Archive for the ‘ Violinist ’ Category

1869, November 29 – BIRTH OF JACOB “THUNE” GADE

Composer, Violinist (Sagittarius) – his “Tango Jalousie” is the most recorded and best know tango in history and was immensely popular even in Argentina where people would have been quite surprised to find out that it had been composed by some one from Denmark…Gade recalled the day, as he was having his morning coffee, he opened the newspaper and was greeted with the sensational story of a man who had killed his wife out of jealousy…on his morning walk he was haunted by the story and when he returned home he sat down to compose and finished in  just two hours…it has been used in over 100 films and countless television productions…it is estimated that every minute of the day someone somewhere in the world is playing “Tango Jalousie”; only the Beatles’“Yesterday” could for a time match its popularity


Joseph “Thune” Gade was born into a family of musicians; his family including his grandfather and father would play at festivals in the surrounding villages…early on he started studying the trumpet was so talented that at the age of nine he did a solo performance  in Copenhagen; at the age of 12 Joseph began studying violin….At the age of 16, Joseph decided to move to the capital Copenhagen to seek his fortune; those were difficult years when he would sometimes sleep in entrance halls of buildings relying on the kindness of elderly ladies to give him some coffee and bread in the morning…by day he would compose country music and polkas; by night he would play in the local cafes…at the age of 18 he got his first break when he was invited to play at an operetta in Fredricksburg…in 1900, for the first time a “toast” song of his was published titled “Der Er Sollys i Modne Druer” (The sunshine on the ripe grapes)…it was popularized when it was recorded by Elna From, a theater actress ten years older than he, who was his first love; they never married but they had three children together…he left his vast fortune to help struggling young musicians preferably those homeless and destitute.


  • CLICK HERE – to hear the Peter Kreude version…Kreude was a child prodigy born in Aachen Germany in 1901…in Switzerland he met Eva Peron and fell in love with her…he followed her to Buenos Aires and remained there until her death whereup he returned to Germany and continued his great career as a film soundtrack composer


Composer, Leader, Violinist (Sagittarius) – born into extreme poverty in the city of San Jose de Mayo, Uruguay he would grow to become the richest man in tango history so much so that a popular saying arose “he has more money than Canaro”…he left school very early, he had no choice, he had to work; his parents, immigrants from Rovigo, Italy had eight children…he was mesmerized by the violin; his first violin he constructed himself from an old oil can with which he would play on the streets to earn money…years later he would recall with tenderness, the patch quilt cloth case his mother had made for his “violin”; at the age of 18 he finally bought himself a real violin…his first gig was in a seedy bar in the outskirts of Buenos Aires where gun fire to resolve arguments was not uncommon…in 1908 he composed his first tango “Pinta Brava”,  many more were to follow including great hits however many other tangos attributed to him, he actually bought from destitute composers…


No one is sure how many recordings he made but the estimates range from 3500 to 7000…in 1924 he pioneered the idea of having a singer in the orchestra but only to sing the “estribillo” the bridge or the main section of each tango…by 1915 his orchestra was immensely popular; so popular that he created three orchestras with his name which performed simultaneously around Buenos Aires…his one area of failure was the film industry; his film company Rio de la Plata had only one film that made money, “Idolos De La Radio”…….some time in late 1920s he began his affair with the legendary Ada Falcon who was very much in love with him…when he realizes how much money he would lose in a divorce, he reneged on his promise to marry Ada…at one point his wife actually threatened Ada by pointing a gun to her head…it has been speculated that Ada’s sudden  retirement from show business at the height of her career to enter a convent was related to her broken heart and this incident


  • CLICK HERE – to hear the Francisco Canaro Orchestra play “Yo No Se Que Me Han Hechos Tus Ojos” (I don’t understand what your eyes have done to me) with  music and lyrics by Francisco Canaro

