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compositor, Astor Piazzolla
Astor Pantaleón Piazzolla (Mar del Plata, 11 March 1921 - Buenos Aires, 4 July 1992) was an Argentine musician, composer and arranger.
Tango reformer and avant-garde instrumentalist, he is considered the most important musician in his country and in general among the most important of the twentieth century; author of several collaborations with artists of various kinds (including the countrymen Amelita Baltar and Lalo Schifrin, the American jazzman Gerry Mulligan and, as for the Italian ones, Tullio De Piscopo, Pino Presti and singers Mina and Milva). For his mix of tango and jazz he was the catalyst for heavy criticism of the new tango by purists of the genre, who called him el asesino del Tango (the murderer of Tango).
He is the author of numerous instrumental and vocal pieces, among the most famous of which are Libertango, Adiós Nonino, María de Buenos Aires (with the voice of Milva), Summit, from the album Summit-Reunion Cumbre (with Gerry Mulligan). Mar del Plata, his home town, paid homage to him by naming the airport after him in 2008.
He was born to parents of Italian origin, Vicente Piazzolla (called "Nonino" by the children of Astor), son of Pantaleone, a fisherman who emigrated to Argentina from Trani, in Puglia, and Assunta Manetti, whose family came from Massa Sassorosso, a village in Villa Collemandina Garfagnana, Tuscany. Only recently, on May 18, 2012, on the threshold of the commemorations of the 20th anniversary of his death, the Argentinean painter and founder of the Latin American House, Ofelia Lachner managed to find in Massa Sassorosso, a hamlet of Villa Collemandina in Garfagnana Lucchese, documents certifying the birthplace of the great musician's maternal ancestors.
An only child, in 1925 he moved with his family to New York, where he lived until the age of 16.
Known in his native land as El Gran Astor or El Gato (the Cat, for his skill and ingenuity), he is considered one of the most important tango musicians of the second half of the twentieth century (Carlos Gardel is the most important of the first half). He was a controversial figure towards Argentines, both musically and politically. His music has gained acclaim in Europe and North America before in his country and the revolution he brought to this traditional musical form has aligned him, perhaps inevitably, with those who wanted to make other changes in Argentine society.
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