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Composer Pablo Ziegler to play at Mondavi Friday

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Composer, arranger and pianist Pablo Ziegler will bring his "Beyond Tango" arrangements of jazz tunes infused with tango rhythms to the Mondavi Center at UC Davis Friday night.

He is a 2005 Latin Grammy Award winner for “Bajo Cero,” which won Best Tango Album of the Year.

Ziegler was born in Buenos Aires and said he worked with the piano first.

“I started at the age of 5,” he said.

He studied at the Buenos Aires Music Conservatory and graduated as a piano professor and said that he has been playing jazz music since he was 15.

In 1978, Ziegler joined Astor Piazzolla’s quintet and toured with the Argentine composer. Piazzolla is famous for his tango music and bandoneón playing and introduced jazz skills into Ziegler’s music.

According to Ziegler, working with Piazzolla helped with his success.

“That guy changed my mind,” Ziegler said. “I started to compose my own music. My career with Piazzolla (opened a) new market (musically).”

Ziegler has toured all over the United States, most recently at Carnegie Hall, UCLA and the San Francisco Jazz Festival. He also tours internationally and has done more than 15 European tours.

“(I have been) arranging music for a lot of people,” Ziegler said. “It’s made me happy, too.”

Ziegler created the “Beyond Tango” program for the Miami International Piano Festival in 2009.

At his Mondavi performance, there will be works from two pianos with the progression of a chamber trio, quartet and quintet within the first half. After intermission, the two pianos will continue with a chamber progression and finish with a chamber ensemble.

A number of artists will be joining Ziegler, including Ivan Barenboim (clarinet), Lynn Bechtold (violin II), Julio Botti (flute), Edward Burns (bassoon), Misha Dacić (piano), Hector Del Curto (bandoneón), Pedro Giraudo (double bass), Jisoo Ok (cello), Machiko Ozawa (violin I), Franco Pinna (drums) and Edmundo Ramirez (viola).

“It’s going to be a great arrangement,” Ziegler said. “I’m very happy to play at Mondavi. I hope they enjoy my concert.”

What does Ziegler think about modern classical music?

“I think that (the) classical music environment is changing a lot.” Ziegler said. “They are open to new repertoire. They are open because they are losing audiences. A lot of ensembles are looking for new music to get new audiences.”

According to Ziegler, he continues to push his talent every day by “learning from students (from) time to time.”

“I try to learn each day new things,” Ziegler said. “Each day is a challenge to make something new. I’m always looking for new ideas and new sounds.”

The performance starts at 8 p.m.

You can buy tickets online here. Tickets for regular seating range from $25 to $49. There is a subscriber add-on option with regular tickets ranging from $21 to $42. Tickets for students range from $12.50 to $24.50.

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