Quinteto Astor Piazzolla plays Nuevo Tango for the World Music Institute at Peter Norton Symphony Space on Sunday, November 14, 2021 at 7:30pm (6:30pm doors). From $35. worldmusicinstitute.org 🇦🇷
Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992) blended European Classical music and Jazz into Argentine Tango. When Argentine’s first heard his Nuevo Tango (New Tango), they rejected it, saying it wasn’t Tango. Today it is the dominant form of Argentine Tango music. Only the dancers pursue the older traditions.
Interestingly Piazzolla started studying music and playing the bandoneon while living in New York City as a child. Tango icon Carlos Gardel invited the young man on tour with him, but Piazzolla’s father wouldn’t let him go. It’s a good thing because Gardel died when his flight from NYC crashed on landing in Medellín, Colombia.
Quinteto Astor Piazzolla
The Quinteto is the Latin Grammy winning ensemble of the Astor Piazzolla Foundation. They have direct access to his entire body of work. The concert celebrates the 100th Anniversary of Piazzolla’s birth in 1921.
The World Music Institute frames this concert in its Counterpoint Series which explores what “world music” can be in the 21st century. That’s an interesting thought because Piazzolla already revolutionized Argentine Tango once. Where can it go from here?
In the 1990s, Gotan Project mixed Argentine Tango with club music in Paris and other bands picked up the trend. You can hear Piazzolla’s legacy in the music, but it’s mixed with all kinds of club beats. The dancers call that music “Tango Nuevo,” which creates some confusion with Piazzolla’s Nuevo Tango. They are not the same thing.
In Argentina in the early 2000s, Orquesta Tipica Fernandez Fierro launched a trend of young bandoneon orchestras, but they also looked back to the Tango Golden Age of 1935-1955. The work of Osvaldo Pugliesi is the jumping off point. In a way, the work of Piazzolla can be seen as the next evolution of Argentine Tango after Pugliesi.
The question remains, where do you go from Astor Piazzolla’s Nuevo Tango? Perhaps the concert can answer that question.