Juan Carlos Cirigliano

Real name: Cirigliano, Juan Carlos
Pianist, composer, bandleader, arranger and educator
(5 May 1939 - )
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Laureano Fernández

e was born in the neighborhood of Parque Patricios. His parents were Juan Cirigliano and Amelia Pérez. His Dad was typographer and also pianist and, together with his brother Miguel, bandoneonist, fronted a tango orchestra. They were admirers of Julio De Caro and at the time of silent movies they used to frequent movie theaters to enjoy the renewal that the De Caro sextet meant for the genre.

From age fourteen he studied piano with Ercilia de María until he got the higher level piano teacher diploma after over six years of studies. He made his debut as professional musician in 1956 with the orchestra led by the clarinetist Barry Moral. Later he joined the orchestras of Ray Nolan (1957), Julio Roth (1958), Osvaldo Norton (1960), Los Cuatro de Lujo and the Santa Anita orchestra.

In 1960, on recommendation by Juan José Paz and Jorge Bonsanti, he furthered his piano studies with Cayetano Marcoli. In 1963 he traveled to Sweden with the Buenos Aires Combo as pianist and arranger. In that country he had the chance of listening to the great Canadian pianist Oscar Peterson to whom he asked advice about piano playing techniques. The latter told him that he made use of one derived from the Russian school of playing.

Also in Sweden he came to know another extraordinary pianist, Bill Evans. He succeeded in talking with the latter and extracted teachings that would cause a profound influence in his style. Many years later he would dedicate a composition to the latter pianist: “Tango para Bill”. In Sweden as well he attended a course on orchestration and harmony by the Berklee School of Music.

On his comeback to Buenos Aires in 1966 he talked with the pianist Jorge Calandrelli about the Russian piano technique and the latter recommended him to study with maestro Guillermo Iscla with whom he began to study in 1967. In 1968 he joined the Channel 7 staff orchestra. Also that year he accompanied the Mexican singer Pedro Vargas at the local Rendez Vous run by Osvaldo Fresedo.

By that time he also started his work as private music teacher and played with his trio at the basement of Talcahuano and Corrientes known as Gotán. At that venue also played the quintet led by Astor Piazzolla which, by that time, had the pianist Gustavo Keresztezachi. In 1970 Astor phoned him to ask him if he was able to replace Osvaldo Manzi who had had a car accident and was unable to appear in Michelangelo. With the quintet he also played on Channel 13 and on some recordings by Piazzolla for Amelita Baltar. Since 1970 he has been teaching at the Sindicato Argentino de Músicos.

From 1973 to 1974, together with Horacio Salgán and Dante Amicarelli, he was educator at the IDEM academy.

In 1975 he appeared at the Teatro Coliseo with Piazzolla when he introduced his new group, the electronic octet. On that evening, in the second section, Astor was to play with his quintet but due to the unexpected absence of Osvaldo Tarantino, Piazzolla had suddenly to summon Dante Amicarelli.

Among the many artists he accompanied are the following: Josephine Baker, Iva Zanicchi, Maria Creuza, Gigliola Cinquetti, Raúl Lavié, José Ángel Trelles, Eladia Blázquez, Daniel Riolobos, Antonio Prieto, Los Cinco Latinos and many more. He was member of the staff orchestras of ATC (1978) and CBS-Columbia.

In Buenos Aires he was pianist of the orchestras led by Don Costa (at a show of instrumental music the latter made when he came to Buenos Aires to accompany Frank Sinatra in 1981), Ray Conniff (1978) and Wild Bill Davidson.

In the local jazz milieu he worked with the late clarinetist and saxophonist Mario Cosentino, The Swing Timers (with them he is still playing) and in different groups he led.

In 1986 with his group Los Músicos de Buenos Aires he recorded an album (El sonido de la ciudad) that included contemporary music of our city written by him except for a number by the bandoneonist of the group, Walter Ríos. Thereafter he recorded another disc entitled Supertango in which the bandoneonist was Carlos Buono.

He was pianist of the octet headed by Daniel Piazzolla when in 1995 a homage to Astor Piazzolla entitled Astortango was paid at the Teatro Ópera. The artists that played then were Chick Corea, Gary Burton, Danilo Pérez and Hermeto Pascual, among others. He appeared at the international jazz festivals of Viña del Mar, of Los siete Lagos (Bariloche) and Lapataia (Punta del Este)

Abroad he appeared in the United States (Carnegie Hall), Sweden, Israel, Canada, Spain, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Bolivia and Paraguay.

He was arranger for Raúl Lavié (from 1971), Sandra Mihanovich, José Ángel Trelles, Adriana Varela, Eladia Blázquez, Antonio Agri, Los 5 Latinos, Los Músicos de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires Big Band and Vox Populi, among others.

He composed and arranged music for TV and the movies, like the following: El pibe Cabeza (1975), La súper, súper aventura Nº 2, El inglés de los huesos, El noveno mandamiento (1962), among others.

He conducted the orchestra for the musical Están tocando nuestra canción, the aggregation that played Familia de Artistas (music by Astor Piazzolla) and the staff orchestra of the venue Castello Vecchio.

He composed the musical works "Suite Improviso" and "Homage to French Jazz", premiered by the Orquesta Mayo and the group Swing ’39 at the Teatro Colón Auditorio Belgrano, conducted by maestro Mario Benzecry.

He also composed works for the Camerata Montreal of Canada such as "El sonido de la ciudad", "Imágenes", "Reflexiones" and "Gardeliana".

In 2011 he recorded the compact disc Érase una vez un poeta with piano solos with his renderings of the compositions of the great Francisco De Caro.

Nowadays he is teacher of Composition and Popular Music at the Sociedad de Autores y Compositores de Música (SADAIC).

In the seventies I was quite lucky of studying with this educator, maybe not all the time as it might have been necessary, but since then we have kept a friendship and any time I turned to him for some musical material I needed he generously gave it to me expecting nothing in return. Todo Tango includes him in its webpage due to his great merits as person and musician.

On April 24, 2018, the Legislatura de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires appointed him as Distinguished Figure of our Culture.