Héctor Del Curto, bandoneón, is praised by the New York Times as a "splendid player". Argentinean born, he has captivated the audiences around the world as a soloist and chamber musician, sharing the stage with the world–renowned tango legends Astor Piazzolla and Osvaldo Pugliese, pianist Pablo Ziegler, clarinetist Paquito D´Rivera, and numerous Symphony Orchestras among many others.
At the age of 17 Del Curto won the title of "Best Bandoneón Player under 25". The same year he joined the legendary orchestra of Osvaldo Pugliese, becoming the youngest player in the history of that orchestra. As conductor, he directed the spectacular show "Forever Tango" on Broadway and founded the "Eternal Tango Orchestra" a ten-piece ensemble.
Héctor Del Curto released a critically acclaimed album, Eternal Tango and is soon to release his new record Eternal Piazzolla. Del Curto has participated throughout his career in more then 50 recordings which include performances with Osvaldo Pugliese, Astor Piazzolla, Pablo Ziegler, Paquito D'Rivera, for labels such us BMG, Sony, Nonesuch and many others.
Claudio Ragazzi, guitar, both performs and composes award winning music for film and television, scoring hundreds of projects and performing with some of today's most respected musicians at renowned concert halls in the world.
Claudio attended Berklee College of Music where he graduated Magna Cum Laude, a winner of the prestigious Duke Ellington Master's Award and the Boston Music Awards, Claudio went on to compose music for feature films, documentaries and television commercials as well as undertaking commissioned works for plays and ballets. Claudio currently teaches Film Composition at Berklee.
In 1998 he scored Brad Anderson's hit film Next Stop Wonderland produced by Miramax, featuring Brazilian singer Bebel Gilberto. The CD reached Billboard's top ten chart for more than twelve consecutive weeks. Other production credits include scoring the music for the award winning film, The Blue Diner and a unique collaboration with fellow composer Mason Daring working on the music for John Sayle's film Casa de los Babys. Claudio's work can also be heard in Something's Gotta Give starring Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton and Keanu Reeves. Recent films and collaborations include working with fellow Argentinean composer Osvaldo Golijov on Francis Ford Coppola's Tetro.
Claudio has scored hundreds of TV productions for the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, National Geographic, Telemundo, Univision and PBS, including American Experience, NOVA and the children series Sesame Street, Arthur, and Postcards from Buster. Claudio’s live performances include those at Carnegie Hall, The Hollywood Bowl, The Blue Note Jazz Club, and The Lincoln Center and in theatres around the world. He has performed with some of today's most influential and respected musicians, including Gary Burton, Yo-Yo Ma, Randy Brecker, Danilo Perez, saxophone legends Joe Lovano, Branford Marsalis, Kenny Garrett and Paquito D’Rivera.
Andrew Roitstein, bass, is a native of Valencia, California. He has been featured in chamber music concerts in New York’s Zankel Hall and Washington DC’s Kennedy Center, and has performed with the New York Philharmonic and Hong Kong Philharmonic. He is a founding member of the award-winning Toomai String Quintet, an ensemble that has been appeared in chamber music series at Carnegie Hall and the 92nd St. Y, among others. Roitstein has recorded for artists such as Joanna Newsom (Drag City) and Jessica Pavone (Tzadik Records). In 2007, he won second prize in Juilliard’s Double Bass Concerto Competition and was a semifinalist in the 2011 International Society of Bassists Solo Competition. He has participated in the Lucerne, International Ensemble Moderne Academy, Aspen, and Sarasota music festivals. A Cuban-American, Roitstein also concentrates in Latin-American music, performing with Toomai String Quintet and Argentinian Tango greats Hector Del Curto and Pablo Ziegler.
A dedicated educator, he serves as faculty of the New York Philharmonic’s School Partnership Program and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. As an arranger, his works have been performed by the Toomai String Quintet and by members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Roitstein received his Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees at the Juilliard School, where he was a student of Eugene Levinson.
Lara St. John, violinist, has been described as "something of a phenomenon" by The Strad and a “high-powered soloist” by the New York Times.
Canadian born, she has performed as soloist with the orchestras of Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Minnesota, Seattle, Brooklyn, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and with the Boston Pops, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, NDR Symphony, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Bournemouth Symphony, Ulster Orchestra, the Belgrade Symphony, the Amsterdam Symphony, and the Akbank Chamber Orchestra in Turkey, among many others.
The Los Angeles Times wrote “Lara St. John happens to be a volcanic violinist with a huge, fabulous tone that pours out of her like molten lava. She has technique to burn and plays at a constant high heat.”
