Ricardo García Blaya

came to know Damián Torres on the same the day I met Pablo Jaurena, when, with my wife and my son Francisco, I went to listen to the Orquesta Provincial de Música Ciudadana de Córdoba, at the Teatro del Libertador. At that concert, Damián handed over the leadership of the music group to Pablo, and played, like one player more, in the bandoneon section. It was a magnificent evening on which the orchestra and its regular leader —turned into the lead bandoneon player— were alternately showcased on an evening dedicated to Astor Piazzolla.

In a virtual dialogue held through several e-mails, Damián told me that he was born in Corral de Bustos, province of Córdoba, and we also talked about his beginnings with the bandoneon and the genre: «Tango came to me when I was in my cradle. My old man played double bass in a tango quintet in Corral de Bustos when I was nine or ten years old and I used to go to hear him. The bandoneonist that played in that group reminded me of Astor Piazzolla’s image and his music haunted my home. As a kid I played piano and “Adiós Nonino” was one of the pieces that I liked most and which I learnt to play with the help of a music teacher in my town, Héctor Gabellini.

«Some time later, in my teen years, I began to play electric guitar and to put together rock groups until the time I went to Rosario to study music, and then I fully devoted my time to studying bandoneon. My first teacher was Domingo Federico. I had the great pleasure of being member of the Orquesta de Tango de la Universidad Nacional de Rosario, led by Federico. That was the springboard to take the leap and, little by little, to regard music and, more precisely, tango, as my profession and my irremediable passion.

«After that I began to participate in different projects and to live in different cities of our country, and I was even based in Cardiff (Wales) for nine months. I returned to Argentina in 2003 to take part in a competition for the post of second bandoneon in the Orquesta Provincial de Música Ciudadana de Córdoba. I settled at that city where I’ve lived since then.

«In Córdoba I had the privilege of being acquainted and working alongside Rubén Juárez, and, furthermore, of becoming the art director of that orchestra in 2010. It was in that city where I consolidated a large number of projects, among which is the most important for me: the Damián Torres Quinteto, in which I can give free rein to my composing vein, besides continuing to play that wonderful instrument that the bandoneon is.

«I like many things of Tango. It is a huge ocean of beauty created, and still being created by such great names of the genre. I very much like the works of Anselmo Aieta, Eduardo Arolas, Enrique Delfino, Juan Carlos Cobián, Julio De Caro, Pedro Maffia and Pedro Laurenz. That’s not even talking about Carlos Gardel and Charlo. Furthermore, Aníbal Troilo, Alfredo Gobbi and Osvaldo Pugliese are an indispensable trilogy for everyone who wants to dive into this music. Also, Carlos Di Sarli and Osvaldo Fresedo summarize a form of unique beauty.

«Astor Piazzolla was who branded me at a very early age. His music, his way of playing the fueye. The latter, Leopoldo Federico and Rubén Juárez are the bandoneonists I admire most. Among the new figures, I love the creations and interpretations of Nicolás Ledesma, Ramiro Gallo, Andrés Linetzky, José Ogivieki.

«“There are many, many singers. Raúl Berón was among my preferred ones. Surely I’m not mentioning several, but all of them and each one nurtured an extraordinary music, an infinite universe».

Although he is a young musician, it is very difficult to transcribe all the activity displayed by this excellent artist. We shall highlight the most significant events.

He made a tour of Europe with the Orquesta de la Universidad Nacional de Rosario in 1998; that same year he joined the Orquesta de Tango del IPPM, led by Javier Martínez Lo Ré. The following year he joined the Quinteto Camandulaje. In 2001, along with the guitarist Pablo Covacevich, accompanied Noelia Moncada and settled in Buenos Aires, where he took classes with Néstor Marconi.

In 2002 he traveled to Great Britain where he appeared in many cities: Cardiff, London, Oxford, Cambridge, Leicester and Bristol where he played bandoneon solos or as member of groups with musicians of England and Wales.

In 2003 after an admission contest he joined the Orquesta Provincial de Música Ciudadana de Córdoba and put together the group El Desbande, as bandoneonist and arranger. And, in 2004, he was member of the music group that backed Rubén Juárez. Two years later he traveled to the United States and, in California, he appeared as soloist; furthermore, with the Orange County’s Pacific Symphony and the Pacific Chorale he played the Luis Bacalov’s Misa Tango. In New York he played along with Pablo Aslan’s Avantango and the Emilio Solla Tango Jazz Quintet.

In August 2005 he formed the Damián Torres Trío, along with the pianist Aldo Cerino and the double bass player Christian Esquivel, and recorded his first album: Cabulero.

Besides his activity as bandoneonist, he has an important work as musical arranger for different artists. He is requested for concerts and recordings as guest artist by singers and musicians throughout the country. In 2006 he took classes with the bandoneonist Julio Pane.

Finally, after conducting the music ensemble on several concerts as guest, in 2010 he was appointed as staff conductor of the Orquesta Provincial de Música Ciudadana de Córdoba. The following year he released the second album with his trio.

Thereafter, he traveled to Brazil where, with his quartet, he appeared in São Paulo, at the show Las 4 Estaciones Porteñas held at the Bunkyo theater; he appeared at the Gala on May 25th, along with the guitarist Pablo De Giusto with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Córdoba (Córdoba Symphony Orchestra) and, also, on July 9th, with the Symphony Band of the province of Córdoba.

In 2014 he again put together his quintet to play his own compositions and appeared at the Festival de Tango de Buenos Aires, in which he was awarded a prize for Producción Discográfica de Tango by the Fondo Nacional de Las Artes. In 2015 he was summoned by the Banda Sinfónica de la Provincia de Córdoba, as soloist alongside Guillermo Fernández; he appeared in the movie El espejo de los otros, directed by Marcos Carnevale, and released an album with his quintet: Abriendo cancha.

For the Todo Tango staff is a great pleasure to welcome Damián Torres, one of the great talents of the latest generation of the music of our city.