Violinist Tomás Cotik presents a three-part video documentary ahead of his upcoming album release Buenos Aires, celebrating Piazzolla’s legacy with Desyatnikov’s renowned arrangement of Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires and seven world premiere arrangements by Ken Selden for Violin and String Orchestra.

In this first part of the documentary, Cotik speaks about his compatriot’s immigrant story and the multicultural blend that shaped Tango and Piazzolla’s Tango Nuevo. 

Tango music, born on the shores of the Río de la Plata in the late 19th century, is a vibrant blend of cultures, reflecting its African roots and the diverse immigrant communities of South America’s cities. Astor Piazzolla, a key figure in Tango’s evolution, embodied this cultural mix, reshaping the genre with his innovative compositions and arrangements.

Growing up in Mar del Plata, Argentina, and later in New York City, Piazzolla’s musical journey was influenced by a variety of styles. Despite not initially embracing Tango, his exposure to classical music and jazz fueled his passion for exploration. Returning to Argentina as a teenager, he immersed himself in Tango, refining his skills under influential mentors. His time studying with Nadia Boulanger in Paris marked a turning point, inspiring him to blend classical and jazz elements into Tango, creating the Nuevo Tango. 

Tomás Cotik currently resides in Madrid, Spain, holding a nine-month-long Fulbright research award during his sabbatical year as a violin professor at Portland State University in Oregon. His recording of Piazzolla ‘Buenos Aires’ is out on 26 April 2024 on Naxos.

Photo credit: So Min Kang Photography

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