13 Facts About Astor Piazzolla


In 1925 Astor Piazzolla moved with his family to Greenwich Village in New York City, which in those days was a violent neighbourhood inhabited by a volatile mixture of gangsters and hard-working immigrants.


In later years Astor Piazzolla jokingly made light of this fateful event: had his father let him join the tour, Astor Piazzolla would have played the harp instead of the bandoneon.


Apart from playing the bandoneon, Astor Piazzolla became Troilo's arranger and would occasionally play the piano for him.


Tensions mounted between the two bandoneonists until, in 1944, Astor Piazzolla announced his intention to leave Troilo and join the orchestra of the tango singer and bandoneonist Francisco Fiorentino.


In 1946 Astor Piazzolla formed his Orquesta Tipica, which, although having a similar formation to other tango orchestras of the day, gave him his first opportunity to experiment with his own approach to the orchestration and musical content of tango.


At Ginastera's urging, on August 16,1953, Astor Piazzolla entered his classical composition "Buenos Aires Symphony in Three Movements" for the Fabian Sevitzky Award.


In spite of this Astor Piazzolla's composition won him a grant from the French government to study in Paris with the legendary French composition teacher Nadia Boulanger at the Fontainebleau conservatory.


Back in Argentina, Astor Piazzolla formed his Orquesta de Cuerdas, which performed with the singer Jorge Sobral, and his Octeto Buenos Aires in 1955.


In 1970 Astor Piazzolla returned to Paris where with Ferrer he wrote the oratorio El pueblo joven, later premiered in Saarbrucken, Germany in 1971.


Later that year Anibal Troilo died and Astor Piazzolla composed the Suite Troileana in his memory, a work in four parts, which he recorded with the Conjunto Electronico.


On 4 July 1984, Astor Piazzolla appeared with his Quinteto at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the world's largest jazz festival, and on 29 September that same year they appeared with the Italian singer Milva at the Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, Paris.


The quintet of bandoneon, violin, piano, electric guitar and double bass was Astor Piazzolla's preferred setup on two extended occasions during his career, and most critics consider it to be the most successful instrumentation for his works.


Biographers estimate that Astor Piazzolla wrote around 3,000 pieces and recorded around 500.