An intimate and fiery night of tango at the Kennedy Center

By: Apr. 22, 2024
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Tango is a universal language all on its own, and it’s own structure of storytelling. There’s something magical about witnessing the musicality and technique of tango, and it’s even more enchanting coming from the Pan American Symphony Orchestra (PASO), under the direction of Maestro Sergio Alessandro Buslje. On Saturday, April 20, 2024, PASO brought their program, Todo Tango, an intimate and fiery evening of tango to the Kennedy Centerr. 

Maestro Buslje opened the show with a dazzling performance of  “Danzarín” by Julián Plaza and ended with the robust  “La Cumparsita” by Gerardo Matos Rodriguez, one of the most famous tango songs. The program featured mainly male composers, but put a much-needed spotlight on a famous female Argentine-Uruguayan composer, Rosita Melo. Among the many songs, Melo’s composition, performed flawlessly by the orchestra, paired with the beautiful dancing of Guillermina and Mariano, stands out as one of the evening’s best tangos. A testimony that PASO should feature more women composers within their programming. 

It takes two to tango, but it takes a team of talented musicians and dancers to bring such a stirring tango program to life. The program featured iconic tango songs with and without dancers. The trio of bandoneón players within PASO are Javier Sanchez, Heyni Solera, and Pablo Jaurena. No matter what song they played — Sanchez, Solera, and Jaurena carried the show with their invigorating rhythmic timing. Solera’s beautiful solo on “Paris Otoñal” is unforgettable. It was delightful to see  the Pan American Symphony Orchestra highlight Pablo’s own composition, “Borravino,” and watch him play a stirring solo. Holly Nelson made an excellent debut as PASO’s concert master. Nelson creates a vibrant ambience with her violin every time she takes on a solo. Bassist Pete Ostle and Pianist Sean Mahon add layers of hypnotic pulsing staccato, which elevates the fierceness of the tango. The audience’s favorite tangos include Carolina Jaurena and Andres Bravo’s flirty dance to the song, “El irresistible,” fiery “Tierra querida” featuring Adriana Salgado and Orlando Reyes, and a dramatic “Este el rey,” showcasing the talents of Guillermina Quiroga and Mariano Logiudice.

Pan American Symphony Orchestra’s tango programming is beautifully done. Whether you are a long-time tango fan, or someone who is just learning about tango, you don’t want to miss out on what PASO has to offer

Running Time: 100 minutes with an intermission

PASO’s Todo Tango was at the Kennedy Center on Saturday, April 20, 2024. PASO’s next concert at the Kennedy Center is Passion and Fire: The Music of Spain on June 15, 2024. For more information about their upcoming concerts, visit PASO’s website.

Photo courtesy of the Kennedy Center


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