15 Nov 2018

Bravo Ensemble and pianist Joel Tortul celebrate the music of Argentina

From Upbeat, 1:30 pm on 15 November 2018
Bravo Ensemble: Alexander Gunchenko (Double Bass) Joel Tortul  (keyboard)

Bravo Ensemble: Alexander Gunchenko (Double Bass) Joel Tortul (keyboard) Photo: Elliott Childs

Wellington’s long running tango group Bravo Ensemble and special guest Joel Tortul from Argentina give a concert tonight at St. Mary of the Angels in Wellington.

Joel is an internationally acclaimed performer who specialises in Tango and Argentinian Folklore as well as his own compositions. He comes to New Zealand after a two month tour of Europe, inspired to visit because his sister has moved to Wellington.  

He will play his own arrangements of traditional tango, Argentinian folk alongside his original compositions, some on solo piano and others like Piazzolla’s Four Seasons arranged for Bravo’s String quintet and piano.

Pianist Joel Tortul, one of Argentina's top solo pianists

Pianist Joel Tortul, one of Argentina's top solo pianists Photo: Elliott Childs

It's not the first time Bravo Ensemble have had the chance to play tango with a pianist from Argentina: in 2014 they were invited to collaborate with non other than Pablo Ziegler at the Wellington Jazz Festival.  Ziegler had been Piazzolla’s pianist in his last years.

Tango represents artistic freedom for the Bravo players who are all orchestral players in their day jobs. Violinist Kristina Zelinska, bass player Alexander Gunchenko and violist Belinda Veitch are all members of the NZSO while cellist Brenton Veitch and violinist Slava Fainitski are players in Orchestra Wellington. 

Violinist Kristina Zelinska

Violinist Kristina Zelinska Photo: Elliott Childs

Joel Tortul comes from Fuentes which is close to Rosario, the largest city in the central region of Argentina. He is one of the country's most prominent solo pianists of recent years.

Joel says most people don't realise that tango is just one of many folk music styles played in Argentina.  It's become more well-known because it's associated with Buenos Aires the largest city. But there is also Chamame from the North, samba, chacarera and other styles. He likes to play and compose in many different rhythms.

Bravo bassist Alexander Gunchenko says Joel’s arrangements  of Piazzolla classics are so detailed and precise it makes playing them inspirational for the Ensemble.

Their concert “Noche Argentina de la Tradicional y Original” is Thursday 15th November at St Mary of the Angels in Wellington at 7.30.