1910, November 11 – BIRTH OF RAUL KAPLAN

Composer, Leader, Violinist (Scorpio) – his older two siblings died of scarlet fever; he was the only one to survive…he was born Israel Kaplun in the neighborhood of Balvanera, Buenos Aires to an itinerant jewish hat salesman who had immigrated from Besarabia, (Moldavia) with his wife…some black neighbors who would help look after Israel, began calling him “Raul” which is what his name sounded like to them when “Israel” was prononced in yiddish…Raul immersed himself in violin lessons at at the jewish grammar school that he attended…when he was about to finish grammer school he noticed a job ad for a violinist…when he arrived at the audition there were 20 people vying for the position, all of them older; he was hired….he was inserted into an ensemble which played at silent movie theaters


Later while playing with a jazz group at the Astral Movie Theater, he crossed paths with Miguel Calo who upon hearing the boy play promptly asked him to join his group; thus was Raul born into the tango world… his broadcasting debut was with Radio Prieto in 1928 although later he would get blackballed in radio for his refusal to join the Peronist Party…one historian has suggested that it was for Kaplun’s virtuosity, that solo violin passages were first written into tango and that it is precisely this element that led to the boom of the 40s……his first composition was the waltz “Recordando a Musè” published in 1935…later with the orchestra of Lucio Demare he composed his first hits  ”Una Emocion”and “Que Solo Estoy” which was a major hit for Raul Beron……in June of 1946 he put together his own orchestra  which at the Cabaret Montecarlo auditioned and hired a young 16-year-old named Roberto Goyeneche whom he would allow to sleep on the sofa and whom he accompanied to the tram stop as he had promised his mother he would do



The creator of stage show “Romance De tango” Leonardo Suarez Paz, is the son of renown violinist Fernando Suarez Paz who was recruited by Astor Piazzolla and toured with him for over 10 years…Fernando began to study violin at the age of five and in time became a first violinist with the National Symphonic Orchestra of Argentina although his father originally hoped that Fernando would become a doctor…Fernando’s talent was such that although still a teenager, he was invited to play with the legends of tango including Miguel Calo, Anibal Troilo and Fulvio Salamanca…Fernando has received enthusiastic reviews from critics throughout the world including a seven star rating from the New York Times


Inspired and encouraged by his father, Leonardo earned accolades in his own right as a musican, dancer and choreographer…Fernando is an accomplished violinist, opera and tango singer and tango dancer which he refined under the tutelage of the legendary Juan Carlos Copes…with passion and devotion, he employed all of his talents to create the critically acclaimed “Romance De Tango” featuring the dancers from his Cuartetango Music and Dance Company…the show, which premiered on August 22, 2009 at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, features six dancers, a string quartet, a bandoneónist, a pianist, and two singers…with a daring repertoir, the production incorporates all expressions of the tango art: music, poetry, song, and dance…one reviewer said of the show, “amazing dancers who enliven the evening with fiery steps and the spirit of Buenos Aires”


1884, August 13 – BIRTH OF AGUSTIN BARDI

He was an absent minded misanthrope, difficult to get along with, prone to sudden outbursts of emotion, demanding of himself and others… a son of poor Italian immigrants, he grew up in a tough neighborhood and had only three years of school but in his head he heard music always; he became a violinista and pianist, self taught…he made his debut as a violinist in a trio including Genaro Esposito…sometime in 1912 he composed his first tango “Vicencito” which a friend had to transcribe as he did not yet write music…he began working in a department store and in time he even became its manager…in the evening he played in the local bars and cafe and even made it to the legendary Armenonville Cafe…he composed many tangos many of which he did not write down…inspired and encouraged by his father, his son would himself become a musician open his own conservatory…


