Argentinian Tango

The Codarts Argentine tango programme will prepare you for a very diverse professional practice. You will be trained as a soloist, as an ensemble and orchestra player and as a teacher in the art of tango. You will work with a small and specialized group of teachers, under the artistic supervision of Argentine pianist, composer and arranger Gustavo Beytelmann, who visits Codarts from Paris once a month. Gustavo Beytelmann took up the role of Artistic Leader in 1996, after the death of the legendary Don Osvaldo Pugliese, who held this position from the founding of the department by Leo Vervelde and Carel Kraayenhof in 1993.

The quality of our graduates is internationally acknowledged, not in the least by the tango scene in Buenos Aires. Over the years graduates, such as Alicia Alonso (violin) and Eva Wolff (bandoneón), moved to Buenos Aires where they have a vibrant concert practice.

At the Codarts tango department you can study the following instruments:

  • bandoneon;
  • violin;
  • piano;
  • double bass;
  • (acoustic) guitar.

We have a specialized teacher available for each of these instruments. Under certain conditions it is possible to study other instruments, that are less common in the realm of tango: clarinet, flute and harp. For these three instruments, you will be trained in instrument technique by a teacher that specializes on your instrument, in combination with a teacher that will teach you to translate the specific codes and conventions within tango to your instrument.

Next to our regular teaching team we welcome internationally acclaimed musicians for workshops and masterclasses. Over the (last) years, the following artists have visited Codarts:

  • Color Tango (with Roberto Álvarez);
  • El Arranque (with Ignacio Varshausky);
  • Victor Hugo Villena (bandoneón);
  • Diego Schissi (piano);
  • Carel Kraayenhof (bandoneón);
  • Juan Pablo Navarro (double bass).

In The Netherlands, we have a close partnership with the Rotterdam Tango club Cuartito Azul, where students regularly perform and accompany lessons, and with concert hall de Doelen, where we organize a yearly tango series of concerts and masterclasses.

Abroad, Orquesta de Tango Escuela Emilio Balcárse, Escuela de Música Popular de Avellaneda and Universidad San Martín (UNSAM) in Buenos Aires are important partners of Codarts with whom we exchange sheet music and orchestra arrangements. Another important partner is the CRR du Grand Avignon (France), that offers an elaborate bandoneón programme for all ages.

Bachelor programme

The four year Bachelor programme will train you in the wide repertoire of Argentine tango, milonga, vals criollo and candombe and all the different style related techniques. You will have individual lessons on your instrument, and together with all the other tango students participate in different ensembles, like the Orquesta Típica OTRA and Guitarras Porteñas. With these ensembles you regularly preform in- and outside The Netherlands, in concert halls but also at milongas (tango dance parties). Over the years the Codarts tango ensembles played in Germany, France, Estonia, Switzerland, Belgium and Spain. One of the highlights was the performance by OTRA and Guitarras Porteñas at the VII Festival Buenos Aires Tango in Argentina, in 2006.

Supporting the instrumental lessons, is a closely knit structure of theory classes. At the start of your tango studies, you will learn about the historical development of the tango and the most important style periods and key figures at the Tango History class. These style periods are also subject of study in the analysis classes. Step by step you will learn to recognize and apply the essence of ‘what makes tango tango’. As your study progresses, you will become more and more independent in transcribing relevant historical material, and arranging and composing new material. We are proud to mention that you will have the unique opportunity to use a large collection of original scores, donated to us by Don Osvaldo himself as well as many transcribed tangos from (old) recordings.

The connection between theory and practice becomes clearly visible in the performances of your own arrangements and compositions, the highlight being the graduation concert. For this concert you will prepare a concert programme that displays your abilities in the different aspects of being a tanguero. You will show different tango styles, play in several ensemble forms and lead the Orquesta Típica OTRA or Guitarras Porteñas, in two pieces transcribed, arranged or composed by you.

This educational structure has made that we have been able to build up an extensive collection of transcriptions and arrangements that are brought together on an online platform that all tango students and alumni have access to. In this way, the Codarts tango department will still help you along in your professional development, even after graduation.

Apart from these specific tango classes, there are the classes that you follow with students from all different musical styles within the Bachelor of Music. Here you will find the general outline of the programme.

Master programme

The two year Master programme is a very open and individual programme that will give you the chance to really work on your own profile as a musician. Central in your programme will be your Artistic Research. As part of the audition process, you will draw up your research proposal, in which you describe what you want to research and develop in the two years of the master. Do you want to develop your own unique profile as a soloist? Or do you want to research the possibilities of translating the tango vocabulary to an instrument which is not so common in Argentine tango? Maybe you have a study background in another style, such as classical music or jazz, and you want to find ways of integrating tango in your own musical background. A lot is possible, but it all starts with your own, unique question.

Based on your research proposal, we will see what package of subjects we can put together to support your Artistic Research in the best way possible. These might be individual lessons, but also all group modules from the Bachelor programme are open for Master students, without any extra charge. You can, for example, benefit from our crash course in Argentine tango that will bring you up to speed on the basics in the first year of your Master.