The phenomenon which most likely will characterize our era in the eyes of tomorrow’s historians is the onset of globalization. Within the space of little more than a century, there has been an exponential acceleration in the speed and availability of the means of transportation. Travelling around the globe has become almost normal for a vast majority of the inhabitants of the wealthy countries. Furthermore, communication technology has dramatically flattened the remaining distances. Today, a smartphone and an internet connection allow us to instantly connect with friends, relatives, or colleagues in any point of the globe. This has further caused the contamination and hybridization of our culture. The immediate availability of cultural products, artworks, or curiosities from virtually all cultures of the present and of the past creates omnivorous appetites, and the possibility of instantly satisfying them. “Fusion” is one of the keywords of today’s world, in food as in music, in clothing as in reading. The world has become a gigantic menu from which we can pick and choose whatever product encounters our taste. This has doubtlessly many advantages, but also some problematic elements. One of them is our increasing inability to contextualize a cultural product within the environment which produced it. For no man is an island; and society, language, culture, religion, politics etc., are fundamental components of an artist’s horizon. On the plus side, however, globalization has transferred to the whole world the enrichment coming from the encounter of cultures. If meeting somebody from a different culture has always brought an increase in knowledge and a broadening of horizons, this is now an experience available to all. From this viewpoint, the figure of Astor Piazzolla is one ahead of his time. And, indeed, during his lifetime Piazzolla had to struggle for recognition, whilst today’s globalized world increasingly appreciates his idiosyncratic figure and charism.
Piazzolla was born in Mar del Plata on March 11th, 1921. He was the son of Italian emigrants. His father Vicente came from a family originally from Puglia; his mother, Assunta, came from a small Tuscan village. Poverty had driven the Piazzollas, along with countless other Italians, to the other side of the Atlantic. Many settled in the United States, whilst many more sought fortune in Latin America. Argentina, in particular, became a haven for the Italian emigrants: several Argentinian cities bear the name of Italian towns or villages, representing the touching tribute of the emigrants to their native lands; Italian, or Italian-sounding, words, have found their way in the particular form of Spanish spoken in Argentina. When Piazzolla was only four, however, his family moved to New York, where the boy grew up. There, he began to experience the lively musical culture of the American Roaring Twenties and of the Thirties. The legends of jazz played every night in the clubs of the metropolis, and Piazzolla did not miss his chance to listen to their performances. Already as a child, Astor had begun playing the bandoneon, one of the most typical instruments of Latin America; he was largely self-taught, but, at the same time, he learnt many technical and compositional skills from both Argentinian and US musicians. The real turning point of Piazzolla’s life, however, was his meeting with Carlos Gardel, the great singer and actor, who encouraged him in his musical efforts, and even invited him to participate in a tour. To Astor’s chagrin, his father forbade him to embark on such a tour; however, this choice was providential because Gardel died during the journey due to a plane accident. In 1937, the family went back to Mar del Plata. The boy, now 16 years old, had the possibility of knowing in depth the magic and the secrets of the tango, the quintessential musical expression of the Argentinian soul. However, by that time, he had been exposed to many other musical languages; in particular, to the sounds and rhythms of North American jazz music. He tried, therefore, to blend these two American languages, and to create his own style out of their encounter. This corresponded to the “truth” of his personality and of his own history: his musical perspective was born from the encounter of his Italian roots, of his Argentinian birth, and of his American upbringing. Yet, this was also seen as a betrayal of the “genuinely” Argentinian voice of the tango – to the point that his early efforts earned him the nickname of the asasino del tango. Indeed, Piazzolla himself was the first to acknowledge that his tango was not the same as that transmitted by tradition. He called his music nuevo tango, and proudly proposed it as a melting pot of the Argentinian tango, of the American jazz, but also of the culture of Western Classical music, from J. S. Bach to Stravinsky and to the pioneers of the avantgarde. If the Argentinians, who were the true specialists of traditional tango, failed at first to recognize the explosive innovation of Piazzolla’s nuevo tango, the Europeans were probably less attached to the quintessentially Argentinian tradition, and could see Piazzolla’s experiments with more detachment. And in fact, it