Bertram Levy, who is is one of the few accomplished bandoneonistas in North America, will give a special tango fiddle performance at the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes on Saturday, July 7, at 1:30 pm. Although the bandoneon (pictured lower right) is relatively unknown in the United States, the instrument is the emblematic voice of the Argentinian tango. In 1989, Bertram Levy first heard the instrument played live by Astor Piazzolla. He was so moved by Piazzolla’s music that he abandoned all his other musical endeavors to pursue it.
At that time, Bertram was in his late forties and had achieved an international reputation as a banjo and concertina virtuoso. He had been featured on more than a dozen albums and was chosen as banjo player of the year by Frets magazine. He has also been highlighted in several broadcasts of Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion. In addition, he created and directed what is perhaps the most prestigious instrumental folk music festival in the United States: the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes.
In 1991, Bertram began his bandoneon studies with Miguel Varvello in Buenos Aires and continued in Paris with Cesar Strocio. He founded the Tangoheart Sextet in 1999 to introduce Pacific Northwest audiences to authentic Argentinian tango. In 2005, he moved to Buenos Aires to study classical bandoneon at the Conservatorio Manuel de Falla with Rodolfo Daluisio and orchestration with Gabriel Senanes. He currently lives both in Washington state and in Buenos Aires, where he continues his studies with Daluisio.
Tickets to the Saturday, July 7 show, which will also feature National Heritage Fellow Paul Dahlin, southern banjo player Randy Wilson, cowboy music from Paul Anastasio and Doc Denning, southern fiddle from Jesse Wells, and Quebecois tunes from Denis Maheux and Sans Ages, are available by following this link or by calling Centrum at 360.385.3102, x117.