Tango Days

The World Music Tango Department at Codarts University of the Arts (Rotterdam, the Netherlands) and the Argentinian Music Department at Unidad Académica de las Artes UNSAM (Universidad Nacional de San Martín, Buenos Aires, Argentina) come together through music and artistic research with the aim of enhancing the creative practice of River Plate tango and providing an invaluable space for cultural exchange and international cooperation.

The 1st edition International Tango Days – 2 April till 5 April ’20 are open for musicians worldwide to join and learn how to understand, perform, arrange, compose, improvise, research and engage with tango’s creative practice. Previous tango knowledge or experience is not requested, although participants should be instrumentalists or vocalists of medium to advanced level (demonstrated by sending a recording or video) and be able to read music. There is also the chance for a limited amount of people to join as listeners.

For this first edition, three outstanding teachers from UNSAM are joining Codarts staff members into an explosive team including world renowned pianists Gustavo Beytelmann and Hernán Possetti, violinist Ramiro Gallo and bandoneonist Santiago Segret, all top-notch musicians, arrangers, composers and ensemble/orchestra leaders (see full faculty members list below).

The daily activities are based on the curriculum of Codarts’ Tango Department and cover solo and ensemble performance, arrangement and orchestration, composition, artistic research, music analysis, crossover, ‘parrilla’ and improvisation, as well as presentations and concerts by the teachers, guest musicians, participants to this event, and Codarts students and alumni. Parallel to traditional tango music, new tango practices and repertoire are put centre stage. All lessons are held in English or in Spanish with an English interpreter.

Parallel lessons in the morning:

In the morning, students follow separate group lessons devoted to their instruments: strings with Ramiro Gallo, bandoneon/accordion with Santiago Segret, piano with Hernán Possetti, guitar with Kay Sleking, winds (TBA), and voice with Omar Mollo and guitarist Álvaro Rovira Ruiz (accompanist). Participants can work on a piece of repertoire they already know or on the pieces sent for the event, or even both if time allows. All the secrets and tricks of tango music are unfolded: articulations, accentuation, ways to play melodic material and accompanying rhythmical models, percussive and special effects, solo and ensemble performative features, different styles, ornamentation, phrasing, and interpretation for singers. 


Both at Codarts and UNSAM, students are trained to play in various types of ensembles/orchestras and/or even initiate and lead these themselves. At this event, two parallel orchestras are formed based on the instrument and level of the applicants (limited spots for pianists). Teachers for the orchestra lessons vary on a daily basis in a Codarts–UNSAM combination that allow participants to work with most of the teachers and experience their unique expertise. The repertoire consists of notated arrangements tailor-made for these orchestras and includes compositions and/or arrangements by the teachers involved. 

Participants to the orchestras will study the assigned parts and prepare for the rehearsals; experience how to function in an ensemble following the directions of the section and orchestra leaders; and apply the correct style-related techniques learnt in other activities of the event.

Parallel workshops in the afternoon:

In the afternoon, participants can join an array of diverse activities based on their fields of interest. Most workshops can be joined on the spot provided participants stay for the full session so as to avoid disruptions.

  • Ensembles: these sessions are meant for constituted ensembles wishing to take a lesson as a group and specially apply for it at the moment of registration. All members should be registered to the event, although special agreements can be made if one or more members cannot attend the full programme. Each ensemble will get a 45 minutes lesson with one of the teachers of the event. Slots are limited and requests will be handled on a first come first served basis. Participants can also join as listeners.
  • Crossover, improvisation and ‘parrilla’ playing: these workshops will be devoted to improvisation and spontaneous arranging techniques used in tango (with or without leading sheets) and to experiments with other musical languages (crossover). Repertoire and crossover ‘ingredients’ are chosen by the teachers together with the participants. Participants can also join as listeners.
  • Tango tools: these sessions are devoted to exploring the many materials and techniques that constitute and define tango music. Through listening to recordings, analysing scores and discussing specific masterpieces from the tango repertoire, participants will discover and experiment tools to better understand, perform, arrange, orchestrate, compose and teach tango music.
  • Arranging and composing: these workshops are devoted to participants who wish to show and discuss their own scores of finished arrangements, orchestrations or compositions with the teachers. Participants can also join as listeners.
  • Performing techniques: following the tango features explored in the morning lessons by instrument, the main performing tango techniques (articulations, accentuation, ways to play melodic material and accompanying rhythmical models, marcatos, etc.) are practiced in these sessions, now in combination with other instruments.

