The Bandoneonist Joaquín Amenabar

A Biography

A leading exponent of the bandoneon, Joaquin Amenabar is a strong advocate for the instrument, not only as the musical heart and soul of the tango orchestra, but also as a concert instrument in its own right. He is one of today's few living masters of the bandoneon who is equally adept at playing baroque, classical, romantic and contemporary music as well as tango and folkloric music, for which the instrument is better known.

Joaquin Amenabar studied bandoneon with Rodolfo Daluisio at the Manuel de Falla Municipal Conservatory 1 in Buenos Aires, where he today holds an assistant professorship. Currently a professor of bandoneon at the School of Popular Music of Avellaneda 2 in Buenos Aires, Amenabar has performed an extensive and varied repertoire in solo concerts. He has participated in numerous European festivals, including those of Concarneau, Ruffec, Chalus, Soyaux and Confolens in France, and Tarcento and Goritizia in Italy. During the 2000 season, he made his North American debut in the opening night concert of Chicago's Ravinia Festival, an homage to J.S. Bach. His performance was praised by the Chicago Sun-Times for a profound richness and depth.

As the only pupil to be taught by the noted German tuner Jorge Weckesser in Argentina, Amenabar has achieved an unusual mastery of the instrument, including its tuning and repair as well as performance. Dedicated to propagating an appreciation of the bandoneon, he has given numerous seminars on its use for composers and instrumentalists and taught courses on tango's musical form, history and evolution to both dancers and tango aficionados. In addition to teaching master classes for performers, he has made numerous transcriptions for the instrument in both solo and chamber music settings. He has also devoted himself to promoting native Argentine music, but always includes tango music in his concerts.

Equally respected as a performer, teacher, lecturer, instrument technician and tuner, Amenabar is indeed a master of our time. He is also a gifted composer and arranger who is currently engaged in reviving authentic tango performance practice by reconstructing long-lost scores that were played by tango orchestras in the early 20th century and then conducting his own orquesta típica in those works. The page Joaquín Amenábar y su Orquesta Típica De La Guardia Vieja gives sound examples of his orchestra.

Joaquín Amenabar may be contacted by

Director, Marketing
and Public Relations
Ravinia Festival, Christoph Eschenbach, Music Director
Summer Home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Highland Park, Illinois


... Conservatory1
Conservatorio Manuel de Falla
Sarmiento 1551, C. C. San Martín.
Buenos Aires, phone (+54 11) 4371-8786
... Avellaneda2
Escuela de Música Popular de Avellaneda
Italia 36 - Avellaneda
Provincia de Buenos Aires
phone (+54 11) 4222-6781