Conceived by our Artistic Director, Ignacio Varchausky, the “Emilio Balcarce” Tango Orchestra School (Orquesta Escuela) is a teaching initiative that began in 2000, financed by the Ministry of Culture of Buenos Aires’s city government.
|This project facilitates the transmission of the great maestros’ cultural legacy by bringing multiple generations of musicians together.|
Students work hands-on with the original arrangements from 1940’s and 50s tango orchestras, instructed by actual musicians from that era who remain active, as well as by important tango musicians of successive generations.
All the material is sourced from TangoVia’s sheet music archive—the only one of its kind in the world. This growing archive today contains over 700 original arrangements for tango orchestra, over 600 for the bandoneón as a solo instrument, and many for quintets, trios, etc.
The orchestra shares the fruits of its rehearsals through monthly performances in venues around Buenos Aires, always free of charge and for a diverse audience.
Since its founding, the Orquesta Escuela has easily become the fundamental point of reference and encounter for new generations of tango musicians from all over the world.
In May of 2001, legendary tango maestros Néstor Marconi, José Libertella, Julián Plaza, Atilio Stampone, Rodolfo Mederos, and Raúl Garello directed the Orquesta Escuela in the Buenos Aires Tango Festival at the Palais Chaillot National Theatre and again numerous times in Buenos Aires. In March of 2002, the first two graduating classes of the Orquesta Escuela came together to perform at Buenos Aires’s historic Colón Theater under the baton of Emilio Balcarce, Julián Plaza and Atilio Stampone.
In the same year, the third graduating class performed alongside other tango maestros such as Luis Stazo, Victor Lavallén and Mauricio Marcelli in the Argentine Congressional building’s auditorium, at the Colón Theater in an homage to the maestro Osvaldo Pugliese, and as part of the international tango festival “Viva el Tango” in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Over 150 musicians have traveled from countries like Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Belgium, Colombia, Mexico, France, Holland, Germany and Australia, as well as from throughout Argentina, to train at the Orquesta Escuela.
Emilio Balcarce, one of the genre’s most significant arrangers, directed the Orquesta Escuela for many years. Mr. Balcarce performed and arranged for some of tango’s most historic orchestras: those of Osvaldo Pugliese, Aníbal Troilo and Alfredo Gobbi. In early 2007, following this intense period of teaching, this great maestro decided to retire from the stage. The world-renowned bandoneón player and tango composer Néstor Marconi, one of tango’s most important contemporary figures and the longtime musical director of Argentina’s “Juan de Dios Filiberto” National Orchestra for Argentine Music, took over the baton from Mr. Balcarce and now directs the Orquesta Escuela.
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