Roberto Améndola

t was 1968 when Osvaldo Pugliese summoned several young musicians with an excellent training to join his orchestra when an important number of his members had quit to form the renowned Sexteto Tango.

These young players then displayed their great talent which later was thoroughly confirmed. The maestro placed Mauricio Marcelli as soloist and lead violin to replace Oscar Herrero. Marcelli had a six-year tenure in the orchestra and was also responsible for writing several charts for the aggregation.

He reached this position with the background of having played in the orchestras led by Enrique Mario Francini, Argentino Galván, Alfredo Gobbi and Aníbal Troilo and also by being member of the aggregations in the recording sessions for singers of the level of Alberto Podestá, Alberto Marino, Floreal Ruiz and Roberto Goyeneche, among others. Later he was soloist in the Atilio Stampone’s groups with which he toured different countries of America and Europe.

But his tenure in the Pugliese orchestra launched him to the privileged place he has reached and made Horacio Ferrer, in his classic El Libro del Tango, place him in the same level of Fernando Suárez Paz and Antonio Agri.

Mauricio Marcelli was born in the city of Buenos Aires, in the neighborhood of Villa Pueyrredón. He began to study violin playing when he was a child. He was raised in an Italian family very fond of music. His father was an amateur violinist and that may have influenced Mauricio who started to study at age six.

With a classical formal training, at the same time he began to walk the roads of popular music while he kept on polishing himself in harmony, composition and counterpoint. Simultaneously to his tango activity of first level he played in the Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil, later in the Sinfónica Nacional and finally in the Staff Orchestra of the Teatro Colón in which he was lead violin, that is to say, he was one of the concert masters for 24 years until he retired in 2009.

He fulfilled the same role in the new operatic aggregations of the Teatro Avenida. He was also member of different chamber music groups, like the Orquesta de Cámara de La Plata, the one of the Teatro Colón and the string quintet Ensamble del Plata.

His work in the great orchestras of classical music was not an obstacle for his activity in tango, a genre in which he achieved a sound of his own and his compositions and arrangements are a consequence of his formal instruction but they, however, do not deviate from the tango essence at all.

He led several groups of his own, the Octango octet and several aggregations, generally quintets, and his duo, teaming up with Hugo Romero. He recorded and appeared at venues very often and on several occasions had as guest artists players like Dino Saluzzi, Rodolfo Mederos, Osvaldo Requena, Antonio Agri and Cacho Tirao, among others. Hernán Salinas was one of his favorite singers. His CD’s: Tangos sin Tiempo, Romance de Tango and Motivos received a warm acclaim by audience and critics.

He conducted great musical ensembles like the Orquesta del Tango de Buenos Aires, the Orquesta Escuela de Tango «Emilio Balcarce», the Selección Nacional del Tango orchestra and was guest member in the Orquesta Nacional de Música Argentina «Juan de Dios Filiberto». In another genre he carried out a similar role in the show Drácula, a musical by Pepe Cibrián and Ángel Mahler.

Like Francini, he was disciple of the great maestro José Martí Llorca who taught him until his death in 1996 when Marcelli was already a consecrated violinist.

Along with Rodolfo Mederos and Raúl Garello he was member of the board for the contest of arrangers «Premio Osvaldo Pugliese» and, since 1996 he is teacher at the Escuela de Música Popular de Avellaneda.

He made tours throughout the American continent, even accompanying Julio Bocca in the United States and the Ballet Argentino in Buenos Aires and New York and played as guest artist in Belgium, Spain, Italy and France.

He appeared in Paris with El Arranque on a tour that included him, Raúl Garello, Néstor Marconi and Julio Pane as guest artists. Also with El Arranque he appeared as leader and soloist at the Festival Genoa Tango 2004, with his own compositions.

He played in China and, on five occasions, made long tours of Japan as lead violinist of the orchestras led by Fulvio Salamanca, Néstor Marconi and Orlando Trípodi. And on the last tour, as conductor of his own orchestra which played 61 concerts and visited a large number of Japanese cities where he is highly regarded.

An inspired composer and fine arranger, his outstanding compositions in a tango vein are: “Con cierto vuelo”, “Diciembre en Buenos Aires”, “Después de la medianoche”, “Puerto Nuevo [c]”, “Menta y miel”, “Luztango” and “Equivocados”, among others.