Tango Composer Astor Piazzolla Biography

Living in Argentina, Vicente Nonino Piazzolla and Asuta Manetti (both of Italian descent) welcomed their son Astor Piazzolla into this world in the year of 1921. While he was born in Argentina, Astor spent most of his early years of life in New York City. This is where his love of music began to bloom. Enjoying Jazz and the music of J.S. Bach, his love and knowledge of this art became his passion. His father found a bandoneon in a New York pawnshop and purchased it for his young son. This seemed to be one of the most significant steps in molding the musician that Astor Piazzolla became. In addition to his music, he also excelled in multiple languages including French, English, Italian and Spanish.

Returning to Argentina in 1937, he found tango to be the reigning style of music. Continuing his love of playing the bandoneon, he and his various ensembles performed in a multitude of nightclubs throughout Argentina. Quickly becoming known as the best bandoneon player in Buenos Aires, Astor Piazzolla expanded his musical knowledge by studying under Alberto Ginastera. Covering a number of composers like Stravinsky, Bartok and Ravel, he began to take from their excellence when composing his own music. That was until he met Nadia Boulanger. She quickly noticed his own magic and encouraged him to focus on his own style and talent leaving the others to theirs. In 1955, he organized the Octeto Buenos Aires and began playing his own style of tango.

Astor Piazzolla is well known in the music world for his contributions to the tango. He took elements from jazz and classical music, added them to tango and created Nuevo tango. As an accomplished composer and bandoneon player, he commonly performed his compositions adding electronic and acoustic sounds creating his unique form of music. While this new form of the tango was widely accepted in the United States and Europe, Argentina in general showed resistance to this change. Among some of his most notable pieces are Adios Nonino (written in 1959 in memory of his father), Libertango (written in 1974 symbolizing his liberation from the traditional tango), Oblivion as well as Milonga Del Angel. In 1990 he suffered a thrombotic event that eventually led to his death in Buenos Aires in 1992.