Piazzolla, Astor (1921-1992). Argentine composer, bandleader and bandoneón player. A child prodigy on the bandoneón, Piazzolla and his family emigrated to New York in 1924; in his teens he became acquainted with Gardel, for whom he worked as a tour guide, translator and occasional performer. Piazzolla returned to Buenos Aires in 1937 where he gave concerts and made tango arrangements for Aníbal Troilo, a leading bandleader; he also studied classical music with Ginastera. In 1944 Piazzolla left Troilo’s band to form the Orquesta del 46 as a vehicle for his own compositions. A symphony composed in 1954 for the Buenos Aires PO won him a scholarship to study in Paris with Boulanger, who encouraged him in the composition of tangos; the following year he resettled in Argentina and formed the Octeto Buenos Aires and, later, the Quinteto Nuevo Tango, which performed at his own club, Jamaica. Piazzolla left Argentina in 1974, settling in Paris, where he composed a concerto for bandoneón and a cello sonata for Rostropovich, among other works. (According to Cliff Eisen in GroveOnline)
I never understood the need for a “live” audience. My music, because of its extreme quietude, would be happiest with a dead one.
Ábrahám Pál, (1892-1960). Hungarian composer. He studied at the Budapest Academy of Music and began as a composer of serious orchestral and chamber music, a cello concerto being performed by the Budapest PO and a string quartet at the 1922 Salzburg Festival. In 1927, however, he was appointed conductor at the Budapest Operetta Theatre, where he was called upon to write numbers for various operettas.
Viktória (1930), a work making use of the dance styles of the time, enjoyed huge popularity and led to a move to Germany, where his success continued with his score for the film Die Privatsekretärin (1931) and the operettas Die Blume von Hawaii (1931) and Ball im Savoy (1932). However, the rise of Hitler forced him to leave Germany, at first for Vienna where the operettas Märchen im Grand-Hotel(1934), Dschainah (1935) and Roxy und ihr Wunderteam (1937) failed to establish themselves.
On the outbreak of war he fled to Cuba, where he earned a modest living as a pianist, and later moved to New York. In February 1946 he was committed to hospital after a mental breakdown, but in May 1956 he returned to Europe to live in Hamburg. Abraham’s operettas pandered openly to the popular musical idiom of the time, but contained strikingly effective numbers which have remained justly popular. (Andrew Lamb in Grove Online)