Epic cellist dies, aged 101

Epic cellist dies, aged 101


norman lebrecht

July 19, 2017

The Italian-born Argentine cellist José Bragato has bowed his last at a phenomenal age and after a life of intense activity. He died on July 18 in Buenos Aires.

Arriving in Buenos Aires at age 13, he was named principal cellist of the city’s Philharmonic Orchestra in 1946, moving two years later to the Colon orchestra, where he played for two decades. Most famously, he played in the Buenos Aires Octet with Astor Piazzola.

During the 1970s military dictatorship he migrated to Brazil, playing in the Orquestra Sinfonica de Porto Alegre until 1982, when he returned home.

Bragato was also a composer of 50 published scores.


  • Elmira Darvarova says:

    R.I.P., José Bragato, legendary collaborator of Astor Piazzolla, arranger of so many of Piazzolla scores, and a composer in his own right… I will never forget the rare chance of speaking to José Bragato on the phone a few years ago – from the New York apartment of the distinguished cellist (and close friend of Bragato) Christine Walevska, during a rehearsal with her and the late great tango pianist Octavio Brunetti – we had a question about something in Bragato’s arrangement of one of Piazzolla’s works – and we simply called him in Buenos Aires and talked to him – an awesome experience…

  • Christine Walevska says:

    Jose Bragato was my lifelong friend. When I played three concerts in one week in the famed Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, he was the first cellist of the Philharmonic accompanying me in the Brahms Double with Szeryng, and the Dvorak cello concerto. AFter these concerts he came to me and said “I want to be your friend for the rest of my life” and that he was! HE wrote and de
    Dictated the Milontan for me in one night before I was leaving on a concert tour in Europe which is now played world wide in many arrangements he made for trios, etc.
    AT age 101 he wrote another work for me written in his beautiful hand. I have many wonderful photos vacationing with him and his wife Gina. I spoke with him by phone 3 days before he left us for Eternal Life. Piazolla was famous internationally thanks to all the arrangements of his music by Jose Bragato

  • Michael David Smith says:

    I have just been awed by listening to Bragato’s “Spring in Buenos Aires, Winter in Buenos Aires and Fall in Buenos Aires” on NPR program on Latin American classical music that airs weekly out of the University of Illinois, Chicago campus station. Piazzolla and Bragato ought to be listed as a pair, like George and Ira Gershwin or Moussorgsky and Ravel . Kudos to the piano trio that brought the score to life, though I have forgotten their name.