Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Music Fills Miles between Argentina and the Steel City

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Music Fills Miles between Argentina and the Steel City

Article excerpt

Many milestones in Pablo Ardiles' life revolved around music, even before he was born. His parents met in Tucuman, a province in northern Argentina, where his dad worked at the conservatory as a piano tuner and his mother was a piano student.

It was passion for music that initially brought Pablo to Pittsburgh. He flew from Argentina to the Steel City on Christmas Day 1990; flights were less expensive on the holiday. He arrived with his violin to learn more about the music program at Carnegie Mellon University and to meet the famous Cuban-born Andres Cardenes, who had just been appointed concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Pablo's musical career took him back to Argentina three years later to work in San Luis, where he met Claudia, whom he married a year later in Pittsburgh.

When Pablo first arrived in Pittsburgh and entered the city through the Fort Pitt Tunnel, he said to himself, "I want to know more about the society that built this city."

He struggled with English. "It was a big barrier," he explains, but he spoke the universal language of music. "Even before I became a student, I had an opportunity to play in the Carnegie Mellon University Orchestra, and then I auditioned for Andres Cardenes."

Pablo impressed the concertmaster. "You have the level to be in the master's program and work as a graduate student, and we are offering scholarships. So if you are interested, you can start in September," Mr. Cardenes told him.

By then, Pablo had made up his mind. He liked the school and the orchestra. The opportunity to study under Mr. Cardenes pretty much sealed the deal. That's how Pablo became a master's student of music and violin performance at CMU.

In 1993, as Pablo was about to graduate, he decided to try his luck and apply for a green card while waiting at the International Students' Office. A few weeks later, he received a notification, which, as he understood it, told him he didn't get it. Disappointed, he put it away in a stack of papers. His family arrived in Pittsburgh to attend his graduate recital in May.

After graduation, on May 15, Pablo got a phone call from the conductor of Argentina's San Luis Orchestra, who was looking for a concertmaster. A former CMU student recommended Pablo for the job. The conductor wanted Pablo to audition, but he needed Pablo to be in San Luis before May 25. Pablo left his parents behind in Pittsburgh with a roommate who didn't speak Spanish. "It was all sign language between them," Pablo says, laughing.

Pablo flew back to Argentina and became the concertmaster of the San Luis Orchestra. Claudia was a manager of the orchestra at the time. "She did a lot of things," Pablo says. "She was a translator, psychologist and a baby sitter." The orchestra was an international bunch of musicians "with a spirit of adventure to go to San Luis, Argentina," as Pablo puts it. …

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