By
Ricardo García Blaya

ndoubtedly he is now the major violin player of our Buenos Aires music. Inspired by the tango school that Elvino Vardaro started, he possesses the virtuosity attributes of Enrique Francini whom he admired. But furthermore, he plays classical music with which he reaffirms his versatility and talent.

He was born in Ramos Mejía, province of Buenos Aires. Still a teenager, he joined the LRA Radio del Estado’s Juvenile Symphonic Orchestra. Later he joined the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional and for 17 years he played with the first violins in the Orquesta Filarmónica de Buenos Aires.

He began to study violin at age five. His father bought the instrument as a gift for him. The former, paradoxically, wanted that he would become a doctor.

Very young, he began in tango. In his long career he played in a large number of orchestras. They were all high quality aggregations: Enrique Francini, Orlando Trípodi, Tití Rossi, Horacio Salgán, Miguel Caló, Fulvio Salamanca, Pedro Laurenz, Aníbal Troilo, Mariano Mores, Atilio Stampone, Leopoldo Federico, Osvaldo Requena, Néstor Marconi, Osvaldo Berlingieri, Raul Garello, Los 7 del Tango. He was also founding member of the Sexteto Mayor.

He was lead violin for important conductors that appeared in Argentina such as Burt Bacharach, Lalo Schifrin, Michel Legrand and Waldo de los Ríos.

In 1978 Astor Piazzolla summoned him to join the Quinteto Nuevo Tango with which he appeared all around the world until it disbanded in 1988. In this ten-year tenure with Piazzolla he recorded 18 albums in different places of the world and the soundtracks of numerous movies. Many of these films were awarded for their music. He had a good relationship with Astor to such an extent that the latter dedicated to him his composition “Escualo”.

He was recognized by the international critics because of his outstanding performance along with the vibraphonist Gary Burton at different jazz festivals of Europe, Japan and the United States. The New York Times gave him a 7-star rating.

In 1991 he recorded as soloist the Astor Piazzolla’s “Concierto de Nácar” accompanied by the Orquesta Filarmónica de Buenos Aires conducted by Pedro Ignacio Calderón. That same year, as leader and soloist with his string group, he cut his first album dedicated to Piazzolla’s oeuvre: Cuerdas Para Piazzolla/Strings for Piazzolla.

In 1991 he was appointed member of the Academia Nacional del Tango in the branch of the Intermediate Generation.

He premiered and played as soloist with qualified symphonic orchestras the “Concierto en Canto Negroriano” for violin and orchestra that Gabriel Senanes composed for him. In the late 1995 the New York label Arcadia Records announced the release of this work in a compact disc which presents him as guest artist.

In 1996 he fronted a quintet devoted to play the music composed by Piazzolla. They appeared in Israel, Portugal, Spain, the United States, Brazil, Uruguay. With this aggregation he recorded two discs: “Milonga del Angel (BMG label) and “Por amor a Astor” (Epsa Music). In 1997 he committed to record another one, “Fuga y Misterio”, with the Duo Assad.

In the late 2000 he toured North America with his quintet and the dancer Julio Bocca. Thereafter in February and March 2001 he traveled to Europe with the Assad Duo and was awarded the Grammy 2002 for his record devoted to Piazzolla.

By that time he went to the Music Festival of Bergen, Norway and made another tour of Europe with the trio that he formed with Sergio and Odair Assad. In August he traveled to Washington along with Julio Bocca and later, in the early 2002, there was a new European tour with his trio. On his comeback to Buenos Aires, on July 4, he was in charge of opening the cycle Astor Triunfal at the Teatro Colón remembering the maestro ten years after his death.

On September 21, that same year, accompanied by the Philharmonic Orchestra at the Teatro Colón, he played the “Concierto en Canto Negroriano” conducted by its composer, Gabriel Senanes.

He continued traveling and, in 2004 he put together a duo with his friend Osvaldo Requena. They had several appearances and made a recording with their own repertoire, traditional and contemporary. They played at the Teatro Colón, in the summer season, Una Hora de Buena Música (An hour of good music) which achieved an unanimous praise by the critics.

It would be hard to go on in detail with all the tours and performances of this great musician and excellent human being. He is one of the greatest luxuries that still tango brings to us. We have only to also mention the well deserved recognition he got from the Legislatura Porteña (Buenos Aires City Legislation Chamber) when he was appointed Ciudadano Ilustre de Buenos Aires (Distinguished Citizen of Buenos Aires).