Violinist, bandoneón player, composer, band director and arranger, Emilio Balcarce was the musical director of the Orquesta Escuela from its beginnings until his retirement in March 2007. Since then, as a token of gratitude for his distinguished service as well as for his brilliant career, the program has been named after him: it is now the "Emilio Balcarce" Tango Orchestra School.

Emilio received solid training: he studied violin, harmony and counterpoint with numerous teachers. His career began at the young age of 17 when he joined the Ricardo Ivaldi tango orchestra and, the year following, started his own ensemble. But his name was registered in tango history when he accompanied the singer Alberto Castillo, newly independent from Ricardo Tanturi, at the height of his career in 1943. Emilio also accompanied Alberto Marino after he left Aníbal Troilo’s tango orchestra.

His widespread musical knowledge brought him work as an arranger for the orchestras of Troilo, Francini-Pontier and José Pepe Basso. On the eve of tango’s Golden Decade in 1949 he joined Osvaldo Pugliese’s orchestra, and remained there for nearly 20 years during which he helped to enrich the musical language of tango and of the tango orchestra.

Fifty years later, the maestro recalls that “In all modesty I think that I added more voices to the orchestra, I looked for ways to make the orchestra more sonorous, with a more compact sound. In sung tangos there are now expressive moments of unison that weren’t there before.” He created celebrated arrangements of “La Rayuela” and “La Guitarrita” and composed the songs “Bien Compadre”, “De Contrapunto”, “Norteño”, “Sideral”, “Si Sos Brujo” y one tango that is definitive in the history of the genre: “La Bordona.”

In 1968, Mr. Balcarce founded, along other members of Pugliese’s orchestra, the Sexteto Tango. Musicians such as Osvaldo Ruggiero, Víctor Lavallén, Cacho Herrero, Julián Plaza, Aniceto Rossi and singer Jorge Maciel performed in this group that became a sort of international musical ambassador.

In 1999, Emilio took on the musical direction of the Orquesta Escuela, through which he helped to shape the destinies of many of the new musicians who were interested in returning to the essence of the tango orchestras: their styles. He did so with passion and dedication. As our way of honoring this great maestro, the school was renamed the “Emilio Balcarce” Tango Orchestra School.

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