TangoAustralia and Angelina's Tango Blog

Musician Emilio Balcarce seated with his bandoneón

Buenos Aires school for tango musicians

For more than 20 years there has been a school for tango musicians in Buenos Aires, which bears the name of Emilio Balcarce. Born in 1918 in Buenos Aires, Balcarce, whose birth name was Sitano, was first a violinist. Later he became known as a baneonist, conductor, composer and arranger. 
In his early twenties he formed his own tango orchestra, but left to play with Edgardo Donato.  By 1948 at the age of 30 he was arranging for many of the top orchestras including those of Anibal Troilo and Alfredo Gobbi.
In 1949 he joined Osvaldo Pugliese’s orchestra where he stayed for almost 20 years. It was here wrote his compositions including ‘Pasional’ and ‘Adios Nonino’. Until he retired in the 1970’s he performed with many well-known tango musicians around the world.
In 2000 Ignacio Varchausky created the Emilio Balcarce Tango School Orchestra with Balcarce as the Director. In 2005  he featured in  a documentary about the orchestra titled ‘Sis Sos Brujo’ and in 2008 worked with Alberto Podesta and Mariono Mores on the ‘Cafe de los Maestros’ which is also available as a video. 
During his life he received many awards. He died in 2011 at the age of 92.

By 2023 more than 300 musicians had studied with the Emilio Balcarce orchestra. In the same year, the Emilio Balcarce School Orchestra was recognised by the General Directorate of Artistic Education in Buenos Aires. This means that the orchestra is now recognised as a teaching institution and the teachers will have improved working conditions. 
In an interview, Ignacio Varchausky expressed his relief that the orchestra had attained this status and his pleasure that the hard work of the teachers and musicians over the years had at last been recognised.