José Bragato

Real name: Bragato, Giuseppe
Violoncellist, pianist, arranger and composer
(12 October 1915 - 18 July 2017)
Place of birth:
Udine (Udine) Italy
Elsa Bragato

e was born in Udine, Italy, October 12, 1915, into a family of woodworkers and musicians. Music was the hobby for each one of his brothers, led by their father, don Enrico Bragato, flutist. All them were soloists in the Teatro Colón (Bruno, flutist; José, cellist; and Enrique Bragato, bassoon player) but who devoted to composition was José.

On arriving in Argentina, in 1928, the Bragatos settled in the neighborhood of Saavedra, there José re-started his piano studies. The floods of the 1930 left the family homeless and the piano was lost. The German maestro Peltz, violoncellist, definitively guided José's musical career by giving him his cello as a gift and teaching him for free. From then on, José devoted to classical and to popular music. In this field, he helped to spread the folk music of our country and of Paraguay, having published renowned guaranias together with Mauricio Cardozo Ocampo and Augusto Roa Bastos, among other great poets.

In 1946 he won through international contest the place of soloist of the Orquesta Filarmónica de Buenos Aires, taking effect his position of substitute cellist soloist of the Orquesta Estable del Teatro Colón. He joined these activities to that of composer, being part besides of the most respected chamber quartets of the country, such as the Buenos Aires quartet and, during its last 10 years, of the Cuarteto Pessina.

In popular music, he continued joining the outstanding tango orchestras such as Francini-Pontier's, even though he was always the «choice» of Aníbal Troilo, Atilio Stampone, Osvaldo Fresedo, etc. for the recordings.

In 1954 he was part of Astor Piazzolla's «heroic feat» to assemble the Octeto Buenos Aires. From that moment on he was a fervent admirer and close friend of Piazzolla's, closing the parable of life of both when, in 1989, he joined the Sextango, on request of his friend Astor and nearly, nearly, as an omen...

He was as well co-founder of the orchestra of Channel 13 and joined the Primer Cuarteto de Cámara del Tango Leo Lipesker, among other outfits.

From 1976 to 1982, due to his tough defense of human liberties and rights, he had to exile, and was hired as soloist of the orchestra of the city of Porto Alegre, Brazil, where he also began a music archive. Later he joined the chamber outfits of the Universidad de Natal (Brazil), where he named Doctor Honoris Causa.

For more than 14 years that he was heading the Music Archive of chamber, popular and cult music, in SADAIC, achieving an active participation of orchestras and universities all over the world. From that place, he spreads the work of the national composers, providing the scores free to the institutions which request them.

His late performances as violoncellist were at his 81 years in the Orquesta de Tango Juan de Dios Filiberto, conducted by his friend and maestro Osvaldo Piro. His latest international solo was on Radio City in New York, at age 80, as member of the group of Atilio Stampone, that accompanied Julio Bocca's performance and his ballet.

Now he adds, to his work in SADAIC archive, that of orchestral arranger.

Several things our national music owes to José Bragato: the inclusion of violoncello in typical orchestras in the same category as the «leading voice» of the violin. Due to his virtuosity, composers «risked» to write for the cello as much as for the bandoneon or the violin. Furthermore, the rescue from oblivion of our popular and classical national music, his orchestrations, his disinterested help to spread folk songs by giving piano sheet music to renowned Argentine authors.

His composition Graciela y Buenos Aires (among others such as Malambo or Tres movimientos porteños) has become part of the musical repertoire for violoncello in the universities of Germany, a country where his works are beginning to be published.

Maestro José Bragato was awarded the SADAIC's Francisco Canaro prize for his career, on December 13, 1999, at the most important ceremony of the institution celebrating the end of the millenium. Furthermore, the Government of the City of Buenos Aires gave him the prize Mérito a la trayectoria for his interest in widespreading the musical national culture, while the Head of the Government was the later President of the Nation, doctor Fernando de la Rúa.