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Bandoneon phenom performs with symphony

When the guest soloist joins the MIT Symphony at their concert on Saturday, May 8, he'll have the distinction of being even younger than most of the students in the orchestra.

Michael Zisman, a 17-year-old bandoneon maestro, was born in 1982 in Bern, Switzerland. Concentrating on tango and jazz music, especially the music written by the late Astor Piazzolla, he performs on and composes for the bandoneon, an accordion-like instrument used to play the tango in Argentina.

Mr. Zisman will join the MIT Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Dante Anzolini, in what is believed to be the Boston premiere of Piazzolla's Concerto for Bandoneon. The concert, which also includes Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra, will take place at 8pm in Kresge Auditorium. Admission is $2 at the door.

Mr. Anzolini first met the young musician in 1995 in Bern when Mr. Anzolini served as conductor there. "When concertmaster Daniel Zisman told me he had a young son who played bandoneon, I thought, 'That's nice,'" Mr. Anzolini recalled. "Then I heard him play and I couldn't believe it -- the guy is phenomenal!"

Mr. Zisman, who holds both Swiss and Argentinean citizenships, has studied bandoneon and composition in Buenos Aires and Bern. Among his teachers is his father, violinist Daniel Zisman, with whom he appeared as soloist in different tango groups.

Mr. Zisman will also perform a solo recital on Wednesday, May 5 at 8pm in Killian Hall. This concert will include a performance of Piazzolla's Tango Sensations with freshman Jason Parris and senior Sandy Choi (violins), graduate student Jennifer Grucza (viola) and Peter Jung (cello).

A version of this article appeared in the May 5, 1999 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 43, Number 29).

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