Special evenings:

Each of the four days concludes on a high. Special eveningsis a set of concert-lectures aimed at exploring the tango world from different perspectives and practices as follows: 

  • Special evening 1: Leo Vervelde presents the Tango and World Music Departments at Codarts, the teaching programme and their activities with the students. Follows a performance by teachers, students and alumni. Special guest: Víctor Villena, bandoneon.
  • Special evening 2: Tango research at Codarts. Bárbara Varassi Pega presents the post-doctoral project from which the International Tango Days– 1stedition originate together with other artistic research projects conducted at Codarts around the study, creation and practice of tango music. A group of teachers, students and alumni will briefly present their research so as to provide an overview on how artistic research can transform the musician-researcher’s creative practice and lead to new artistic results. Dr. Henrice Vonck, artistic research coordinator at Codarts, will give a brief introduction on artistic research.
  • Special evening 3: Ramiro Gallo, Hernán Possetti and Santiago Segret present the Argentinian Music Department at Unidad Académica de las Artes UNSAM, their teaching programme including tango and folklore and their activities with the students there. They perform and present some pieces from their own repertoire as well.
  • Special evening 4: in the last concert-lecture, Gustavo Beytelmann, who has advanced the tango world with groundbreaking arrangements and compositions, performs and explains some of his pieces for solo piano.

Final presentation and concert:

The International Tango Days – 1stedition conclude with a final concert on the very last evening. Participants and teaching staff members perform and present some of the pieces worked out during the event, resulting from the diverse activities and workshops in the programme.


Registration is now open. Participants should apply before March 2, 2020, so that musical arrangements for the orchestras can be tailor-made and materials can be sent in preparation for the workshops and lessons. Please fill in and send the registration form on this link:


For further information, please contact: tangodays@codarts.nl


The tuition fees specified below are meant for the full programme, including all activities, Special eveningevents and final concert. The fee does not include housing. Rotterdam has several inexpensive sleeping options (information available on request). It is also possible to be lodged with one of our students without charge (availability for this option is limited). Participants must arrange travel costs, meals and any other cost not specified in this document on their own.

Registration typeRegistration periodFee
Early bird registration15/11/2019 to 31/12/2019€ 340
Regular registration01/01/2020 to 02/03/2020€ 390
Codarts alumni15/11/2019 to 02/03/2020€ 290
Codarts current students15/11/2019 to 02/03/2020Free
Day-pass15/11/2019 to 02/03/2020€ 120
Listeners15/11/2019 to 02/03/2020€ 290


  • Ramiro Gallo, violinist, arranger, composer, ensemble leader
  • Hernán Possetti, pianist, arranger, composer, ensemble leader
  • Santiago Segret, bandoneonist, arranger, composer, ensemble leader


  • Gustavo Beytelmann, pianist, arranger, composer, ensemble leader (Tango Department)
  • Santiago Cimadevilla, bandoneonist, arranger, composer, ensemble leader
  • Stephen Meyer, violinist, arranger, ensemble leader (Tango Department)
  • Álvaro Rovira Ruiz, guitarist, arranger, ensemble leader, accompanist for singing lessons
  • Kay Sleking, guitarist, arranger, ensemble leader (Tango Department)
  • Bárbara Varassi Pega, pianist, arranger, composer, researcher, ensemble leader and organiser of the event
  • Leo Vervelde, bandoneonist, arranger, ensemble leader (Tango Department)
  • Wim Warman, pianist, arranger, composer, ensemble leader (Tango Department)

Special guests

  • Omar Mollo, singer, composer, guitarist
  • Víctor Villena (on April 2), bandoneonist and ensemble leader, bandoneon teacher at Institute de Musiques du monde (IIMM), Aubagne, France