Garden Concert Series: Atlas Tango Project




Garden Concert Series: Atlas Tango Project

OtHA welcomes back to Northern Colorado founder, violinist James Armstrong and the stellar Atlas Tango Project, formerly known as The Austin Piazzolla Quintet. Specializing in the music of the late Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla as well as original nuevo tango compositions, we welcome you to warm up your tango dancing skills in preparation. Please join us for an afternoon of music, wine, and great company at the home of Jennifer Kathol. Pre-concert wine reception: 2:30 pm Concert: 3:30-5:30 pm Tickets: $32 for adults, $10 for students (Purchase Tickets Below)

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About Atlas Tango Project

The Atlas Tango Project (formerly the Austin Piazzolla Quintet) specializes in the music of the late Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla as well as original nuevo tango compositions. Founded by James Anderson (violin), Atlas Tango has been performing to captivated audiences since 2009. With Jonathan Geer (piano), Ben Thomas (bandoneon), Tony Rogers (cello), and Phil Spencer (bass), all from diverse musical backgrounds, the band continues the Nuevo Tango tradition through intense live shows which feature unique arrangements of Piazzolla’s groundbreaking works, breathtaking original compositions, and fiery improvisation. Atlas Tango has performed in the nation’s premier concert halls, jazz clubs, universities, and festivals, including the premiere of “The Angel of Buenos Aires” with the world-renowned Colorado Ballet in 2016. In 2019, the group returned to the concert stage with the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra to perform their own arrangements in front of a packed Wilson Center in Wilmington, North Carolina.


James Anderson

Violinist James Anderson has been hailed by critics as a violinist “who bucks tradition,” a “world-class violinist, improviser, and composer,” and “the most swinging violinist in Colorado.” A Fort Collins, Colorado native and violinist since age five, James is at home in a number of musical arenas including classical, jazz, tango, bluegrass, and rock to name a few. After graduating from high school in 2003, James continued his music studies at the University of Northern Colorado with a violin scholarship. While at UNC, James became an active performer on the Colorado Front Range – performing more than 100 concerts of all types every year – and would become the concertmaster of the various, award-winning UNC orchestras.

After graduating with honors, James was accepted to the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, England for graduate studies. While in England, James became a regular on the vibrant London jazz scene while studying alongside some of the world’s finest classical performers such as the Belcea String Quartet and the London Symphony Orchestra. James has been featured in concert halls around the globe including London’s Wigmore and Barbican Halls, and the Sala Mozart in Zaragosa, Spain. James has performed with some of the world’s greatest fiddlers such as Mark O’Connor, Doug Kershaw, Christian Howes, Alex Hargreaves, and Darol Anger; has performed with tango legends Pablo Ziegler, Hector del Curto, Pedro Giraudo, Gustavo Casanova, Victor Lavallen, Pablo Agri, and Pablo Estigarribia; has collaborated with such artists as Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, Marcia Ball, Fyfe Dangerfield, Carolyn Wonderland, Grant Gordy, Bruce Adolphe (aka The Piano Puzzler); has opened for acts including The Del McCoury Band, Chaka Khan, Stanton Moore, Ben Taylor, and Railroad Earth.

James has recorded for both film and television including the soundtrack to the major motion picture “Bernie” starring Jack Black, FX’s “Archer,” and NBC’s “Smash”; and has been a soloist and chamber musician featured with orchestras and chamber music festivals around the country. His compositions have been performed around the world by orchestras such as the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra and the Ukraine National Orchestra in Kiev. His tango ensemble, The Austin Piazzolla Quintet, has been hailed as “one of the country’s foremost tango ensembles,” “sublime,” “tango at its best,” and “a phenomenally polished and exciting ensemble.” After seven years on the renowned Austin, Texas music scene, James is now based in Charleston, South Carolina, and is an in-demand violinist and teacher on the vibrant music scene.

Jonathan Geer

Jonathan’s music has appeared on American Idol, Archer, So You Think You Can Dance, Saturday Night Live, Apple TV’s Dickinson, and numerous other shows.

​He scored the indie game hit, Owlboy, which was released in November of 2016 and has gone on to garner numerous awards and critical acclaim. In 2017 he received an HMMA award for his score to the Franz Kafka Videogame.​

Jonathan graduated with a BA in Film Scoring from Berklee College of Music in Boston and now lives in Austin, TX. He tours regularly with APQ (the Austin Piazzolla Quintet) and is currently creating art songs on Patreon with NYC-based soprano, Tynan Davis, violinist James Anderson, and cellist, Tony Rogers.

Dr. Ben Thomas

Dr. Ben Thomas is one of the most in-demand vibists in the Pacific Northwest. Known for combining virtuosic technique with flowing lyricism, Thomas’s music spans from pyrotechnic improvisations to delicate soundscapes.

In addition to leading jazz and tango ensembles, he performs as a sideman on mallets, percussion, and bandoneon with a wide variety of groups throughout the United States, including the Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto and the Atlas Tango Project. He currently has five albums of original compositions available on Origin Records: “Triskaidekaphobia”, “The Mystagogue”, “The Madman’s Difference”, “Yet What Is Any Ocean…”, and “Eternal Aporia”.

After falling in love with both tango music and dance, Thomas started playing bandoneon in 2006, traveling to Argentina and working with tango musicians from across the world. He was a guest artist with the Eugene Opera in 2018 as the bandoneon soloist for Piazzolla’s “Maria de Buenos Aires”. He tours regularly with the Atlas Tango Project and can be heard on their most recent album, “Estaciones y Sueños”.

Thomas completed his Doctor of Musical Art in Percussion Performance at the University of Washington in 2007. His dissertation was on the development of Cal Tjader’s early Latin Jazz vibraphone style. Thomas received his Master of Music with Honors in Improvisation from the University of Michigan in 1994. While in graduate school, he directed the University of Michigan’s Jazz Composers Orchestra and worked with composer Stephen Rush. Thomas also graduated from Swarthmore College, where he majored in mathematics and music.

Over the years, Thomas has performed at the Stowe Tango Music Festival, Ballard Jazz Festival, Earshot Jazz Festival, Detroit-Montreaux Jazz Festival, Bumbershoot Arts Festival, Issaquah Jazz Festival, Anacortes Arts Festival, Ellensburg Jazz in the Valley Festival, Tacoma Maritime Festival, Bellingham Art of Jazz Series, and the Juneau Jazz and Classics Festival.

As a composer, Thomas has written for chamber groups, big bands, jazz combos, dance, and theater. Thomas is currently chair of the Music Department at Highline College, where he teaches music theory, composition, and performance.

Tony Rogers

Tony Rogers is a cellist, educator, performer, arranger, and composer. He performs regularly with The Austin Piazzolla Quintet, The Waterloo Trio, Jenifer Jackson, the multi-genre group Strings Attached, performs weddings on weekends, and onstage with symphonies, playing 70 public performances per year, teaches a few hundred lessons and directs the Austin Cello Choir every week on Tuesday evenings for cellists of all levels. In his spare time, he organizes chamber reading sessions.


Phil Spencer

Phil Spencer is a professional bassist living in Austin. He received an undergraduate in music performance from the University of Northern Colorado. Phil has been performing/teaching/studying with/for and often in front of real live actual people since 2002. He can improvise, and read music, he’s not half bad on a good day. Phil plays both electric and upright bass.


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