Tango Oz

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Led by violinist and bandoneónista Maggie Ferguson, TangoOz is Australia’s first genuine tango orchestra and an associate of La Orquesta Escuela de Tango Emilio Balcarce in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s national school of orchestral tango, and Conservatorium High School in Sydney. TangoOz students study in a chamber tango ensemble led by Maggie Ferguson on bandoneón, using original composers’ arrangements from Tangovia.org in Buenos Aires. TangoOz regularly perform at concerts and festivals in Sydney. Many TangoOz alumni have formed their own ensembles and are playing regular concerts and gigs for the Sydney and Canberra communities.

In 2018, positions are open for violin, viola, cello, double bass, winds, piano and bandoneón. Rehearsals are held on Mondays from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at the Conservatorium of Music in Sydney. There will be performance opportunities throughout 2018, including concerts at the Conservatorium of Music on Friday 8 June and Friday 30 November, at Camelot Lounge Marrickville on Sunday 30 September, and at Club Uruguayo on Saturday 17 November. A special ‘10 Years of Tango’ concert for all TangoOz current members and alumni is planned for March 2019.

TangoOz is an open-access training orchestra provided to tertiary (a nominal fee applies) and secondary students with the support of Conservatorium High School and the NSW Department of Education. TangoOz was created in 2009 by Maggie Ferguson in conjunction with Sydney Youth Orchestras (SYO).

TangoOz were the focus of Sydney’s first International Tango Escuela held in collaboration with Conservatorium High School in July 2009 under the guest direction of Ignacio Varchausky and Santiago Polimeni. The orchestra performs regularly in concert at the Conservatorium of Music in Sydney, and has played at the Australian Tango Championships, the Barrenjoey Festival, the Moorambilla Festival for New Australian Music, The Everglades Retro Festival, the Aroma Festival 2011 & 2012, Sydney Foreshore Harbour Authority’s Santa Fest, The Royal Botanic Gardens Autumn Vibes Festival and as special guests at consular events and tango milongas throughout Sydney. In July 2016, TangoOz traveled to Buenos Aires and Montevideo for orchestral and sectional tuition with leading tango musicians, as well as to attend rehearsals and access the resources of the Orquesta Escuela De Tango Emilio Balcarce, directed by Víctor Lavallén. This Emerging Artist Skills Development Project also involved several performances and masterclasses, as well as a live radio broadcast and an EP recording (see below).

For young musicians, being part TangoOz opens up the world of Argentine tango. TangoOz is a unique opportunity for gifted students to learn about tango culture and to study and perform from original scores in an inspiring, lively, chamber ensemble under the leadership of Maggie and her Argentine colleagues. By learning the art of the tango solo within the orchestra, students are encouraged to express themselves in an individual way by use of rubato, while not sacrificing traditional classical values of intonation (tuning), rhythm and ensemble tutti playing. Stage preparation and manners are emphasised to prepare students for confident performance – while remaining a cohesive ensemble, they may display individual touches in their stage outfits.

Watch more performances of TangoOz here including the 5 Years of Tango concert.

Future Students: 2018 Audition Application.

Current Students: 2018 Absence Form.

Repertoire in 2018 includes:

Adios Nonino (Astor Piazzolla); A Fuego Lento (Horacio Salgán); A La Gran Muñeca (Ventura Oses, arr. Carlos Di Sarli); Chiqué (Ricardo Brignolo, arr. Astor Piazzolla); Decarissimo (Astor Piazzolla); El Choclo (Ángel Villoldo, arr. Carlos Di Sarli); Febril (Eduardo Rovira); Gallo Ciego (Agustin Bardi, arr. Horacio Salgán); La Llamo Silbando (Horacio Salgán); Melancólico (Julián Plaza); Meridional (Víctor Lavallén); Michelangelo 70 (Astor Piazzolla); Milonga de mis Amores (Pedro Laurenz); Mi Refugio (Carlos Cobian, arr. Carlos Di Sarli); Nostálgico (Julián Plaza); Patético (Jorge Caldara); Recuerdo (Osvaldo Pugliese); Responso (Aníbal Troilo); Resureccion Del Angel (Astor Piazzolla); Si Sos Brujo (Emilio Balcarce); Triunfal (Astor Piazzolla); Vardarito (Astor Piazzolla); Villeguita (Astor Piazzolla).

 

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TangoOz 2016 performed their final concert for the year on 10 December in Verbrugghen Hall, Conservatorium of Music. This concert (below) was filmed by Mark Robinson.

