Master Tango Music

The Master Tango Music is part of the Master of Music programme at Codarts. The Tango programme is under the artistic supervision of renowned pianist, composer and arranger Gustavo Beytelmann. The programme will prepare you to become a professional musician who has a solid knowledge in traditional tango music and is also ready to engage in new currents, artistic creations and research in the field.

A brief history of the Tango department at Codarts

The Tango Department at Codarts was founded in 1993 by bandoneonists Leo Vervelde and Carel Kraayenhof. It was a unique institution offering formal education in tango music, and together with the Classical Indian, Flamenco, Turkish and Latin Music departments, formed and established the basis of the World Music department at Codarts. The first artistic director of the Tango department was one of the greatest tango pillars ever: Osvaldo Pugliese. Pianist, composer, arranger and a celebrity with his unique and revolutionary tango orchestra. All ingredients for a full education in this musical language were taken care of, including a traditional tango orchestra that is at the core of the aural representation of tango music at large. 

Tango Music department today

Tango music has undoubtedly become one of the most widespread popular music genres nowadays and the Tango department at Codarts is still one of the few places in the world where this musical language can be formally studied. The programme is currently coordinated by Dr. Bárbara Varassi Pega (pianist, composer, arranger, researcher) and Santiago Cimadevilla (bandoneonist, composer, arranger, researcher). The artistic director since 1996 remains Gustavo Beytelmann, renowned pianist, composer and arranger, best known for his innovative compositions and his collaboration with bandoneonist Astor Piazzolla, among many others.

Parallel to main subject (instrument) lessons, special attention is devoted to transcription, arrangement, composition, history and ensemble playing. Transcriptions are used to obtain written scores nowhere to be found of the performances of the great masters for the understanding of the main styles of tango. Both in main subject and ensemble lessons, all elements and techniques of tango music are explored for a full education on traditional tango music that gives space and a foundation for further explorations and creations in the field. From typical tango rhythms, accompaniment patterns, ways of expressing the melodic materials to ornamentation, phrasing and special effects (extended techniques), students explore the main features of tango music while becoming familiar with its most representative styles. Along with a wide array of tango ensembles formed by students, Codarts is proud to have OTRA (orquesta típica de Rotterdam integrada por alumnos) as its representative ensemble: a full tango orquesta típica with professional performances in national and international concert venues. Additionally, Codarts offers very concretely the possibility for professional collaboration, also at an international level. Many alumni have not only gone on to collaborate with world renowned artists, but also establish themselves as respected artists in their own right.

All teachers are well established artists in the field, and together collaborate to create a cohesive and committed professional team of educators. Find here all the teachers in the World Music and Tango Departments.

Tango Master programme

The Master programme can be followed by anyone who has a Bachelor’s degree. The programme can be filled in very openly and will be adapted to personal wishes, so that the musician can work on their own personal profile. Artistic Research is key. The admission process consists of an audition, plus the submission of a proposal in which the candidates describe what they’d like to research and develop during their study. For example, researching the possibilities of transferring the tango vocabulary to an atypical ensemble that is not (yet) part of the tango tradition. Someone with a background in a different music style, such as classical music or jazz, might suggest incorporating tango elements into their music. Based on the individual proposal, it is considered which curriculum is best for this unique Artistic Research. Finally, further international connections are made by regularly inviting renowned tango artists from Argentina and the world. 

Over the last years the following artists have visited the Tango department at Codarts

Pianists: Julián Peralta, Hernán Possetti, Lisandro Baum, Diego Schissi.
Bandoneonists: Alfredo Marcucci, Milagros Caliva, Roberto Alvarez, Eva Wolff
Double bass players: Juan Pablo Navarro, Ignacio Varchausky