About Tangoheart Quintet
Since 1999, Tangoheart Quintet has been the premier tango ensemble in the Pacific Northwest. The quintet is an authentic classic orquesta typica with piano, contrabajo, string section, and the bandoneon, the Argentine instrument with its emblematic tango sound. The group is led by Port Townsend’s Bertram Levy, who has spent the last quarter century immersed in the Argentine tango. Since 2005, he has spent much of his time studying the bandoneon in Buenos Aires where he studies at the Conservatorio Manuel de Falla with the great Rodolfo Daluisio, and from where he brings back fresh material for the group. The group’s driving bass lines belong to jazz arranger, performer and longtime tanguero Andy Carr on the piano and the great Todd Gowers, Seattle’s bassist for all seasons. The string section includes world music specialist Ruthie Dornfeld on violin and long time Seattle Symphony assistant principal violist, Dorothy Shapiro, on viola.
Bertram Levy - Bandoneon & MUSICAL DIRECTOR
is one of the few accomplished bandoneonistas in North America. 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 the bandoneon. 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 including the Smithsonian CD compilation, “American Folk Music.” He also authored the definitive concertina tutor “The Concertina Demystified”, was chosen as banjo player of the year by Frets magazine, and was highlighted in several national broadcasts of “The Prairie Home Companion” show with Garrison Keillor. In addition he created and directed the most prestigious instrumental folk music festival in the United States - the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes.
Bertram’s first bandoneon lessons were with Miguel Varvello in Buenos Aires in 1991 and later in Paris with Cesar Stroscio. In 2005 Bertra enrolled in the Conservatorio Manuel de Falla in Buenos Aires to study classical bandoneon with the great Rodolfo Daluisio. He founded Tangoheart in 1999 to introduce Pacific Northwest audiences to authentic Argentine tango. He currently lives both in Washington State and in Buenos Aires, where he continues his studies with Rudolfo Daluisio.
Ruthie Dornfeld - VIOLIN
has performed and taught for over thirty years throughout the U.S. and abroad, from the Manaus Operahouse in the Brazilian Amazon to the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. Starting out on classical violin, Ruthie discovered fiddle music at age 18 and voraciously explored a wide range of traditional styles, from Irish and American, to Scandinavian, Eastern European and Brazilian. During a 15 year sojourn in New England, she studied jazz at Berklee College of Music, became a renowned dance fiddler, played in the stringband The Poodles, and founded The American Cafe Orchestra with Danish guitarist Morten Alfred Høirup. Now residing in Seattle, besides Tangoheart, Ruthie plays with guitarist John Miller, singer/songwriter Cyd Smith, and with 3Fiddles 3Traditions.
Andy Carr - Piano
has been part of the Puget Sound music scene for 38 years, as a highly sought-after accompanist and arranger for vocalists, choirs, and musical theatre; and as a jazz pianist with groups ranging from small combos to big bands. A founding member of Tangoheart, he has created new arrangements of classic tangos for the group’s repertoire.
In addition to tango, Andy maintains a busy schedule playing jazz throughout Northwest Washington with five different ensembles (TimE3 Jazz; Swingnuts Jazz; A’Town Big Band; Seabreeze Jazz Band; and the Rane Nogales Trio). He and his lovely wife Patti host monthly Jazzvox concerts in their beautiful Camano Island home.
Todd Gowers - BASS
has performed, toured, and recorded with the Seattle Symphony as a substitute bassist since 1991. He has been principal bassist with the Bolshoi Ballet, Luciano Pavarotti, The Moody Blues, Yes, Tacoma Symphony and Opera, Fifth Avenue Theater, and Paramount Theater. He has performed with Seattle Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Northwest Sinfonietta, Northwest Chamber Orchestra, and Anchorage Symphony.
As a recording bassist, he has performed on film soundtracks, commercials and with artists including Dave Matthews and Evanescence since 1992. He also plays jazz, performing with the Island Jazz Quintet and the Hammon/Esvelt Quintet.
Mr. Gowers is Adjunct Professor of Double Bass at Seattle Pacific University, where he has taught since 1998. Every June at SPU he organizes one of the largest bass camps in America, the Hammond Ashley Memorial Double Bass Workshop.
Dorothy Shapiro - Viola
was Assistant Principal violist for the Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera for forty years, and was the violist in the Regency Quartet, in residence at Pacific Lutheran University. Highlights of her career include solo performances with the Seattle Symphony, the PLU Symphony and the Australian Broadcasting Company, where she played a solo recital in the Sydney Opera House, and premiering and recording a work for solo viola and computer generated sound by Diane Thome.
Ms Shapiro is also an avid scuba diver and world traveler, and studies the Jacana, a Mexican guitar.