ZAK ROWNTREE won a scholarship to study at the prestigious Chethams School of Music (UK). He read Music at the University of York, where he led the orchestra before entering the Royal Northern College of Music on their Post-Graduate Advanced Studies in Performance course. During his time in Manchester, Zak began freelancing with several orchestras, including the English Northern Philharmonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Opera North, and recorded with the Brunel Ensemble. In 1997 Zak took up a position with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician, he has appeared several times on ABC Classic FM, including the Sunday Live programme and was invited to participate in the 2003 Perth Intenational Chamber Music Festival.
The Argentinian tango - like jazz - began life in pubs and brothels. Originally associated with pimps and prostitutes, its late nineteenth-century childhood was in the slums of Buenos Aires, championed by Spanish and Italian immigrants. As with American jazz, the tango had to leave home and cause a sensation in Europe before being recognised as its homeland’s most important musical tradition.
Born in Argentina in 1921, but growing up in New York, Astor Piazzolla learnt to play the bandoneòn (a German button-accordion) and had played with the most famous tango singer of his day, Carlos Gardel, before reaching his teens.
Piazzolla studied with Alberto Ginastera and then in Paris with Nadia Boulanger, the resulting combination of tango, classical and jazz styles began Astor’s revolution. Tango nuevo (new tango) was born. Piazzolla’s music caused outrage amongst many in Argentina - to the point of being interrupted during a radio interview by a pistol put to his head. However, irate singers and death threats failed to stifle his creative output….