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Tango Legend Daniel Binelli to Perform at Ithaca College January 30th 2009

Daniel Binelli, Bandoneon Virtuoso

ITHACA, NY - Bandoneon virtuoso, composer, and tango legend Daniel Binelli returns for a special concert on Friday January 30th 2009. Performance will start at 8:15 p.m., Ford Hall in the James J. Whalen Center for Music. 

Tango is closely identified with an instrument never found in classical chamber music ensembles or orchestras: the bandoneon. A button squeezebox instrument developed in Germany and constructed of wood, metal, leather and mother of pearl, the bandoneon is a formidably difficult instrument to play.  Its sonorities define tango.

Binelli is one of the world’s greatest virtuosos of the bandoneon. He has  played bandoneon with major orchestras in Latin America, Europe and the United States. With over fifty CDs, countless compositions, and many film scores, Binelli is also widely acclaimed as the foremost exponent and torchbearer of the music of tango legend Astor Piazzolla, who forged the nuevo tango style.

A seminal figure in 1950s Argentine tango in the 1950s, Piazzolla moved tango beyond danceable music into avant-garde explorations within rigorous classical structure. Piazzolla's music brought 20th century dissonances to the traditional harmonic spectrum of tango. Driving rhythms, memorable melodies, and the crossover between the tango traditions, classical techniques, and jazz improvisation distinguish his nuevo tango.

Tango conjures counterpoint in many forms: sexuality, syncopation, South America, seduction, sad longing, subconscious desires. Yet in Argentina, tango is considered the second national anthem, expressing collective national consciousness, social and political displacements, melancholy and loss.

Tango emerged in the late 19th century among immigrants in Buenos Aires working class neighborhoods, brothels, and gangster gatherings. Throughout the 20th century, the middle and upper classes—as well as the Catholic Church-- attempted to restrict tango, associating it with violence, the underclass, and political destabilization.   Identified with the proletariat and creolized culture, tango was often banned both in Argentina and Europe.

The guerra sucia (dirty war) was a state sponsored war on citizens in response to strikes and dissident activities from 1976-1983 where the desaparecidos--the disappeared--are estimated between 6,000 and 30,000 people.  After the end of the Argentine military dictatorship, tango exploded as a radical expression of Argentina’s culture.

A melancholic, violent, erotic, highly intricate dance form unique to Argentina, tango is also characterized by assertive rhythm, passionate flourishes, elaborate textures, and dramatic changes.

This concert is a rare opportunity to hear tango in all its virtuosity, complexity, counterpoints and camouflages, and collaborations.