Artist Profiles: Juan José Mosalini

Juan José Mosalini

Bandoneonist and master of the complex Argentine tango, maestro Juan José Mosalini was born in 1943 into a craftsman’s family who were passionate about music.

Juan Jose Mosalini started playing the bandoneon at the age of eight. Through his father’s influence, he absorbed the popular, traditional music of Argentina.
The young Mosalini was a professional musician by the time he was 17, after winning first prize in a competition “Nace una estrella” (A star is born) organized by Buenos Aires Television in 1961.

From 1962 to 1976, he composed, arranged, played and accompanied, working with the greatest orchestras and soloists in Argentina, including Astor Piazzolla, with whom he became close friend. During this period he founded the Guardia Nueva Quintet, which was to be one of the richest and must original experiences of the avant-garde tango phenomenon.

In 1977 he chose France as his new musical home, where he started to work with other Argentinean musicians. He formed the group Tiempo Argentino, which was received enthusiastically by the press. They completed several European tours and appeared at major Parisian venues, including the Palais des Arts and l’Olympia.

In 1978, in an innovative and experimental mode, Juan Jose Mosalini made a recording of solo bandoneon music. The recording (prefaced by Julio Codézar) revealed a musician in true dialogue with his instrument, delivering a blend of poetry and virtuosity. It was unanimously well reviewed and established Mosalini as a major artist.

In 1980, he founded a new ensemble, Canyengue, and then in 1982 the celebrated Mosalini-Beytelmann-Caratini Trio (bandoneon/piano/double bass), who went on to tour every continent, becoming particularly popular in the United States.

In 1983 Juan Jose Mosalini made a CD “Bordona” with the Trio, and in the following year he took part in the World Music Meeting in Baden-Baden as representative of Argentina, which also resulted in the recording of a CD.

Juan Jose Mosalini subsequently composed the music for a number of films, including “Double Face” and “Le Quatrième Pouvoir” by Serge Leroy, and two by director Stéphane Kurc: “Le Génie du faux” and “Un Coeur de marbre”, a four-part film for French television. At this time he also began to write a bandoneon method, commissioned by the French Minister of Culture.

1987 saw the release of “Imagenes” Trio’s second CD, on the “Label Bleu”, and in 1988 Juan Jose Mosalini started working on a Bandoneon Collection for music publishers Henry Lemoine. In 1989, he inaugurated the first European bandoneon course at the Gennevilliers Conservatory in Paris, where he has been teaching ever since.

With the flautist Enzo Gieco, and guitarist Atahualpa Yupanqui writing the libretto, he composed the cantata ‘La Parole Sacrée’, which had its first performance on June 21, 1989 at the Palais des Congrès in Nanterre, as part of the celebrations on the Bicentenary of the French Revolution.

In 1992 Juan Jose Mosalini started his Grand Orchestre de Tango, which has since appeared all over the world : Japan, USA (February 98, July 99 at the Hollywood Bowl), Sicily, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway ( several times from 1994 to 2000), Belgium, Canada (Montreal, Toronto), Greece (at the Megaron, Athens), Switzerland, Tunisia, and in France. He also released his second solo album, “Che Bandoneon”, and composed “Casi un Tango” (state commissioned).

In 1993 he toured Germany with the guitarist Roberto Aussel, and wrote compositions for tango orchestra and children’s choir with Enzo Gieco. In 1994 the Grand Orchestre de Tango released the CD ‘Bordoneo y 900″. Mosalini formed a quintet in the same year with the violinist Antonio Agri, and after Agri’s death, with his son Pablo Agri. The quintet appeared with great success in Japan, England and France.

His 1999 composition “Paris-Tango”, a choral poem on the words of Horacio Ferrer, in an arrangement by guitarist Leonardo Sénchez, had its debut with the Victoria Regional Choir under the baton of Michel Piquemal.

His passion for music in all its forms has brought him to work closely with classical musicians, leading to the discovery of a vast and perfectly adapted repertoire, particularly with string orchestra and symphony orchestra. Juan Jose Mosalini has played as soloist with the Enesco Quarter, the Orchestra de Picardie, the Orchestra National de Lille, the Orchestra National Bordeaux-Aquitaine, the Orchestra of Hong Kong, Spring Festival), the Bourgogne Camerata, the Orchestre de Radio-France, the Symphony Orchestra of Munich.

He recorded with Bass Normandie’s orchestra and the guitarist Leonardo Sanchez his own creation named “Outdoor and Urban Fantasies”.

At the ‘Buenos Aires Tango” Festival, Juan Jose Mosalini was awarded the Buenos Aires City Medal, in recognition of his work in the dissemination of Argentinean music throughout the world.

He recorded an album for the label Mañana, with the Strings Quartet Benaim named “Classic and Modern”, with Gustavo Beytelmann’s original compositions.

Discography

* Violento (Label Bleu Indigo, 1990)
* Che bandoneón (Label Bleu Indigo, 1992)
* Bordoneo y 900 (Label Bleu Indigo, 1994)
* One Man’s Tango: Best of Mosalini (Shanachie, 1998)
* Tango (Label Bleu Indigo, 2001)
* Imagenes (Acqua, 2008)
* Live Tango (Phantom Sound & Vision, 2008)
* Ciudad Triste (2009)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.

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