In July 2016, twenty young Australian musicians, students of the violin and bandoneón tango teacher Maggie Ferguson, travelled to Buenos Aires for an intensive, immersive tango experience. This was by invitation of Ignacio Varchausky, double bassist for Orquesta El Arranque, 2009 Latin Grammy Award winning producer, and founder of La Orquesta Escuela de Tango Emilio Balcarce, with whose tutors and musicians TangoOz studied, under the direction of legendary bandoneón player Maestro Víctor Lavallén.

TangoOz played in some of the city’s finest venues, including a reception at the Australian Embassy Residence in Buenos Aires, a milonga at the famous La Viruta to a standing ovation and a live midnight performance on BA’s tango radio station La2x4 FM. Upon returning, this core group of musicians performed at venues across Sydney including The Basement in August 2016 and the Conservatorium of Music in December 2016, as well as on board the Queen Elizabeth 2 ocean liner in February 2017 as the Australian Tango Academy orchestra of SYO. Other engagements in 2017 included performances at the NSW Art Gallery in August and at City Recital Hall in October.

The EP Maggie Ferguson & TangoOz Buenos Aires was recorded in the Estudio Doctor F. and was produced by Ignacio Varchsuasky, to whom TangoOz extends its warmest thanks. It is a testament to the far-reaching power of tango and the value of cultural exchange. It is available by email from Thomas McCorquodale (mccortom@gmail.com) or through the Contact page on this website.

1. Danzarín (Julián Plaza) [04:13]

2. Don Agustín Bardi (Horacio Salgán) [03:16]

3. Milonguero Viejo (Carlos Di Sarli) [02:57]

4. Mistonguero (Victor Lavallén) [03:10]

Bandoneon: Maggie Ferguson; Paula Tennent.
Piano: Thomas McCorquodale (Tracks 1 & 3); Katie Robinson (Tracks 2 & 4).
Double Bass: Jess Brown (Tracks 2 & 4); Emily Green (Tracks 1 & 3).
Violin: Olivia Bandler-Llewellyn; Olivia Bonnano; Jacqui Carias; Savvena Christoforou; Miriam Greenbaum; Lisa Guo; Cleo Ha; Naomi Jones; Emma Scolaro; Ella Soussa.
Flute: Elizabeth Cheung; Clara Pitt; Jessie Slater.
Clarinet: Natasha Effendy.
Saxophone: Jack Peggie.

 

In October 2017, the TangoOz 2016 tour orchestra reunited at Camelot Lounge Marrickville for one last tango and the official launch of their EP.

A4 Poster (600dpi)

Please read more below from Liz Cheung about TangoOz’ tour to Argentina and Uruguay. All photos by Mark Robinson.

TangoOz 2016 with Víctor Lavallén and tutors of La Orquesta Escuela de Tango Emilio Balcarce at Café Vinilo, July 2016.

TangoOz 2016 with Víctor Lavallén and tutors of La Orquesta Escuela de Tango Emilio Balcarce at Café Vinilo, July 2016.

Orquesta Escuela de Tango Emilio Balcarce 2014 at Cafe Vinilo

Orquesta Escuela de Tango Emilio Balcarce 2014 at Cafe Vinilo

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I’m looking for young musicians with style, initiative, a strong presence, a secure technique and a love of expressing themselves through music. All strings, clarinet, flute and piano are welcome to audition.

Candidates should show by their performance of the excerpts that they have researched the style of tango. Ref: TangoMusicAustralia. All articulation and other markings should be observed. You are also asked to research some tango facts or anecdotes and be able to discuss them. I will also hear a short piece of your choice and there will be a sight reading passage.

If successful you will have a chance to learn authentic Argentine tango performance techniques from Buenos Aires and to bond within a unique chamber ensemble which focuses on individuals exploring their expressive potential and thereby contributing to the collective sound of the group.

Violins, bandoneons and winds will be given the chance to play tango solos made famous by the Argentine maestros, using original scores made available by TangoVia.org and The Escuela De Tango Emilio Balcarce. Performance opportunities for TangoOz are at family concerts, special events in the community and at outdoor festivals.

If you think you have what it takes to be part of this exciting group, I look forward to meeting you and hearing you play.

Maggie Ferguson
Director, TangoOz

Testimonial: Maggie Ferguson Tango Workshop, Orange Regional Conservatorium, Saturday 28 February 2015

The Orange Regional Conservatorium was delighted to host Maggie Ferguson, conducting workshops and masterclasses recently.

Maggie was absolutely wonderful with our students, bringing the best out of their performances and taking them to another level in terms of working with music from another genre and exploring unusual performance techniques.

Her gentle nature, depth of experience and professional approach were appreciated by the instrumental students from the Orange Youth Orchestra and wider community.

Her energy and passion for the Tango have left a lasting impression on both students and staff and we look forward to her return to build on what was begun.

Donna Riles
Music Director, Orange Regional Conservatorium