For decades, Buenos Aires-born, Latin Grammy Award-winning pianist, composer and arranger Pablo Ziegler has been one of the most important figures in Argentine New Tango, the vibrant musical hybrid of classic tango, American jazz, and European art music. “He is cool, understated and makes everything look easy and natural,” writes Mark Swed of The Los Angeles Times, “Just as a really suave tango dancer seems not to move with feet but on wheels, Ziegler skates the keyboard,” while Dan Bilawsky of All About Jazz affirms, “When [Astor] Piazzolla departed this Earth in 1992, the torch was passed to his longtime pianist who's been carrying it proudly ever since.”
After performing in tango grand-maestro Astor Piazzolla’s legendary quintet for over a decade, and appearing on iconic Piazzolla recordings including Tango: Zero Hour, La Camorra and Central Park Concert, Ziegler has led his own groups for over 20 years, refining and reimagining the bounds of the modern tango tradition. Touring throughout the world with his trio, quartet and quintet, recent seasons have seen Ziegler performing at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, SFJAZZ, the Ottawa International Jazz Fest, the Chautauqua Institution, Eastman School of Music, Portland Ovations, La Jolla SummerFest, Laguna Beach Music Festival, Miller Outdoor Theatre in Houston, UCLA, the University of Texas-Austin, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, the Blue Note in NYC, and many others.
In addition to concerts with his own ensembles, Ziegler has been featured as guest soloist with major orchestras around the world, playing his own compositions as well as the music of Piazzolla with the Presidential Orchestra of Turkey, the Tokyo Chamber Orchestra, the Charleston Symphony, the Metropole Orkest in Netherlands, and Jazz Sinfonica Orchestra in São Paolo, Brazil.
Ziegler’s most recent recording, 2013’s Latin Grammy-nominated Amsterdam Meets New Tango, sees his quartet paired with the Netherlands’ Metropole Orkest, playing his most famous compositions re-arranged for jazz orchestra. 2013 also saw the release of Julio Botti’s Nostalgias, with Ziegler as producer, arranger and pianist, and featuring several Ziegler tunes. In 2011, Ziegler’s work as music director, arranger and pianist for bass-baritone opera star Erwin Schrott earned an Echo Klassik Award for the album Rojotango. Ziegler’s 2005 release, Bajo Cero, won the Latin Grammy Award for Best Tango Album, and in 2008, his album Buenos Aires Report made the final list of nominees for the same honor. Other major recordings include 1998’s Tango Romance with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and 1996’s Los Tengueros with Emanual Ax.
In August 2014, Ziegler and his ensemble performed at Lincoln Center Out of Doors on a shared bill with the Paul Taylor Dance Company. The evening included an opening set by Ziegler’s quartet, described by The New York Times as “rapturous,” as well as a historic, first-ever collaboration: Taylor's Piazzolla Caldera with live accompaniment from Ziegler and his ensemble. In August 2012, Ziegler joined violinist Lara St. John at the Naumberg Bandshell in Central Park to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Piazzolla’s famous Central Park Concert in which Ziegler also played. The 2012 concert brought the largest crowd in the Naumberg Orchestral Concerts series’ 107 year history. Ziegler also celebrated the late Piazzolla’s 90th birthday in 2011 with a six-night run with his trio at the Torquato Tasso Cultural Center in Buenos Aires, as well as a special tribute concert with Paquito D’Rivera at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Music of the Masters series.
2009 saw the debut of Ziegler’s Beyond Tango at the Miami International Piano Festival, a program featuring compositions by J.C. Cobian, Piazzolla and Ziegler arranged for two pianos, quartet, quintet and large chamber ensemble. The program was brought to Symphony Space in NYC and the Mondavi Center in California in 2011.
In NYC, Pablo Ziegler’s Tango Conexión played an annual five-night run at Birdland Jazz from 2011 through 2013, inviting guests like violinist Regina Carter, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, and Argentine vocalist Sandra Luna. Before that, Ziegler’s Tango Meets Jazz program saw an annual week-long residency at the Jazz Standard in NYC for over ten years. Produced by Pat Philips and Ettore Strata, and featuring guest artists including Branford Marsalis, Paquito D’Rivera, Kenny Garrett, Joe Locke, Randy Brecker, David Sanchez and Nestor Torres, Tango Meets Jazz has toured internationally, including engagements at the Chan Centre in Vancouver, the Lied Center in Nebraska, the University of Colorado in Boulder, the Norton Center in Kentucky, and the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco.
Ziegler has been artist-in-residence at major institutions, such as the Latin American Music Center at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, and the MusicUnitesUs Intercultural Residency Series at Brandeis University.