was in Europe that he established his international reputation. Indeed, by a curious turn of the historical circumstances, it was precisely in Italy that Piazzolla obtained his first great successes. In particular, he established fruitful partnerships with some of the most important Italian musicians and singers of the era, including Milva and Mina, but also percussionist Tullio De Piscopo and bassist Pino Presti. With them, and others, he recorded in 1974 a legendary album, called Libertango after the most celebrated of its tracks. Libertango, a portmanteau from “libertad” and “tango”, is one of the most famous pieces by Piazzolla, and epitomizes the composer’s new idiom. The piece was recorded countless times afterwards, and has penetrated popular culture through films and commercials. In that 1974 album, another famous piece was found, i.e. Adios Nonino. This is one of the most autobiographical pieces ever written by the composer. He drafted it upon receiving the news of his father’s death. He was on tour, at the time, and probably found it difficult to forgive himself for not having been with his father. The family called Astor’s father nonino: this is one of the words which migrated from Italian to Argentinian Spanish. In Italian, “nonnino” (with a double N) is the affectionate form of “nonno”, grandfather; Astor’s children used to call their granddad nonino. The composer had already written a piece dedicated to his father, and had called it Nonino; he took the musical structure of Nonino and built on it his farewell, Adios, to his father. This creative action was cathartic: the composer had fallen into depression at his father’s death, in conjunction with the failure of the tour, and music helped him to overcome the sadness of mourning. Another special dedication is that of Escualo, a piece dedicated to one of the performers of this Da Vinci Classics album. It is the legendary violinist Fernando Suárez Paz, born in Ramos Mejía in 1941, who passed away in 2020. His great talent allowed him to enter the ranks of the Symphonic Orchestra of the LRA Radio del Estado while still in his teens; later, he would play in the two major orchestras of Argentina, i.e. the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional and the Orquesta Filarmónica de Buenos Aires. In spite of his classical education and his activity as a classical violinist, Suárez Paz was also a specialist of tango, playing in numerous tango orchestras and also in smaller ensembles. In particular, in 1978 he was noticed by Piazzolla, who invited him to join the Quinteto Nuevo Tango. For ten years, they toured together all over the world; Suárez Paz had become Piazzolla’s reference violinist, and also a very good friend. In 1991, the violinist played the solo part of Piazzolla’s Concierto de Nácar, and in the same year he recorded an album dedicated to Piazzolla. After the composer’s death, he would keep playing his music and promoting it with devotion and with unequalled expressivity: in the 1996 he founded a quintet for this particular purpose.The quintet, indeed, was one of Piazzolla’s favorite instrumental combinations: for it, he composed the Concierto para Quinteto, one of his masterpieces in its skillful handling of the received forms of classical composition and of the innovative and personal style of Piazzolla’s music. The work was premiered in 1971 by the Quinteto Nuevo Tango, and it embodies the composer’s fully developed personality. Among the other pieces recorded here, the two movements from the Estaciones Porteñas deserve special mention. The four works composing the collection were originally conceived separately, and were later combined by Piazzolla into a suite, reminiscent of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. The pieces depict the various feelings and atmospheres of the four seasons of Buenos Aires: given the austral hemisphere, they have contrasting characteristics with respect to those of the European Vivaldi! Another Italian was the inspirer of Oblivion, originally written for the soundtrack of Marco Bellocchio’s Enrico IV; it is one of Piazzolla’s most touching compositions, with its hypnotic atmospheres and colors. The Milonga del Ángel (1962) belongs in a small suite dedicated to an “angel”; the triptych would be later expanded to include the Angel’s “Resurrection”, in 1965. Milongas are a genre of Latin-American music, which developed in the 1870s and constitutes one of the roots of Piazzolla’s own idiom. This piece lends its name to a 1993 album in which also Escualo and Biyuya are found. By way of contrast, no real “angel”, and no Italian lie behind Michelangelo ’70. The piece, in fact, is no homage to angels, or to the Italian artist Michelangelo Buonarroti: rather, it refers to a nightclub in Buenos Aires, where the composer used to play. It is a piece with an almost minimalist build-up, which reveals the fecund fantasy of the composer in employing skillfully an essential musical material. Together, these pieces represent a unique insight in the world of Piazzolla as a composer and as a performer, since he transmitted the true essence of his music to his most faithful collaborators, among whom Suárez Paz certainly has pride of place.
