At the Codarts Tango Master programme, we prepare you to become a professional musician with a solid knowledge of traditional tango music. We also give you the tools to engage in new music currents, develop artistic creations and conduct research in the field. We provide all the ingredients for a comprehensive education in this musical language, including the traditional tango orchestra, which embodies the essence of tango music. Today, many of our alumni collaborate with world-renowned artists and have become respected artists themselves.  


Brief history

Part of the World Music department at Codarts, the Tango department was founded in 1993 by bandoneonists Leo Vervelde and Karel Kraayenhof. The department’s first artistic director, Osvaldo Pugliese, was one of the greatest tango artists ever. An accomplished pianist, composer and arranger, he made a name for himself with a unique and revolutionary tango orchestra.


Tango department today

Tango has become one of the most popular music genres and the Codarts Tango department is one of the few places in the world where you can study this musical language. The programme is coordinated by Dr. Bárbara Varassi Pega (pianist, composer, arranger and researcher). She works closely with teachers Santiago Cimadevilla (bandoneonist, composer, arranger and researcher) and Stephen Meyer (violinist, arranger and researcher). Renowned pianist, composer and arranger, Gustavo Beytelmann has been the programme’s artistic director since 1996. He is known for his innovative compositions and collaboration with bandoneonist Astor Piazzolla, among many others. Established professional artists, the teachers form a close team of dedicated and committed educators.

In addition to the core instrumental lessons, the Master programme focuses on the analysis, transcription, arrangement, composition and history of tango, as well as ensemble playing. We use transcription to create written scores of the performances of the great tango masters, to enhance your understanding of the genre’s main styles. In both the core lessons and the ensemble lessons, you will explore all elements and techniques for an in-depth study of traditional tango music. This knowledge will serve as the foundation to further explore and create tango music, while still leaving room for each student’s individual expression.

From typical tango rhythms, accompaniment patterns, the expression of melodic materials to ornamentation, phrasing and special effects (extended techniques), you will study the main features of tango music and become familiar with its most emblematic styles. 

As a student at Codarts, you will explore tango music through a wide array of tango ensembles. For more hands-on learning, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with national and international professionals. We take pride in our OTRA orchestra (Orquesta Típica de Rotterdam integrada por Alumnos), which is mainly composed of students. This traditional  orquesta típica plays  professional tango performances in national and international concert venues. 

We regularly invite renowned tango artists from Argentina and other countries to our music programme. Artists who have visited us include: 

Pianists: Julián Peralta, Hernán Possetti, Lisandro Baum, Diego Schissi, Pablo Estigarribia and Claudio Constantini
Bandoneonists: Alfredo Marcucci, Milagros Caliva, Roberto Alvarez, Eva Wolff, Damián Torres and Claudio Constantini
Double bass players: Juan Pablo Navarro, Ignacio Varchausky and Virgilio Monti


Admission to the Master programme

Anyone who has completed a Bachelor degree is eligible for the Tango Master programme. The programme is flexible and allows you to tailor your learning to develop your unique personal profile. We also support Artistic Research. The admission process includes an audition and submission of a research proposal. For example, you may research the possibilities of transferring the tango vocabulary to a non-tango ensemble. Or if you have a background in other genres, such as classical music or jazz, you could incorporate tango elements into your music. After carefully evaluating each proposal, we define the most appropriate curriculum for each unique Artistic Research project.