By: Iride Aparicio

Photos Courtesy Cindy Byram PR

STANFORD UNIVERSITY --  Argentina talks, in  the musical tones of  El Tango. The sound of it voice is as mournful, as a Bandoneón. Its rhythm. ignites passion. Its words, instigate desire. Listening to them, sets all hearts on fire.

We know very little about the origin of El Tango in Argentina. All we know about it is that it arrived in Buenos Aires,  during the Siglo XIX (nineteenth Century). with immigrant groups from different European countries, which is the  reason why El Tango uses a mix of European instruments when interpreted, and when danced, "steps" of dances from different European cultures.

Its  rhythm, however,  2/4 or 4/4 beats per measure,  with two upbeats and two downbeats, frequently uses accented notes, and dynamic changes. It may be played  glissandi  or  staccato  or just with freedom for improvisation.

As a dance, El Tango may have originated by the combination of  two different  dances: La Habanera, African in Origin, but  very popular in Cuba during the XIX Century, that is believed was brought to Buenos Aires by the Cuban slaves who danced it. The other dance is El Tanguillo, a dance with a similar name and rhythm than the Tango. El Tanguillo originated in Andalusia and was danced by the  Gypsies in Spain. El Tanguillo (which may be translated as small tango)  was brought to Buenos Aires, during the same Century  by the Spaniards. Since then, El Tango has been the voice of Argentina.


And  on November 4th, Californians are going to be able to listen to its "voice." Where? at the Celebration Concert in honor Argentinian composer Astor Piazzola (l921-l992) centennial, which will be held in Concert Hall at Stanford University,

The concert is "special," because it will present to the American audience,  Piazzolla's. lesser-known works, masterly interpreted  by the Latin GRAMMY winner "Quinteto Astor Piazzolla," under the direction of Music Director  Julian Vat. The players are: Barbara Verassi Peg (piano). Pablo Mainetti ( Bandoleón), Serdar Geldymuradov (violin), Armando de la Vega (guitar) and Daniel Falasca (Bass).

For those who may not be familiar with the name of Piazzolla, we will give them a brief BIO of the Maestro.

astor piazolla .jpg

Astor Piazzolla  was born in Mar de Plata, Argentina in l921 and died in Buenos Aires in l992.  Considered a musical genius, he was a Tangos composer, bandoleón player and arranger, who left the traditional tango bands to be able to create and give Tangos a new "Sound" which he called "Nuevo Tango" (New Tango)  The structure of these New Tangos was a mix, of music genres, in which he  incorporated elements of Jazz, classical music, elements of  Neopolitan songs and even of  Klezmer ( the name given to Western cantorial and Ottomanic music) Because of these changes,  Piazzolla's "NewTangos" have a  different sound.  Listening to his New Tangos, we may find that some of  them can be lyrical and elegant, when others are vulgar and coarse, with their melodies constantly remade and reframed, fleeting musical phrases and unexpected turns.

Eight years after Piazzola's death, in the year 2000, under the initiative of the Piazzolla Foundation, and the auspices of  Laura Escalante, Piazzolla's widow, a Quintet was created with the sole purpose to interpret his compositions. The Quintet was put together  by Musical Director Juliàn Vat who knew the  composer  personally. Through open auditions, Vat selected  five musicians, coming from Tango's academic music and from jazz, who in his opinion could be able to re-create with their instruments, the complex sounds and rhythms of the demanding Piazzola's musical repertory. All the musicians selected, except for pianist Barbara Varassi Pega, are from Buenos Aires.

With the purpose honor Piazzolla's Centennial and acquaint a new generation of people to his music in concerts, a tour from Argentina to various USA states was organized by the Quinteto Astor Piazzolla, with a stop at Stanford University being one of them because Piazzolla's music require understanding. Maestro Vat, describes it as follows: "i am still amazed by Piazzolla's music. and the more I hear it the more I marvel at the genius of his Syntheses. What he does, with a small group of notes are great works of engineering and wisdom and a talent."

So, for music lovers, this concert will be unique  for two reasons: the first one is that  it is presenting in one night the complete body of  Piazzolla's works,  which never have been done before.  The second reason, is that because to play  Piazolla's Music requires:  instrumental virtuosity, certain attitude, commitment,  fearlessness and an undefinable quality in playing what the composer called  roña  (grime) in its instrument, every one of these five musician is excellent.  

The concert will be on November 4th at 7:30 with a Pre-concert talk at 6:45PM at CONCERT HALL,  327 Lasuen Street  at STANFORD UNIVERSITY CAMPUS  You can order tickets by going online to:  or by calling their phone at 650-724-2464 Tuesday-Fridays from 12PM to 5PM.