His son would recall his spontaneous inspirations and  remembers him one day saying to him, “son, this morning while I was working in the garden, these bars were dancing in my head”…in June of 1918, while watching a snow fall, an extremely rare event in Buenos Aires, he composed one of his most enduring tangos “Que Noche” (there is a saying in Argentina, “it will snow again in Buenos Aires, before a replacement is found for Carlos Gardel“ )…at the age of 57, as he was rushing home to finish a melody that had been haunting him, he suddenly fell down…he was dead from a massive heart attack…on his desk was found an unfinished melody he had been working on which his son Carlos later called “Sus Ultimas Notas” (his last notes)…it was premiered by the Joachim Do Reyes Orchestra on Radio El Mundo…perhaps his greatest composition was “Gallo Ciego” one of Osvaldo Pugliese’s greatest hits



The publicity read, “Violin Recital by Child Prodigy at The Argentina Saloon – Entrance Fee 2 Pesos”…for the first part of the program Mendelson, for the second, Bach and Tschikovsky…in fact his performance was a resounding success and a great future in the classical world was whispered about for young Elvino Vardaro but in time Elvino discovered that his true love was tango….to help support the family he began playing in the silent movie theaters always with a watchful eye toward the door for he was still underage…it is in this milieu that he met another underage musician, the future legend, Rodolfo Biaggi who was there without his parents conscent…it is there that the legendary Juan Maglio “Pacho walked into the theater and discovered both of them


He was twenty fours years old when he formed “The Vardaro Pugliese Orchestra”; it was a dream come true…with great fanfare and promise and including a wide-eyed Anibal Troilo and Osvaldo Pugliese, the group debuted at the Cafe Nacional to an ecstatic reception…the dream however, was to turn into a nightmare when, embarking a long tour of Argentina, the lack of proper organization and management not only resulted in the curtailing of the tour and the dismemberment of the group…Elvino had to pawn his “Sartoris Bow” to be able to buy train fare back home…like Elvino, the protagonist in Bellinis “La Sonnambula” after whom his father named him who sings “all is lost, nothing can be done, my heart is dead to joy and love”, he went through a period of great despair but Elvino would not only survive but go on to have a diverse and exciting career as few tango musicians would ever have…tango historians often refer to “the Vardaro school” to describe musicians and events



It had finally arrived, Independence Day and like most 14 year olds, Eusebio Aspiazu was excited…there were the festivities, the girls,the music and of course the fire works display…he lived with his mother, his father had passed away some years earlier…that evening as he was about to leave the house, she seemed more concerned than usual, “be careful tonight son”, “I’ll be ok mom” he answered as he rushed out…the fireworks had started and Eusebio was  thrilled…at a certain point, his curiosity got the best of him and he decided to get near the launching site where the technicians were lighting the rockets…he was very close now but all of a sudden something went wrong, one of the canisters hissed, flared and finally exploded engulfing Eusebio in a powder flash….Eusebio screamed in pain…at the hospital the doctors delivered the tragic news to his distraught mother; the optic nerve had been damaged beyond repair and he would be blind for the rest of his life


His mother was his first guitar teacher and later he studied violin and piano and in his arduous recovery, he discovered that he had a special musical ability and it became his life…still a teenager he began playing in a variety of musical groups in the dance halls and cabarets of his day…he was part of the birth of the first tangos in history; tangos like “El Queco” which was composed by Eloisa De Silva, the first woman in histoy to compose a tango…in time “El Cieguito” (the blind boy)  began to develop a name for himself…the dawning of the new century was the dawning of tango; for “El Cieguito” the quality of the gigs were beginning to improve and he found himself playing alongside tango’s trailblazers like Luis Teisseire, Ernesto Ponzio, Juan Carlos Bazan, Enrique Saborido…he may have been the inspiration of Sebastian Piana for his celebrated tango “Viejo Cieguito”…eventually Eusebio  met a girl and married and had children…after a few years another tragedy befell him…a cholera epidemic which since 1867 had periodocally ravaged Argentina, took the life of his wife and in spite of his handicap, he took over the care of the family and continued working…little is know of his life other than that he was present at the birth of tango and that he was a descendant of slaves…non of his compositions or photos of him have survived