ASTOR PIAZZOLLA (1921 - 1992)
Astor Piazzolla was born in Argentina in 1921 and became one of the major classical composers of that country. He became so besotted by the music of the South American dance, The Tango, that he destroyed his early works and devoted his life to writing music with that rhythm as its basis. He has developed this art to the point where it is difficult to detect the dance in his complex and strictly classical music. Outside of the South American continent his music was little known until the past decade, when a renewed interest in the dance, mainly through major exposure in the cinema, has taken his works back into the concert hall. Though there are examples of the dance used in its most basic and popular form, Piazzolla has composed most of his music for small chamber groups or solo instruments. Most is written in a very contemporary 20th century style, usually calling for virtuosity of performance.