Astor Piazolla, composer, Atlantic Classical Orchestra

Born March 11, 1921; Mar del Plata, Argentina
Died July 4, 1992; Buenos Aires, Argentina
Four Seasons of Buenos Aires


1965 – 1970; 49 years old

Astor Piazzolla, born in Mar del Plata, Argentina, was a pioneering musician and virtuoso of the bandoneón, a button accordion. In 1955, he broke away from traditional tango bands, venturing into a new musical realm that fused jazz and classical elements with the traditional Latin American tango. Piazzolla’s innovative approach led him to create a distinctive tango sound, characterized by intricate harmonies, counterpoint, and new rhythmic structures. Despite facing resistance from traditionalists, his contributions revolutionized the genre.

Having moved to New York in 1925 and later studying in Paris with Nadia Boulanger, Piazzolla blended his classical training with his passion for the tango. He returned to Argentina in 1955 and formed the influential Quinteto Nuevo Tango, featuring unconventional instrumentation like violin, electric guitar, piano, double bass, and bandoneón. Piazzolla’s compositions, numbering over 750, showcased his ability to experiment with orchestral, big band, and chamber settings. Over time, his groundbreaking innovations gained recognition globally, influencing a new generation of tango composers and finding resonance in film scores, television, and commercials during the 1970s and ‘80s. His enduring legacy includes notable works like the bandoneón concerto (1979) and “Five Tango Sensations” for bandoneón and string quartet (1989).