Chiara Bertoglio © 2022
Cesare Chiacchiaretta devoted himself to the study of the accordion at a very young age, taking up the bandoneon later. He studied under M° Claudio Calista, graduating with distinction at the Conservatory of Bari in 1995. He perfected his skills under renowned maestros such as Max Bonnay, Vladimir Zubitsky and Mogens Ellegaard. He was awarded in the most important national and international competitions and in 1993 is the winner of PIF Castelfidardo Premio Category. Performing more than 1,000 concerts in 35 countries in the world he played solo with important orchestras: Italian Radio Switzerland Orchestra, Kaunas Chamber Orchestra ,Bacau Symphony Orchestra, Queretaro Symphony Orchestra, I Virtuosi of Moscow, Lugansk Philarmonie, Kiev Philarmonica, Baden Baden Philarmonie, Brazos Valley Orchestra (USA), Chamber Orchestra of the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, East Western Orchestra (South Korea), Salzburg Soloists, Sanremo Philarmonic Orchestra, etc. He played under the direction of Maestro RICCARDO MUTI at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. He collaborated with Eddie Daniels and in 2008 he played as a bandoneonist with Fernando Suarez Paz.In 2011 he won the Astor Piazzolla Award for the dissemination of the compositions of the great Argentine master. He is accordion teacher at the Conservatorio Statale di musica in Foggia.His masterclasses are scheduled in the Universities of Missoula (Montana-USA), St. Petersburg (Russia), Loyola University (Los Angeles-USA) and Beijing Central Conservatory.
Enrico Fagone, Double-Bass
is appointed principal double bass in the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana (OSI) since 2004 and professor at the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana since 2010. His artistic activity is divided between the performance and conducting. He is regularly invited by the most prestigious festivals worldwide, and regularly performs with Martha Argerich, Vladimir Ashkeanzy, Ivry Gitlis, Martha Argerich, Mischa Maisky, Vadim Repin, Katia and Marielle Labèque. As conductor and soloist he has been invited by London Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, RAI National Symphony Orchestra of Turin, Cagliari Theatre Orchestra, Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra, I Virtuosi Italiani, the Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra, LaVerdi the Milan Symphony Orchestra Giuseppe Verdi, the Chamber Orchestra of Padova e del Veneto, the Munich Chamber Opera, FOI Filarmonica dell’Opera Italiana, Philharmonie Südwestfalen, to name but a few.
E.F. devotes much of his energy to making new compositions known, music written today for today's audience. Performing music of our present time, conducting pieces by living composers and proposing new sound gestures are a priority in his artistic career.
E.F. regularly holds master classes at The Juilliard School (New York), Royal College of Music (London), Mozarteum (Salzburg), Royal Danish Academy, Toho Gakuen (Tokyo) and Paris Conservatory CNSMDP.
E.F. studied in Piacenza with Leonardo Colonna and completed his studies in double bass with Franco Petracchi and Klaus Stoll. He studied conducting at the Abbado School, in Milano, later he completed his studies with Jorma Panula in Helsinki. E.F. studied composition with Jorge. A. Bosso.
E.F. is artistic director of the Bottesini Competition, Music Director of the Long Island Orchestra in New York and Ambassador of the Martha Argerich Project.
Fernando Suarez Paz was a musician, violinist and director Argentine who was part of the Orchestra National Symphony and the Philharmonic Orchestra of Buenos Aires. Born in the province of Buenos Aires, he began his musical studies at the age of five, playing the violin. As a young man, he joined the LRA Radio del Estado Youth Symphony Orchestra. He specialized in the genre of tango, he was a regular in the top positions of the groups and orchestras of which he was part. Later he joined the National Symphony Orchestra of Buenos Aires. He was for more than seventeen years as concertmaster of the Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Burt Bacharach, Lalo Schifrin, Michel Legrand and Waldo de los Ríos. Due to his way of interpreting music, for which he demonstrated innovative talent and creativity, in the mid-1970s he was part of the band Los 7 del Tango under the direction of Luis Stazo. He participated in the creation of the Sexteto mayor in 1978, of which he was a part until in 1988 the group dissolved and he became a member of the Quinteto Nuevo Tango. In Quinteto Nuevo Tango he performed with Astor Piazzolla for ten years. During this period Suárez Paz under the direction of Piazzolla, showed his creative capacities and the musical quality that the quintet achieved, with the interpretation of songs such as Escualo, dedicated to the Argentine composer and director who wrote the pieceAt the end of his stage in Quinteto Nuevo Tango, he played with Gary Burton at festivals in Europe, Japan, and the United States. As a soloist he performed and recorded the Piazzolla Nacar Concert in 1993, with the National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Pedro Ignacio Calderón. From that moment on he made recitals and records as a soloist, for example as a performer of the Concert in Negrorian Song for violin and orchestra, dedicated to him by the composer and conductor Gabriel Senanes. The following year he was appointed musical director of the Astor Tango production, consisting of a series of recitals around the composer. He made a new tour of the United States in 2000 with Springs for Piazzolla. He was invited by to attend the Steinway Festival in Manchester. In 2001 he traveled to Europe where he toured with the Assad Duo, he was invited to the Bergen Music Festival. On July 4, he held the opening of the Astor Triunfal cycle at the Colón Theater in Buenos Aires, in the tribute made to Piazzolla on the tenth anniversary of his death. He formed a duo with the pianist Osvaldo Requena. He was a member of the groups of Horacio Salgán, Miguel Caló, Fulvio Salamanca, Pedro Laurenz, Aníbal Troilo, Mariano Mores, Atilio Stampone, Leopoldo Federico, Osvaldo Requena, Néstor Marconi, Osvaldo Berlingieri and Raúl Garello. He died on September 12, 2020 at the Sanatorio La Trinidad, in Pilar. He was Illustrious Citizen of Buenos Aires. [ 3 ]In 2005, the National Academy of Tango paid him a tribute on his 50th anniversary as a musician. In 2019, he won Latin Grammy Best Tango Album, Revolutionary performed by the Astor Piazzolla Quintet.
