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Piazzolla Centennial

Philadelphia Piazzolla Music Festival

Concerts, Lectures, Master Classes & Workshops

Join us in Philadelphia July 11 to 20 for an epic celebration of composer / bandoneonist Astor Piazzolla’s Centennial.

The festival is anchored by the presence, straight from Buenos Aires, of:
Horacio Romo, bandoneon
Pablo Agri, violin

Also featured are pianist Emiliano Messiez, lecturers Maria Susana Azzi, Leandro Benmergui & Federico Diaz, dancers Meredith Klein & Andres Amarilla, and other special guests.

Meet the Artists

View the Complete Schedule

Why Piazzolla?

Above all other composers, Astor Piazzolla revolutionized tango music and brought it to the modern world stage. His inspiration and creativity in fusing tango music with elements from classical music, jazz and other genres, forged a new and unique style of music, Nuevo Tango.

Compositions like "The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires", "Adios Nonino", "Libertango", and “Oblivion” have brought the sounds and images of tango to people around the world. This explosion of popularity for tango music has made it easier to build tango dance communities worldwide.

Piazzolla was born in Mar del Plata, Argentina on March 11, 1921. His family moved to New York City in 1925 and he grew up between the U.S. and Argentina. His ability to cross musical boundaries is connected to his growing up between two cultures, a theme that will be explored in the lectures of the festival.

Earlier this year, the Philadelphia Argentine Tango School held a month-long virtual celebration of the Piazzolla Centennial. We are so grateful that the pandemic situation has improved and we can now offer this in-person celebration. Please join us!

Check out the video on the left to hear festival headliners Horacio Romo and Pablo Agri on the stage of the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires in March of this year.

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Concerts & Milongas

The Philadelphia Piazzolla Music Festival features three concerts in three gorgeous locations, two of which are outside. Masks are required in each venue. Those who are interested in staying for the indoor milonga at the Lithuanian Music Hall will need to prove full vaccination status in advance.

Sunday, July 11, 7 pm

An Intimate Evening with Horacio Romo & Pablo Agri

Horacio Romo, bandoneon & Pablo Agri, violin

Location: Greensgrow Farms, 2501 E Cumberland St, Philadelphia, PA 19125

Price: $40

Sunday, July 18, 7 pm-midnight

Concert: Romo-Agri-Messiez Celebrate Piazzolla, followed by a milonga

Horacio Romo, bandoneon, Pablo Agri, violin & Emiliano Messiez, piano

7-8 pm: Concert (seated)
8 pm-midnight: Milonga

Those who wish to attend the milonga must prove full vaccination status in advance of the event.

Location: Lithuanian Music Hall (ballroom), 2715 E Allegheny Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19134

Price: $40

Tuesday, July 20, 6-9 pm

Concert + Milonga (social dancing) with live music

Horacio Romo, bandoneon, Pablo Agri, violin & Emiliano Messiez, piano

Location: Sunflower Philly, 1725 N 5th St, Philadelphia, PA 19122

Price: $40

Master Class for Musicians

Tools & Secrets to Make Piazzolla Sound Like Piazzolla

Saturday, July 17

Morning session: 11 am - 1:30 pm
Afternoon session: 2:30 pm - 5 pm

Tango music, in general, and Piazzolla’s music, in particular, famously require a lot of specialized knowledge from the performer. Playing the music directly off the page doesn’t work, or at least doesn’t sound like tango.

In this one-day Master Class, legendary tango musicians Horacio Romo, bandoneon, and Pablo Agri, violin, will share the tips, tools and secrets that allow you to unlock the sound, feel and emotional immediacy of tango, with a specific focus on Piazzolla’s compositions.

Pianist / host Emiliano Messiez will translate, facilitate, and share some piano-specific secrets.

Specific topics to be covered include:

  • Styles of interpretation
  • Phrasing
  • Unusual instrument effects common in tango
  • Types of marcato
  • Other typical accompaniments, including 3-3-2, sincopa, and yumba.

The Master Class is open to musicians of all styles and levels. You may choose to bring your instrument for specific feedback, or plan to participate by only watching and listening. A Yamaha C3 grand piano is available on site.

Masks & proof of vaccination required.

Location: Philadelphia Argentine Tango School, 2030 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125

Price: $150. Need-based scholarships available.

Lectures via Zoom

Four lectures will be offered via Zoom as part of the Philadelphia Piazzolla Music Festival. We are especially honored to have the participation of Maria Susana Azzi, a cultural anthropologist who wrote the definitive biography of Piazzolla, “Le Grand Tango.”

Monday, July 12, 7:30-9 pm

“Piazzolla’s Music And How It Relates To Traditional Tango,” presented by pianist / composer Emiliano Messiez

Wednesday, July 14, 7:30-9 pm

“Astor Piazzolla and his relationship with Italy,” presented by cultural anthropologist / author Maria Susana Azzi. Maria has published a number of critically-acclaimed books about Piazzolla. You can find links to purchase here.

Friday, July 16, 8-9:30 pm

“Transnational Astor: The Making of Piazzolla from Argentina to the U.S. (and Back and Forth),” presented by historian Leandro Benmergui

Monday, July 19, 7:30-9 pm

“Astor Piazzolla and New York City,” presented by guitarist / composer Federico Diaz

Price: $15 a la carte. Scroll down to learn about passes available. If you already have a “tango lecture series” class card, please email Meredith to use it for these lectures.

Tango Workshops: How to Dance Piazzolla

Sunday, July 18

Session 1: 12-1:15 pm
Session 2: 1:30-3 pm

For much of the world, Astor Piazzolla is the composer most associated with tango. However, for tango dancers, his music remains challenging, if not impossible, to dance to.

Join Andres Amarilla & Meredith Klein for two workshops, offered at an intermediate-advanced level, exploring:

  • How to listen to Piazzolla in a way that makes his music more danceable
  • How to adapt steps, concepts and dynamics from traditional tango to accommodate the greater diversity of rhythm, tempo and mood that we find in Piazzolla

You will leave these workshops with more confidence and tools to enjoy dancing Astor Piazzolla’s music, a great posthumous gift to give the composer on the occasion of his centennial. :-)

Partners-only. No partner change.
Limited to 5 couples.
Proof of full vaccination & masks required.

Cost: $50 (Registration covers both sessions)

Location: Philadelphia Argentine Tango School, 2030 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19215

Pricing & Registration

Available Passes

Our current registration system does not “do” passes well. If you would like to buy a pass, please use this form to send the correct amount, along with a note to confirm what you are registering for.

Full Pass inc. dance workshops (all activities): $290
Full pass without dance workshops (all activities except dance workshops): $240
Master Class (both sessions): $150
Concerts & Lectures (7 events total): $140

A La Carte

A la carte pricing is as follows.

Single concert: $40
Single zoom lecture: $15
Master class: $150
Two dance workshops (per person): $50

For a la carte purchases, please use our registration system. Click the “workshops” tab.

Meet the Artists

From one of the greatest living bandoneon players, Horacio Romo, to the author of the definitive Piazzolla biography, Maria Susana Azzi, we are overwhelmed at the calibre of artists participating in this festival.

Get to know them here...

Complete Festival Schedule

The Philadelphia Piazzolla Music Festival’s activities are organized thematically above, grouped by concerts, master class, workshops and lectures.

To view a complete list of activities in chronological order,

click here...