Aquiles Roggero

Real name: Roggero, Aquiles
Violinist, leader, arranger and composer
(12 March 1915 - 29 December 1977)
Place of birth:
Pehuajó (Buenos Aires) Argentina
Abel Palermo

e was born in Pehuajó, province of Buenos Aires. His parents were named José María Roggero and Luisa Giullini.

He started in 1935 in the all-rhythm Vitaphone orchestra of his hometown. Osmar Maderna was the pianist and Roggero played saxophone.

The following year the well-remembered pianist put together an orchestra that was named Los Rítmicos and it included Aquiles and Arturo Cipolla (violins), José Figueras and Francisco Lugiuco (bandoneons), Alberto Luna (trumpet) and Diego Rodríguez (drums).

In 1938 Maderna decided to settle in Buenos Aires. His place was occupied by Carlos Rivoira and Roggero took over the leadership of the aggregation up to 1944 when he also went to the capital city.

In the early 1945 Maderna split with the Miguel Caló orchestra and put together his own instrumental group for which he summoned his friend to lead the violin section. Their debut was at the Café Marzotto on Corrientes Street. His tenure with the notable pianist was until the latter’s tragic death on April 28, 1951.

Roggero’s name was already well known due to his virtuoso interpretations. His violin solos in “Concierto en la luna”, “Lluvia de estrellas”, “Escalas en azul” and, especially, in Maderna’s arrangement on “Fantasía en tiempo de tango” based on a Monti’s theme.

By the mid- 1952 as homage to the late maestro he put together an orchestra which turned out a great hit: the Orquesta Símbolo Osmar Maderna. For its line-up he summoned several musicians who had been his fellow players in the orchestra led by the pianist. He was the one who wrote the charts and their debut was on October 1st on LR1 Radio El Mundo.

The members of the orchestra were: besides Roggero, its leader, Carlos Taverna, Edmundo Baya and Esteban Cañete (violins), Felipe Ricciardi, Toto Panti, Héctor Lettera and Jorge Ricciardi (bandoneons), Víctor Monteleone (double bass) and Orlando Tripodi (piano). The vocalists were Adolfo Rivas and Orlando Verri.

For the Pampa label they recorded the instrumental “Lluvia de estrellas” and on the other side of the disc there was the waltz “Pequeña” with Adolfo Rivas on vocals. In 1954 Rivas and Verri were replaced by Jorge Durán, who after recording the tango “Pordioseros” quit and was replaced by Tito Dávila who recorded “Soledad”. Later Horacio Casares joined them.

In the mid- 1956 Dávila quit and in his place Jorge Hidalgo joined the group. In the period with the Pampa recording company (1952-1957) the orchestra cut a total of 32 numbers.

Thereafter he signed with RCA-Victor and committed to disc “Fantasía en tango”, an instrumental on a Johannes Brahms’ motif and, on the other side, with Carlos Aldao and Adolfo Rivas —back in the orchestra—, “Merceditas”, a piece by Ramón Sixto Ríos, adapted to a tango beat.

In 1959 Aldao split with the aggregation and he was replaced by a female singer, Ruth Durante, who immediately recorded “No, no llores más”, among others. The last recordings of the orchestra in the label were in October 1960, “Brindis para navidad”, with Adolfo Rivas on vocals and the milonga “Papá Baltasar” with the vocalist Carlos Aguirre. The total number of recordings of the Orquesta Símbolo Osmar Maderna was 53 tracks.

Some time later as sideman he played for a season in the orchestra led by Leopoldo Federico and then he switched to the one fronted by Miguel Caló. In 1968 he was hired by the Forever label to record the numbers “Rosa de Tokio” and “Pero por qué” with Héctor De Rosas on vocals and the instrumentals “Selecciones de Osmar Maderna” and “Selecciones de Agustín Bardi”.

The following year, as arranger and conductor, he accompanied Carlos Dante in a long-playing record. In 1970 he did the same with Miguel Montero for the Odeon record company.

In 1976 he was member of the Orquesta Típica Porteña led by Raúl Garello. Later he put together an aggregation of his own for a season at the Teatro Argentino of La Plata. His last performances were at the balls organized by the Club Villa Pueyrredón of Buenos Aires.

In December 1977, while he was cutting a series of recordings at the José Netto’s studio, he had a sudden heart attack and died.

As for his work as composer we can mention, firstly, his tango “Mimí Pinsón”, his most well known composition, and also “Adiós maestro”, “Canción de lluvia”, “Y te necesito tanto”, “Brindis para navidad”, “La luz de la pensión”, “1915” and, I think, his best piece: “Cromáticas”. Not only he left us the memory of his music and his brilliant interpretations, but also two notable musicians: his sons Aquiles and Luis, pianist and violinist respectively.