Marco Colacioppo studied piano with Nicola Calabrese and with Nazzareno Carusi, graduating in piano and harpsichord respectively at the "S. Cecilia" conservatory in Rome and "L. D'Annunzio" conservatory in Pescara. He subsequently graduated with 110/110 cum laude in musical disciplines-chamber music; the meetings with Viktor Merzhanov (professor at the "Tchaikovsky" Conservatory in Moscow), Alexander Lonquich, Paul Badura-Skoda, those in Austria with the famous pianist Maestro Jörg Demus and with Pier Narciso Masi at the prestigious International Piano Academy "Incontri col Maestro" in Imola also contributed to his artistic and cultural training. He has held concerts for important theaters and concert seasons in Italy, U.S.A. Argentina, Russia, Hungary, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Lithuania.
Chosen by Fernando Suarez Paz, the violinist of the famous “Quinteto Nuevo Tango”, founded by Astor Piazzolla, he performed for important Italian and foreign theaters. In Lugano, the Quartetto Suarez Paz held a live recorded recital at the headquarters of the Italian Swiss Television Radio (RSI - Rete 2). He performed, on the occasion of the 46th edition of the "Campiello Prize 2008" at the "La Fenice" theater in Venice live on Rai 1. He has also played and collaborated with artists such as Richard Galliano, Luigi Piovano, Massimo Spadano, Paolo Morena, Enrico Fagone, Cesare Chiacchiaretta, Corrado Giuffredi, Walter Zagato, and was directed by Domenico Losavio, Marco Zuccarini, Flavio Scogna, Giancarlo De Lorenzo, Eduardo Hubert. He was also invited to be part of the juries of various national and international competitions.
Astor Piazzolla: (b Mar del Plata, 11 March 1921; d Buenos Aires, 5 July 1992). Argentine composer, bandleader and bandoneón player. A child prodigy on the bandoneón, Piazzolla and his family emigrated to New York in 1924; in his teens he became acquainted with Gardel, for whom he worked as a tour guide, translator and occasional performer. Piazzolla returned to Buenos Aires in 1937 where he gave concerts and made tango arrangements for Aníbal Troilo, a leading bandleader; he also studied classical music with Ginastera. In 1944 Piazzolla left Troilo’s band to form the Orquesta del 46 as a vehicle for his own compositions. A symphony composed in 1954 for the Buenos Aires PO won him a scholarship to study in Paris with Boulanger, who encouraged him in the composition of tangos; the following year he resettled in Argentina and formed the Octeto Buenos Aires and, later, the Quinteto Nuevo Tango, which performed at his own club, Jamaica. Piazzolla left Argentina in 1974, settling in Paris, where he composed a concerto for bandoneón and a cello sonata for Rostropovich, among other works.
Piazzolla’s distinctive brand of tango, later called ‘nuevo tango’, initially met with resistance. Including fugue, extreme chromaticism, dissonance, elements of jazz and, at times, expanded instrumentation, it was condemned by the old-guard, including not only most tango composers and bandleaders but also Borges, whose short story El hombre de la Esquina Rosada was the basis for Piazzolla’s El tango (1969); like tango itself, Piazzolla’s work first found general approval outside Argentina, principally in France and the USA. By the 1980s, however, Piazzolla’s music was widely accepted even in his native country, where he was now seen as the saviour of tango, which during the 1950s and 60s had declined in popularity and appeal. In the late 1980s Piazzolla’s works began to be taken up by classical performers, in particular the Kronos Quartet, who commissioned Five Tango Sensations (1989). In all he composed about 750 works, including film scores for Tangos: the Exile of Gardel (1985) and Sur (1987). Shortly before his death, he was commissioned to write an opera on the life of Gardel.