Luis Rizzo

Real name: Rizzo, Luis
Guitarist, arranger, leader and composer
(27 January 1945 - 26 February 2007)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Laura Almeida de Rizzo

e was born in the neighborhood of Liniers, in the western area of Buenos Aires city. His first music teachers were: Julio Ferreyra and Roberto Lara and, in harmony, Pedro Aguilar.

Between 1966 and 1975 he played in a large number of aggregations, among them, some led by Osvaldo Manzi. He was in the Trío Contemporáneo fronted by Domingo Moles and formed, along with Daniel Binelli and Juan José Mosalini, the Quinteto Guardia Nueva, a group that was devoted to what was known as avant-garde tango with which they released a long-playing record in the Fermata label.

He joined the Trío Buenos Aires led by Walter Ríos and also appeared in many tango shows.

As soloist he accompanied several singers: Héctor Morano, Miguel Ángel Trelles and Eduardo Madeo (member of the folk group Los Fronterizos), among others, and made numerous appearances in different theaters and venues: the Cervantes, the Presidente Alvear, the Municipal Enrique Santos Discépolo and at the La Botica del Ángel. He also played in seasons of popular music at universities, at the Auditorium of the Teatro General San Martín, and several tours of the province of Buenos Aires with those shows.

Between 1976 and 1981 he wrote arrangements on tango pieces by Argentine composers. Also by that time he began a series of concerts teaming up as duo with Daniel Binelli and their repertoire included tango pieces by new Argentine composers. Furthermore, Osvaldo Piro invited him to join his sextet in the early 1982.

On October 16, 1982 he settled in France. This stage in his career allowed the European public and the press to be further acquainted with his talent as soloist. He accompanied Argentine singers that were then in Paris: María Garay, Josefina, Ernesto Rondó, Reynaldo Anselmi and María José Mentana. The UNESCO, in Paris, in 1984 invited him to play concerts as guitar soloist.

In 1985 Osvaldo Piro included him again in his quintet for its appearances in The City of Light (La Ville-Lumière). Also they made many tours of different countries of Europe.

Between 1987 and 1992 he composed original pieces and arranged numbers of other composers for the charts of his own aggregation named Luis Rizzo Trío. And, in 1988, he released his first album entitled Tangos de Hier et D’Aujourd’hui which was produced by CIRCE and distributed by Harmonia Mundi. His style can be placed within an innovative trend that however keeps a wise balance between classic and contemporary tango.

He designed a guitar season with the Association Musicale France Latine, called Les Samedis de la Guitare a Paris (Guitar Saturdays in Paris), so any guitarist in the world may have in France a place where to play his own concerts.

He appeared in the tango shows Il était une fois le tango, Soirée Tango. Furthermore, he took over the musical direction of Tango Mío and Buenos Aires Tango of the Argentine Dancing Company led by Aníbal Pannunzio and Magui Danni.

In 1990, thanks to his meeting with the Italian producer Marco Castellani, he released his second disc: Tristesse. For that purpose he added to his group a bass player. The repertoire included numbers of his own and instrumentals. His group had the Italian singer Susana Rizzi as a special guest artist. This ensemble was very successful in Italy. In Italy he published his third disc Desde el andén produced by Materiali Sonori.

In 1995 he included a violinist and his group became a quintet. That was a period of great compositions, for example, the wonderful Suite El barrio, in five movements: “Café bar”, “La esquina”, “La plaza”, “La bronca”, “La calle”. It is an evocation of the neighborhoods in Buenos Aires with their symbolic places. Also he wrote the suite “Imágenes porteñas”, “Nochero”, “En banda” and “Antes del alba” which he dedicated to the great pianist and friend Osvaldo Manzi.

That year and the following his activity in festivals and concerts throughout Europe was quite busy. In France he was invited to play as soloist a concerto for guitar and bandoneon composed by Astor Piazzolla under the direction of Paul Meffano who conducted a string orchestra in Champigny-Sur-Marne.

In the late 1996 the French company Mandala published a disc dedicated to Astor Piazzolla: Las músicas de Astor Piazzolla – The spirit of Buenos Aires which includes pieces by Luis Rizzo. He composed new original numbers and with this repertoire he appeared in one of the most outstanding jazz venues in Paris, the Journal de Montparnasse. Thereafter he continued his tour of Italy. Later in Tuscany he recorded his fifth disc in Europe entitled Opustango.

He took over the musical direction of the show Le Tango dans tous ses Etats of the Uruguayan singer Julio Canapa. They appeared in Paris, Italy, Japan and other places.

The organizers of the festival in Switzerland (Genève) invited him to play a concert with his quintet at the Espace Ella Fitzgerald at the Parc La Grange. He also appeared with his trio alongside María José Mentana at the Anfiteatro Romano of the city of Lecce in Italy.

In November 2004 he recorded a new disc as a guitar duo with his son Luis Alberto entitled Tango & C° and presented it at the La Casa del Tango in La Vielle Grille and at the concert hall of the Conservatoire Slave de Musique in Paris.

On September 19, 2006 he was invited by the Centre Culturel Arabe Syrien to play a concert of the pieces recorded in the CD Tango & Cº teaming up as duo with his son Luis Alberto.

An indefatigable creator of his own works, he has left several unpublished scores, especially written to be recorded by his quintet. He as well composed music for the movies.

He died of a cancer, unexpected, fast and aggressive, in the winter of 2007 in Moissy-Cramayel (department of Seine and Marne) in the outskirts of Paris.

On January 20, 2008 he was paid homage at the Café de la Danse with a great concert in his memory in which prestigious Argentine and French artists were present: Miguel Ángel Estrella, Tomás Gubitsch, Juan José Mosalini, Reinaldo Anselmi, Gilberto Pereyra, Raúl Maldonado, Enzo Gieco, Susana Blazko and other great artists.

The same year in July the Municipal Conservatory of Music of Moissy-Cramayel organized another homage with an exceptional concert at the La Rotonde Scène National theater of Sénart which reunited the choir of the students of the conservatory conducted by Laure Grandvoinnet and Laurent Baticle, the orchestra comprised by young players of Senart conducted by Philippe Vanderstichel —co-directed by Cécile Delanoue— and Samuel Etienne, who played outstanding pieces of the Argentine composer. The concert hall of the Conservatory of Moissy-Cramayel is named after him.