October 4th, 2023

Infobae. Horacio Lavandera: “Piazzolla has an organic connection with Vivaldi and Bach” Teatro Coliseo, November 11, 2023 at 9 p.m.

Infobae Cultura spoke with the Argentine musician, who will perform on November 11 at the Teatro Coliseo with his show “Solo Piano night”, where he will perform these composers

By Diego Marinelli

Lavandera se presenta el 11 de noviembre en el Teatro Coliseo con “Una noche con piano solo” (Foto: Maximiliano Luna)

Lavandera will perform on November 11 at the Teatro Coliseo with “Solo piano night” (Photo: Maximiliano Luna)

“During the COVID19 I experienced a very intense bond with social media and I found myself playing songs by Rage Against the Machine, Queen or Luis Miguel at people’s request,” Horacio Lavandera says – with amusement. The former “child prodigy” of Argentine classical music is sitting in front of the Steinway that crowns the stage of the Beethoven Foundation, where he gave a masterclass for musicians and students. The “pandemic” anecdote that opens the talk with Infobae Cultura perfectly illustrates the character of this artist capable of moving and being moved with popular genres such as tango, rock and folklore without losing an atom of technical excellence and character that have made him a globally recognized piano master.

In the middle of a tour that will take him through England, Germany and the United States – none other than Carnegie Hall in New York –, Lavandera will perform before his audience (“playing in Buenos Aires is always something different”) on November 11 at the Teatro Coliseo. For the event he made a selection of well-known and virtuoso pieces by Bach, Beethoven and Mendelssohn, complemented by works by Astor Piazzolla that dialogue in a very particular way with German composers, especially with Bach.

—Let’s start talking about what is going to happen on November 11 at the Teatro Coliseo, and then we will go into some other fields…

—Perfect, come on. On November 11, at the Coliseo, I am going to present a concert that is the exact program that I am going to give on October 13 in Leipzig, Germany. We call it “A Night with Solo Piano” and it will be a repertoire with a lot of music by German composers – Bach, Beethoven and Mendelssohn – as well as several pieces by Astor Piazzolla, an artist for whom the German public feels a very particular passion. The proposal to present it here in Buenos Aires also came from the producers Sebastián Celoria and Patricio Rodríguez, who expressed great interest in having it in Buenos Aires just like what I am doing in Germany, and for me it is a great joy.

—On this tour you will also perform in legendary venues such as Carnegie Hall in New York. Does playing in Buenos Aires give you a special vibe?

-Absolutely. It is the city in which I was born and every encounter with the Buenos Aires public provokes enormous emotion to me. Furthermore, the level of pianos in practically all places is excellent, something that did not happen 10 or 15 years ago. That is something fabulous that is not only evident in Buenos Aires but in many cities in the country. In recent years it seems that the theaters have been renovated, modernizing the facilities and incorporating new pianos, which has turned Argentina into a very special and very beautiful place to perform piano concerts. I think, for example, of the Mitre Teatro in Jujuy – which is impeccable -, in the Guido Miranda in Resistencia, in the Primero de Mayo Teatro in Santa Fe… Places that perhaps many Buenos Aires residents have no idea about but that today have a level soaring.

Lavandera interpretará una selección de Bach, Beethoven y Mendelssohn, complementadas por obras de Astor Piazzolla (Foto: Maximiliano Luna)

Lavandera will perform a selection of Bach, Beethoven and Mendelssohn, complemented by works by Astor Piazzolla (Photo: Maximiliano Luna

—You just mentioned the passion that there is in Germany for Piazzolla, where do you think the key to that connection is?

—It is something that happens throughout Europe and also in the United States. Piazzolla is without a doubt our greatest representative, a key figure, as a composer and as a bandoneonist. For me it is very natural to include it in my concerts in Europe, they ask me for it all the time. And in this particular concert I was very worried that he was there because Astor worked a lot on the same elaborations as Vivaldi. And, since the work by Johann Sebastian Bach that I am going to play is a tribute to Vivaldi, I observed that everything connected in a very organic way. In fact, in “Invierno porteño” there is a quote from Vivaldi (he turns around and plays the variation on the Auditorium’s magnificent Steinway piano).

