Piazzolla Centennial

The Artists

Philadelphia Piazzolla Music Festival

Horacio Romo

Bandoneonist, conductor and composer, Horacio Romo was born on October 30, 1973 in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He began his bandoneon studies at the age of 9, encouraged by his father, a singer also known as Horacio Romo. His virtuosity quickly made headlines and at the age of 11 he was hired by the municipality of Lomas de Zamora, the city where he grew up and currently resides.

His passion and talent for tango meant that before the age of 15 he was chosen to accompany great singers such as Alberto Castillo and Roberto Goyeneche. Bandoneonists Leopoldo Federico and Osvaldo Piro have greatly influenced Horacio’s career, making him a versatile artist with both power and subtlety.

Horacio has been a member of orchestras such as the Juvenil del tango, Orquesta Gran Debut, and Orquesta Color Tango, with which he performed around the world for 9 years. He has been a member of the Fernando Suárez Paz Quintet, the Astor Piazzolla Foundation Quintet, the Leopoldo Federico Orchestra, the National Tango Selection, and the orchestras of Julián Plaza, Osvaldo Berlingieri, Horacio Salgán, Antonio Agri, Atilio Stampone, Raúl Garello, Rubén Juárez, Osvaldo Piro, Gustavo Beytelman, Cristian Zárate and Pablo Agri.

He was director and first bandoneon of the companies “Tango Argentino” and ¨Tango Pasión.¨ He performed the opera “María de Buenos Aires” in Poland and was part of the opera "Orestes, last Tango", which toured Holland and Belgium.

He has accompanied important tango singers such as: Roberto Goyeneche, Alberto Castillo, Alberto Morán, Alberto Ruffino, Rubén Juárez, Guillermo Fernández, Raúl Lavié, María Graña and Elena Roger among others. He toured several countries with the show “Boccatango,” directed by the legendary Argentine ballet dancer, Julio Bocca. He also accompanied international artists such as Julio Iglesias, Luis Miguel, Laura Pausini, Ricardo Montaner, Marco Antonio Solis, La India, Diego El Cigala and Buika. He participated as a session musician in more than a hundred albums of national and foreign artists, including the album Café de Los Maestros and albums of the orchestras he was part of.

He worked with the maestro and director Lalo Schiffrin and participated in the music of the film “Tango” by Carlos Saura. He participated in the documentaries “Café de los maestros” and "Si sos brujo".

For four years he was assistant bandoneon teacher at the Orquesta Escuela de Tango directed by maestro Emilio Balcarce. He made his debut with his group Horacio Romo Sexteto, at the Luna Park in the final of the World Cup and Tango Festival 2015 along with Raúl Lavié, and toured with the same group in 2017, performing in 25 different cities in Japan. Due to the great success of the tour, he recorded his first cd that same year and it was the best-selling tango album in that country.

As a soloist he has performed Astor Piazzolla’s Concerto for Bandoneon and Orchestra with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, playing at the Hollywood Bowl and Walt Disney Concert Hall (for which he won an Emmy Award for Best Latin Concert), Eugene Oregon Symphony, and Texas Fort Worth Symphony. In other countries: BBC Philharmonic playing at the Albert Royal Hall (England), Auckland Philharmonic (New Zealand), Lima Symphony (Peru), Moravia Symphony (Czech Republic), Porto Alegre Symphony and Rio Philharmonic (Brazil).

He is currently a soloist with the Orquesta Nacional de Música Argentina Juan de Dios Filiberto, first bandoneon in the orchestras of José Colangelo and Nicolás Ledesma (winner of a Grammy). He is the musical director and first bandoneon of the company Forever tango, a show with the same name that tours the world. Since 2005 he is also the musical director and first bandoneon of Sexteto Mayor, the legendary orchestra with more than 45 years of experience (winner of two Gardel awards). In addition, he returns to perform Piazzolla’s concerts for bandoneon and orchestra and to work in duo with violinist Pablo Agri.

Pablo Agri

Pablo Agri has performed as soloist in several international symphonic and chamber orchestras. He has played with many of the most important tango musicians: Mariano Mores, Néstor Marconi, Horacio Salgán, Julián Plaza, Susana Rinaldi, Osvaldo Berlingieri and Juan José Mosalini, among others.

In 2012, his sextet was nominated for the Gardel Award as best Tango group. In 2014, he was named Outstanding Personality of Culture of the City of Buenos Aires.
He has participated in the recitals and recording of the CD Cigala Tango, along with Diego El Cigala, Latin Grammy Award-winning album. In 2018 he starred alongside Eduardo Walczak in the documentary "Walczak Agri, violinists", produced by The Argentine Tango Society. He is currently the conductor of the Camerata Argentina and the orchestra of the TV Pública program “La hora del tango” and is a member of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional and the Sexteto Mayor.

