que me Quieras. His carreer does not really starts until he takes part as a bandoneón player at Aníbal Troilo's orchestra. In 1952 the French government awards him a scholarship to study with the legendary Nadia Boulanger, who incentivated him to follow his own style. In 1955 Astor comes back home and forms Octeto Buenos Aires . The selection of musicians chosen by him - in an experience similar to Gerry Mulligan's jazz band - ends up outlining daring arrangements and unusual tango timbres, such as the introduction of the electric guitar. Astor's presence generated at first misgivings, envy and admiration among tango artists. In the 60's his music was subjugated by strong criticisms, and Piazzolla had to defend it with great personal effort. The controversy ran on whether his music was tango or not, and it got to such a stage that Astor had to define it as "contemporary Buenos Aires music". But there was more: Astor provoked everybody with his informal costumes, with his pose to play the bandoneón (he acted standing upright, while the tradition was to hold the bellows seated) and with statements that sounded as a challenge. In the early 60's the formation was, basically, the quintet. His audience was made up of university students, the youth and intelectuals, although it was far from being a mass ensemble. Astor had already won the fame of being a tough, struggling person. He was at the height of his creative period and surrounded himself with the best musicians. With Adiós Nonino, Decarísimo and Muerte de un Ángel he started to tread a successful path that would reach peaks as his concert in the Philarmonic Hall of New York and turning into music poems by Jorge Luis Borges. In his last years, Piazzolla preferred to give concerts as a soloist in the company of a symphonic orchestra, with a few performances with his quintet. This is how he travelled the world and kept on extending the magnitude of his audience in each and every continent for the good and the glory of Buenos Aires music. Astor Piazzolla died in Buenos Aires on 4 July 1992, but he left as a legacy his invaluable work - which comprehends some fifty records - and the huge influence of his style. Actually, the cultural production on Piazzolla seems to have no end: it spreads to cinema and theatre, is constinuously edited by record companies and comes to life at Fundación Piazzolla, run by his widow, Laura Escalada.

Biography

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