Terig Tucci

Real name: Tucci, Terigio
Violinist, pianist, arranger, composer and bandleader
(23 June 1897 - 28 February 1973)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Orlando del Greco

e studied violin with Luis Vívoli and music theory and harmony with Alfonso de María in Buenos Aires.

His first composition was the zarzuela Cariños de madre, premiered in 1917 at the Teatro Avenida by the López Silva company and in 1919 he premiered his symphonic poem Almafuerte in Ramos Mejía (province of Buenos Aires).

From 1919 until 1923 he worked as violinist at the theaters Politeama, Excelsior, Avenida and the movie theaters Atenas and Bijou. In August 1923 he went to North America. In the United States he fully devoted to orchestration, composition of background music and arrangements of Latin American material.

From 1930 to 1941 he worked in the National Broadcasting Company with the conductors Hugo Mariani, Frank Black, Leopoldo Spitalny, Ernie Rappee, André Kostelanetz, Percy Faith, Mitch Miller and others no less renowned. He conducted and orchestrated for artists of the level of Carlos Gardel, Laura Suárez, Cándido Boutilho, Julio Martínez Oyanguren, Graciela Párraga, Elsie Houston, Alfonso Ortiz Tirado, Juan Arvizu, Pedro Vargas, Olga Coelho, Marta Pérez, Los Panchos, Eva Garza, etc.

He arranged and conducted in Latin American radio programs at the International General Electric from 1941 to 1947 for its Chain of the Americas.

He was musical director of the Latin American Division from 1951 to 1959, of the Voice of America and of the Latin American recordings of the RCA-Victor from 1932 to 1964.

He was musical director from 1936 to 1940 in radio programs and movies for commercial companies like Bayer and the Exposición Latinoamericana at Macy's in 1942.

For the United Nations he composed music backgrounds for documentaries and radio programs between 1953 and 1957.

When Carlos Gardel arrived in New York, the singer requested his collaboration for his movies and so he spent the period 1934-35 as musical director of the Paramount writing music for the films Cuesta abajo, El tango en Broadway, El día que me quieras, Tango bar and Cazadores de estrellas. He committed to music staff the compositions that Gardel created, and composed “Los ojos de mi moza” and “Sol tropical” for his motion pictures and wrote the tangos “Noche estrellada” and “Recordando [b]”, co-written with Alfredo Le Pera and Gardel, for future movies that the singer had to shoot there.

He backed up the Carlos Gardel’s recordings for the Victor company in New York with his big orchestra lined up by the musicians Remo Bolognini (Argentine), Eduardo Zito (Argentine), Rafael Galindo (Mexican), Juan Manzo (Spaniard) on violins; Abraham Thevenet (Uruguayan) on piano; Domingo Guido (Uruguayan) on bass; Vicente Navatta (Uruguayan) on cello; Joe Biviano (Italo American) on accordion.

He enthusiastically collaborated with all the Argentine artists that appeared in New York: He backed Azucena Maizani in the movie Di que me quieres, Agustín Irusta in recordings, Armando Barbé, Daniel López Barreto, etc.

In 1969 he published the book Gardel en Nueva York. On page 182 this tasty anecdote was written: «The phone rang at three in the morning. Half asleep I held the receiver and heard Gardel’s voice who told me with an evident satisfaction: «Hey, man, I’ve just found a nice melody for the tango “Por una cabeza”». And he right away sang it. Maybe because I was not completely awaken when I heard on the phone the fruit of his inspiration, neither the melody nor the lyrics impressed me very much; and so I told him. A little bit embarrassed, Gardel answered me with his fine irony: «Look, Beethoven, you know about eighth notes and semiquavers but don’t try to bother me about horse affairs».

«It made fun to me the Beethovenian comparison but I understood that nobody else but him —a stubborn horse racegoer and owner of an expensive stud stable— was able to speak with more authority of equestrian matters; nobody else but him would know the thrill of the gambler when he sees his horse triumphantly arriving at the finish line, or feel the despair when his horse falters at the precise time when a supreme effort would have placed it into the category of winner».

Tucci was born in Buenos Aires (neighborhood of Balvanera) on June 23, 1897 and died in Forest Hill (New York, USA) on February 28, 1973.