It takes four to tango for Port Townsend performance
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Tangoheart — from left, Bertram Levy of Port Townsend and Eugene Bazhanov, Andy Carr and Todd Gowers, all of Seattle — will perform at the Rose Theatre for a rare concert this Sunday.

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — This music “ruined my life.”

So jokes Dr. Bertram Levy, the Port Townsend surgeon who in 1990 was introduced to the bandoneon, instrument of tango.

He's been studying and playing ever since, in the United States and in Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital, where tango is king and queen.

This Sunday afternoon, Levy will join three of his favorite tango musicians — from Russia and Seattle — for a rare performance at the Rose Theatre, 235 Taylor St.

This band is called Tango­heart, and tickets to Sunday's 1 p.m. concert are $18 at the theater box office and

Earlier show sold out

When Tangoheart played the Rose two years ago, the show sold out, Levy noted.

So he encourages those who love tango, and those who have yet to discover it, to reserve their seats now.

“They will hear romantic pieces, rhythmic pieces,” Levy promised.

“They will hear stories and get a whole feeling for the culture.”

Twenty-two years ago, Levy, then 50, met a group of tango musicians who were traveling through Seattle.

At the time, he played the concertina and figured he was too old to take up the bandoneon.

The instrument looks like an accordion but is, Levy said, a pump organ for the lap.

But those traveling musicians insisted that he try it, and by 1991, Levy was flying down to Buenos Aires.

In 2005, he retired from his medical practice and rented an apartment there. He continues to live in Buenos Aires half the year and to study at the Conservatorio Superior de Musica “Manuel de Falla” with renowned bandoneon maestro Rodolfo Daluisio.

Music, not dancing

Sunday's concert will be about tango music, not dancing — the theater aisles haven't the space — but there will be “tremendous energy,” Levy predicted.

Tangoheart has “the wail of the bandoneon, the caress of the violin, the drive of the piano and the growl of the bass,” played by Levy, Russian violinist Eugene Bazhanov, bassist Todd Gowers and pianist Andy Carr.

Together, they will fill the Rose with modern arrangements of classic tangos as well as “tango nuevo” music by the iconic composer Astor Piazzolla.

Levy promised, too, that Tangoheart will play, for the first time in the United States, several new pieces from the current tango scene in Buenos Aires.

An arranger as well as a bandoneon player, Levy has brought these fresh tangos back with him from Argentina.

Now a septuagenarian and retired from his 40-year career in medicine, Levy is still mad for his music.

The bandoneon is far from easy, but “it has the most amazing voice of any instrument,” he said.

And the man holding it in his arms? Levy declares that he has “no lack of energy and dreams.”


Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at

Last modified: January 08. 2013 5:49PM
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