Emiliano Messiez

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and based in NYC, pianist/composer Emiliano Messiez has become one of the most in-demand tango pianists in the country. He has played some of the country’s most notable music venues, including Lincoln Center, and performed with some of the world’s top musicians, such as Paquito de Rivera, Dino Saluzzi, and Concha Buika. With Jose Luis Infantino, he recorded an album, “Silencio,” in 2004 which received an UNESCO Prize for music.

Emiliano graduated from the National University of the Arts in Buenos Aires. He later joined the faculty there, teaching in the Department of Composition. He also graduated from Berklee College of Music’s Escuela de Music Contemporánea in Buenos Aires.

Emiliano is the composer of the upcoming musicals, “Bordello” (book and lyrics by Barbara Bellman) and “The Guava Tree,” produced by Creede Repertory Theater. To learn more about Emiliano, please visit his website: www.emilianomessiez.com.

Maria Susana Azzi

Maria Susana Azzi is a Cultural Anthropologist and has investigated European immigration in Argentina from different perspectives: tango and Argentine music, institutional life through sports, business in the Río de la Plata, industry and regional economies. Her work has been translated into several languages: Korean, French, English, Italian, Japanese, Polish. She wrote for various Argentine and foreign record companies, she collaborated on documentaries for RAI, Sony Classical and with Mike Dibb, in Piazzolla in Portrait. She has been a consultant for numerous institutions, including the Americas Society, Smithsonian Institution, National Geographic Society, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Academia Nacional de Ciencias Políticas y Morales, Buenos Aires, American Anthropological Association, Austrian Science Fund, Swiss National Science Foundation, British Journal of Ethnomusicology, Fondazione Migrantes, Otto-Friedrich University of Bamberg. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the Astor Piazzolla International Foundation and of the National Tango Academy. She contributed to several books. She is the author and co-author of several books, among others Pioneros de la Industria Argentina and Le Grand Tango. The Life and Music of Astor Piazzolla with a Foreword by Yo-Yo Ma in collaboration with Simon collier, originally published in English by Oxford University Press, and later translated to Japanese, Korean, Polish, and Spanish. The second edition was published in the US as Ebook (2017), in Spanish (2018) and Italian (2021). The latter has been Declared of Cultural Interest by the Legislatura de la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, El Honorable Concejo Deliberante of the city of Olavarría, El Honorable Concejo Deliberante del Partido de General Pueyrredon where the main city is Mar del Plata, the city where Astor Piazzolla was born, and by the Honorable Senado de la Provincia de Buenos Aires. Aires. She has been awarded a gold medal by the Associazione Lucchesi nel Mondo (2918). She was distinguished as an Outstanding Personality in the area of Culture by the Legislatura de la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires (2019). Her curiosity has led her to travel to all continents, including Antarctica. She is passionate about photography and sports. She lives in Buenos Aires. She has Argentine and Italian nationality.

Maria has published a number of critically-acclaimed books about Piazzolla. You can find links to purchase here.

Leandro Benmergui

Leandro Benmergui (PhD. History, University of Maryland) is an Associate Professor of History at Purchase College, SUNY and Chair of the Department of Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies. After completing a BA at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, Leandro moved to the U.S. to complete his PhD at the University of Maryland. His research focuses on the social and cultural history of Latin American cities, with a particular focus on Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro.

Andres Amarilla

Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Andres Amarilla began dancing tango in 1987 at age 11. While still a child, he studied with and performed in the dance companies of three of the greatest tangueros of all time: Gustavo Naveira, Juan Carlos Copes, and Rodolfo Dinzel. After 10 years of intensive immersion in the music, culture and movement of traditional Argentine Tango, Andres became part of a small group of young people seeking to push the limits of the traditional art form. Together, they analyzed and codified the movements, sequences and rules of traditional tango and began to play with the “grammar” of the tango language, thereby developing uncounted new sequences of movements, and giving birth to a new means of teaching, dancing and thinking about tango. This way of analyzing tango has become the basis of most good tango pedagogy in the world today.

A greatly sought-after teacher, Andres has taught in more than 70 cities worldwide, including Istanbul, Beirut, Warsaw, Gdansk, Moscow, Sydney, Brisbane, Belo Horizonte, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, Vancouver, Montreal, and New York, among many others. In 2008, Andres and his dance partner, Meredith Klein, founded the Philadelphia Argentine Tango School. Until Covid-19, Andres split his year between Philadelphia and traveling to teach in other parts of the world. Now, he has taken on an important new role as full-time steward of Sheldon the Tango Cat. Meow!

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Meredith Klein

Meredith Klein has been dancing tango for 22 years, including three years spent living in Buenos Aires. For the past 13 years, she has run the Philadelphia Argentine Tango School. Over the past three years, the school has become one of the most prolific presenters of live tango music in the United States.

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