—How do you see the state of classical music today in Argentina? How is it similar and how is it different from the times in which you started?

—I think there is growth, a very great interest from non-traditional audiences. But also that it is very different from what it was when I started: there are fewer possibilities for what is strictly classical music, fewer competitions and orchestras are not being created as they could be created… But, well, I understand that for the latter a strong public investment is necessary, since you cannot think of an orchestra of 120 musicians only from the private side, and it is complex. When I was 13 years old, perhaps there weren’t as good instruments as there are now, but there were more rooms and more specific audiences. But, on the other hand, there is a compensation based on the connection that exists between young people with the music of video games and movies. Now there is a demand from the public to listen to shows where orchestras participate, which positively impacts the possibilities of musicians who dedicate themselves to perfecting themselves within what classical aesthetics is. There are many new works that did not exist before and that is very good, but there would be a need for more connection from the most traditional classical music to new audiences. I think that this will come almost naturally, since a person who lives the experience of listening to an orchestra that is performing the music of Star Wars, from there going on to listen to Stravinsky or Beethoven is much easier.

—It’s not unusual to see you share musical experiences with artists from other genres. Are genres like rock or folklore part of your daily musicality?

—I’m not one to listen to rock occasionally, but I do enjoy it wherever I go and find a song by Los Piojos, by Charly, by Fito… What is very clear to me is that in Argentina there is an impressive artistic level , there are a lot of artists who are brilliant in all genres. I recently went to see the bandoneon player Milagros Caliva and the pianist Noelia Sinkunas, who make music that I don’t even know how to define, a fusion between folklore, tango and fascinating pop. I think that young people are already very open to mixing all the elements of rock with popular music. In some way, it is something that Charly García always tried to do: not to stay doing Anglo rock, but to see how all this can be given a spin from Argentina. Look, it’s not that I want to speak from a specialist position, because I’m not one, but I can tell you that it’s something I see all over the world, that drive of young artists to break down borders. There is no longer such a pure rock, nor such a pure popular music, but this search of wanting to do very new things. That each one has their own sound and seeks to give their contribution to something very traditional, but always crossed by something new. It is very interesting and stimulates me a lot as an artist as well.

(Maximiliano Luna)

Maximiliano Luna

—Do you also see this openness within classical music?

—What happens with classical music is that, after the Second World War, a kind of labeling of musical styles was activated very strongly, which established very iron limits. But let’s think that Beethoven played many of the pieces that I am going to perform at the Coliseo at the Vienna carnivals when he was young. They paid him to entertain the people who went to the carnival and he might get drunk afterwards and join the party. It was not exactly the context that his music had later. From my point of view, for performers of my generation – or even younger – the most interesting thing is to open the game, letting themselves be influenced by other artists and audiences, researching, living and sharing music from various sectors.

—The last one, how did you experience throughout your career the influence of Daniel Barenboim and Martha Argerich, two piano myths also born in Argentina?

—They come from a very particular tradition of a very particular Argentina, which benefited greatly from the musical talent that took refuge in our country due to the Second World War. Barenboim began his training here but at a very young age he settled with his family in Israel, where he became not only a reference for culture but also for political debate. Martha Argerich, for her part, is also the product of that special Argentina of the mid-20th century, and her family had the urge to take her to Europe when she was very young, where she won the Chopin competition in such a masterful way that she became a universal milestone for the history of the piano. Both Daniel and Martha are unavoidable figures for me, incredible musicians with an extraordinary ability to present their concerts… lives of incredible intensity, full of stories and conflicts. Both are characters who are already inscribed in the history of music and as performers they have some of the most incredible versions of certain works that have ever been heard.

Although in my family there was tremendous admiration for both and I grew up having them as references, when I started my career Argentina and its classical music scene was very different from that of those years. I come from a family of Spanish merchants and the path I ended up taking was through different aspects, which had to do with a different era for classical musicians and which made me, for example, think of myself not only as a performer but also as a composer . I feel like for me and my generation it’s like there was more room for exploration and creativity, beyond interpretation. I don’t think I chose it either, it just happened that way.