A prolific recording artist, her recording Mozart featuring the Sinfonia Concertante and Concerti Nos. 1 & 3, with her brother Scott St. John & The Knights, won the 2011 Juno Classical Album of the Year for Soloist with Large Ensemble.
Of Lara St. John’s recording with the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and conductor Eduardo Marturet Vivaldi – The Four Seasons and Piazzolla – The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, The Cleveland Plain Dealer said, “Lara St. John is as captivating in the seductive scenes of the Piazzolla as she is crisp, caressing and colorful in Vivaldi's atmospheric paeans to nature”
Lara began playing the violin when she was two years old. She made her first appearance as soloist with orchestra at age four, and her European debut with the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon when she was 10. She toured Spain, France, Portugal and Hungary at ages 12 and 13, entered the Curtis Institute at 13, and spent her first summer at Marlboro three years later. Her teachers have included Felix Galimir and Joey Corpus.
She performs on the 1779 “Salabue” Guadagnini thanks to an anonymous donor and Heinl & Co. of Toronto.
Pablo Ziegler, piano, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A Latin GRAMMY winning pianist, Ziegler artfully blends classic tango rhythms with jazz improvisations, adding a new voice to the tango lexicon. Howard Reich of The Chicago Times writes, “There’s no question that Ziegler takes the tango to levels of sophistication and refinement probably undreamed of by Piazzolla”, and Eric Salzman of Stereo Review, writing of Ziegler’s CD, Tango Romance, affirms that the CD “solidifies his [Ziegler’s] claim to be the outstanding representative of the nuevo tango in his generation.” In addition to this critical acclaim, Ziegler’s 2005 release Bajo Cero won the 2005 Latin Grammy Award for Best Tango album of the year.
In 1978, Mr. Ziegler was invited to join Astor Piazzolla’s New Tango Quintet, and for over the next ten years, he performed with this group throughout Europe, Japan and North America.
Ziegler formed his own Quartet for New Tango in 1990 and has been touring extensively throughout the world with his trio, quartet and quintet. In 1996 he recorded Los Tangueros, his two piano arrangements of the music of Piazzolla, with Emanuel Ax, produced by Ettore Stratta for Sony. Performances in recent seasons have included Carnegie Hall as part of the JVC Jazz Festival with guest artists Paquito D’Rivera, Joe Lovano and Gary Burton; and the Miami International Piano Festival for which he created the evening Beyond Tango. For 11 years Ziegler’s quartet performed annually at the Jazz Standard in NYC in the Tango Meets Jazz series produced by Pat Philips and Ettore Strata, with guest artists including Regina Carter, Stefon Harris, Branford Marsalis, Nestor Torres and others. This summer was their second season at Birdland. In November, 2011 Pablo Ziegler and Paquito D’Rivera celebrated The Music of Astor Piazzolla at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Music of the Masters series. In the upcoming season Pablo Ziegler will be the featured artist at the La Jolla Music Festival and the Laguna Beach Music Festival.
Pablo Ziegler is exclusively represented by Bernstein Artists, Inc. www.bernsarts.com
In 1954, Astor Piazzolla, like many brilliant young musicians of our century, had migrated to Paris to study with the world-famous Nadia Boulanger. His tangos having been rejected as “too radical” and “too serious” by Argentine colleagues, he was attempting to find another outlet for his creative energies in writing European-style art music – only to encounter more frustration. “’Throw it away. This is no good. I can’t find Piazzolla in this classical concert music.’ She wanted to know what I really did in life for a living. I was very much ashamed to tell her that I played tango and above all I wouldn’t dare say to Nadia, ‘I play the bandoneón’….[but] she wanted to know about my tangos, and she took my two hands together and she said, “This is Astor Piazzolla. Don’t ever leave it.” 1
Piazzolla took Boulanger’s wise counsel to heart, and ended up making musical history with his nuevo tango, an intriguing synthesis of the diverse musical styles he had grown up with. The records of traditional tango which his father had wept over. The Bach fugues and Gershwin tunes he had learned to play on his infernally difficult, accordion-like instrument, bought as a birthday present in a Brooklyn pawnshop. The Bartók and Stravinsky scores he had pored over in the bandrooms of Buenos Aires cabarets. All thoroughly assimilated, firing his imagination and giving him the determination to persist until his music had captured the hearts of music lovers of all kinds, in his native argentina and around the world. [Taken directly from Steve Sacks cover notes to the CD Astor Piazzolla, The Central Park Concert ]
1 – Schnabel, Tom: Stolen Moments, pp. 120-121, Acrobat Books, LA, CA.