Astor Piazzolla

March 11, 1921 – July 04, 1992

Modern Period

Born in Argentina

At the age of 4, Astor Piazzolla moved with his family from Argentina to New York City where he listened to his father’s record collection, including the tango orchestras of his homeland. He was also exposed to jazz and classical, and he started taking piano and bandoneon lessons. The bandoneon is a squeezebox instrument like the concertina or accordion.

Astor wrote his first Tango when he was 11, then he began performing in orchestras around Argentina in his mid-20’s. While he was traveling and performing, he began arranging the orchestra’s music and continued composing. Along with becoming what one critic called “the world’s foremost composer of Tango music,” Astor started writing music for films. While he composed mostly for Argentinian productions, his final soundtrack was for the Bruce Willis sci-fi classic, “12 Monkeys.”