Tango Oz 2018


Led by violinist and bandoneonista 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 the Conservatorium High School in Sydney. TangoOz students study within a chamber tango ensemble from original composers’ arrangements from Tangovia.org in Buenos Aires. TangoOz regularly perform at concerts and festivals in Sydney.

Auditions for 2018 will be held on Monday February 12th and 19th at Sydney Conservatorium High School in room 1132.

NB: Due to the number of applicants, auditions will be extended to include Monday February 26th.

TangoOz 2016

TangoOz 2016

Positions are open for violin, viola, cello, double bass, winds, piano (now closed) and bandoneón. Rehearsals are held on Mondays from 5pm to 7pm at Sydney Conservatorium of Music. There will be performance opportunities throughout 2018 including concerts on Friday June 8th and a special ‘10 Years of Tango’ concert on Friday November 30th for all TangoOz current members and alumni.

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. 

 Repertoire in 2018 includes: 

Adios Nonino – Astor Piazzolla,  A Fuego Lento – Horacio Salgan, Chique – Ricardo Brignolo, Decarissimo – Astor Piazzolla, Febril – Eduardo Rovira, Gallo Ciego – Agustin Bardi, La Llamo Silbando – Horacio Salgan, Melancolico – Julian Plaza, Meridional – Victor Lavallen, Milonga de mis Amores – Pedro Laurenz, Mi Refugio – Carlos Cobian, Patético – Jorge caldarra/Alberto Caracciolo, Recuerdo – Osvaldo Pugliese, Responso – Anibal Troilo, Resureccion Del Angel – Astor Piazzolla, Si  Sos Brujo – Emilio Balcarce, Triunfal – Astor Piazzolla, Vardarito – Astor Piazzolla, Villeguita – Astor Piazzolla

TangoOz  2016 performed its final concert for the year on December 10th in the Verbrugghen Hall, The Conservatorium of Music, Sydney. This concert (below) is filmed by Mark Robinson

The EP ‘Maggie Ferguson & TangoOz Buenos Aires’ is available by email from Thomas McCorquodale mccortom@gmail.com or here http://www.maggiefergusontango.com/contact/

TangoOz 2016 EP

 Please read below about TangoOz’ tour to Argentina and Uruguay
All photos by Mark Robinson
La Viruta MilongaLast rehearsal Cafe Vinilo with Victor Lavallen
 TangoOz Tour June-July 2016 by TangoOz flautist, Liz Cheung
It’s not every day – nor every year – that we tour internationally with our youth tango orchestra, so when this Maggie-nificent opportunity arose for SYO’s TangoOz, twenty or so talented young musicians (including four alumni), along with Casey and a few parents, leapt to take on the Australia-Argentina Emerging Artist Skills Development Project in Buenos Aires and Montevideo.
Led by violin and bandoneon tango extraordinaire Maggie Ferguson, TangoOz brought bandoneon players, pianists, double basses, violins, flutes, a clarinet, and a saxophone to South America. From making new friends and visiting spectacular sites to refining our tango style, every one of us had much to learn and gain from the unforgettable fortnight.
After settling into an entirely new continent (thirteen-hour time zone difference to Sydney!), we were caught in a whirlwind of rehearsals and performances, concerts and rehearsal observations. And what an honour it was to sit in Orquesta Escuela de Tango’s rehearsal home Café Vinilo to watch and listen to them play under Maestro Victor Lavallen’s directorial excellence!
Sectionals at La Casa del Tango with our tutors – esteemed members and associates of the Orquesta Escuela – taught us new techniques and reinforced old ones – most notably the “arrastre” (a dragging motion) and “syncope” (similar but displaced stress), percussive sound from string and wind instruments through different articulations, and “fraseado” (a pushing-pulling type of expressive phrasing).
“An incredibly memorable and immersive experience!” writes TangoOz pianist, Thomas McCorquodale. “Buenos Aires and its people opened so many of their doors for us, and in return we had the opportunity to learn from their maestros, with their tutors, in some of their finest performance venues, recording studios and radio stations! It was as if we were locals of the city and members of the Escuela de Tango! “Without doubt our second home as an ensemble, one just as close to our hearts as Sydney. #phatmilonga #trendytangueros [sic]” McCorquodale continues.
Musical highlights of the tour included a soiree at the Australian Embassy in Buenos Aires, a milonga night at La Viruta where we performed a set and learnt some tango dance steps, and were praised with a very humbling standing ovation on our departure; a lengthy recording session for our very own EP, followed by a live radio broadcast at midnight; playing the tango “Mistonguero” written by the Maestro with the Maestro; and our last performance, a concert in the Canelones Theatre in Montevideo – where we were unfortunately missing several key players including our conductor due to sickness – but were applauded with yet another (double!) standing ovation. A few of us were so inspired that we want to return to Buenos Aires to take our tango studies further.
 A colossal thank you to Maggie, Casey, parents, Steve, the Uruguayan Club in Sydney, Ignacio, our tutors both at home and overseas, and our tour guides, (and also everybody else who has helped us with generous support) for their combined efforts to make the tour such an enjoyable experience, and of course, Air New Zealand for taking us under their wing with their tour sponsorship – none of this would have been possible without everyone involved!! We must also extend a special mention to Naomi (violin, current member) and Jacqui (violin, alumna) for their prolific patience in helping to communicate and translate from English to Spanish and vice versa.
Ella Soussa, Victor Lavallen, Cleo Ha

Orquesta Escuela de Tango Emilio Balcarce 2014 at Cafe Vinilo

Orquesta Escuela de Tango Emilio Balcarce 2014 at Cafe Vinilo


Maggie Ferguson and ConTangoOz

Libertango Instrumental – TangoOz and ConTango

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 was created in 2009  by Maggie Ferguson in conjunction with Sydney Youth Orchestras (SYO). For young musicians, being part TangoOz opens up the world of Argentine tango.

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, Sydney and has played at the Australian Tango Championships, the Barrenjoey Festival, the MoorambillaFestival 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.

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. In addition the students are required to prepare notes on the tangos to be played and present them in a short speech to the audience.

Many graduates of TangoOz have formed their own ensembles and are playing regular concerts and gigs for the Sydney and Canberra communities.

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


 Testimonial – Maggie Ferguson Tango Workshop, Orange Regional Conservatorium, Saturday 28th February 2015
Orange Con quintet
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