Richard Scofano

Bandoneonist and Composer

A superlative master of the bandoneón, Richard Scofano was born in Paso de los Libres, Argentina. Descendant of three generations of bandoneón players, Scofano is considered one of today’s most important bandoneonists. Beyond his recognized stunning virtuosity at his instrument, Scofano is also an accomplished composer (creator of the New Chamamé), arranger, producer and musical director.

He began his studies at the age of five, with his father Ricardo Scofano, a living legend in the Argentine musical genre of Chamamé. Scofano grew up in an environment surrounded by music and folkloric traditions and, thanks to the support of his family, quickly became an expert and an authority in both Chamamé and Tango. At the age of fifteen, he graduated as Master of Music. At eighteen he was named the first bandoneonist at the Folkloric Orchestra of Corrientes.

Scofano always nurtured interest for the music of neighboring countries Paraguay and Brazil, and is passionate about the study of European classical traditions. In 2015, he wrote the score for This is Tango Now’s production of Carmen de Buenos Aires, a 90-minute work inspired on the music of G. Bizet. In October 2016, Scofano premiered his Concerto for Bandoneón and Orchestra, the IBERÁ, with the Oistrakh Symphony Orchestra of Chicago under conductor Mina Zikri. At the same time, he released the CD ESTACIONES, with original compositions interpreted by Duo Scofano Minetti. On this recording, Scofano debuts his original style of ‘Nuevo Chamamé’.

With over thirty years of professional work, Scofano has taken his music literally throughout the world and is held in high esteem by fellow musicians and audiences alike. 

 

Iberá : a concerto for orchestra and bandoneón

Iberá in Guaraní means ‘bright waters,’ a reference to one of the most important and beautiful wetlands in the world, located in the province of Corrientes, Northeastern Argentina, a province at the crossroads of Paraguay, Brazil and Uruguay. 

This concerto is inspired by the Iberá, by its gorgeous flora and fauna, and celebrates the impact of these wetlands in the cultural richness of Corrientes. Perhaps the strongest of all cultural influences in this piece comes from the Chamamé, also a regional phenomenon, but this one created by the local peoples. 

Very much like the Iberá, the chamamé is many things at once: a folk genre…music, dance, song, and singing...it is faith, beliefs, myths, and values...symbols and language...it is food, wine, and friendship...it is the Paraná and the Uruguay rivers with their lonely fishermen...it is the Guaraní culture as embodied by the ones who settled in those ancient lands...it is the Sapucai, the cry that expresses so many feelings and emotions, the cry that summons one’s duende, and communicates so many feelings and nostalgia. 

To me the water stands for life and it generates lives and cultural traditions that are immensely influenced by them. By the standing waters of the lagoons and the running waters of the rivers. The rivers are the natural carriers of peoples and cultures. To me, the first movement, Paraná, relates to my province of Corrientes. It is calm and majestic on the surface, but underneath it is in constant movement from its powerful and uncontrollable currents. It is peaceful, romantic, powerful and dramatic at once. The second movement, the Iberá, represents nature at its most spectacular, calm, mysterious, but also nostalgic. It brings in a sense of the immensity and power of nature before our small human preoccupations and priorities. A sense that we are a part of something of incommensurate proportions, of something incredibly big and full of creative energy. Finally, the third movement, the Rio Uruguay, represents the border, the boundary, the sisterhood and fraternity between my region and Brazil and Uruguay, it means freedom with the contagious sense of groove that you get as you cross into those lands. I like to think of the Iberá as a whole pretty much as an impression, a sonorous picture of those regions, its nature and its people and their mutual and constant interactions.

Grandson of bandoneonist Pepito Scofano and son of Chamamé legend Ricardo Scofano, Richard grew up in the midst of it all. Richard's artistry is a testimony to Scofano’s mastering of the genre, to his musical craft, and to his ability to combine both through an exceptional creative genius, proposing a new way to present his traditional music. It is a demonstration of his unconditional love for the traditions celebrated in the rich history of the peoples, lands, and rivers who lent their hearts, souls, rhythms and cycles to the Chamamé.  ~Alfredo Minetti

 

...in the presence of Richard Scofano’s talent, we feel that we are facing a pure experience, a tango with open veins…since he, with his bandoneón, doesn’t interpret the tango, he interprets the secret codes embedded in tango. Precisely because of that, I claim that Scofano is unique in the world.  ~Prensa Recinto Universitário de Mayagüez, Puerto Rico