Review: Two concerts for Piazzolla’s 100th anniversary, with “nuevo tango” music, bandoneon concerto

Posted on: December 1, 2021

“Two remarkable concerts … took place recently in Chicago and were designed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Astor Piazzolla,” writes Hedy Weiss in Monday’s (11/29) WTTW TV (Chicago). “One of those concerts … a remarkable program by … violinist Philippe Quint … and pianist Jun Cho … included performances of more than a dozen short but devilishly difficult pieces by Piazzolla, as well as by tango legend Carlos Gardel, Ginastera, Stravinsky, Bartók, Boulanger, Duke Ellington and J.S. Bach…. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra presented its own tribute to Piazzolla … led by the wonderfully expressive … Giancarlo Guerrero (music director of the Nashville Symphony), and featuring Daniel Binelli, the renowned master of the bandoneon … considered ‘the torchbearer’ of Piazzolla’s music…. In its first performance by the CSO was Piazzolla’s ‘Aconcagua Concerto for Bandoneon and Orchestra’ [with Binelli and] his heavy, black, accordion-pleated, ‘71-button keyboard’ instrument … backed by a harp, piano, strings, timpani and percussion (with Cynthia Yeh scratching a gourd-like instrument)…. The [bandoneon], which can shift from a lyrical wail with a hint of the human voice one moment, to a jazzy riff the next, was irresistible.”