MONTANGO WAS FORMED in 1996 to perform the instrumental quintet music of Astor Piazzolla and other contemporary tango composers in concert and festival settings. Because the culture of tango is a blend of music, dance and song, MonTango includes a dance duo and a vocalist in many of its shows.

Most of Piazzolla’s music is not available in printed form, so MonTango’s musicians have spent hundreds of hours transcribing this difficult and exciting chamber music in order to bring it to the stage. These professionals from the world of jazz and classical music are united in their passion for this music, and are dedicated to bringing it to American audiences who have had little exposure thus far to this thrilling genre.

Tom Montgomery (Bandoneon): Tom is the leader and founder of MonTango. Though Tom began his career as a jazz pianist in the Bay Area, his love of the music of Astor Piazzolla has led him to the bandoneon. His music so impressed rock legend Steve Miller, that Miller flew the group to his Sun Valley recording studio to record their first CD. The musicians in MonTango include the best of the San Francisco Bay Area as well as visiting luminaries. Following are the musicians who are performing with Tom at the 2002 Cotati Accordion Festival:

Thaddeus Pinkston (Piano): Thaddeus has been playing piano since the age of four and studied music at San Jose State and Santa Clara University. Thaddeus has toured with The Fifth Dimension, played Fats Waller in the touring company of “Ain’t Misbehavin’ ” and accompanied Berkeley Rep’s “Anthony and Cleopatra.” He is one of the Bay Area’s leading accompanists, and recently orchestrated the music for Lisa Vroman of “Phantom of the Opera” fame for her new Broadway CD. Vanessa Montgomery (Violin): Vanessa was raised in the Bay Area and has been with the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Marin Symphony Youth Orchestra and has been concert master for the Humboldt County Community Orchestra. She has traveled to Europe to perform in various venues and performs locally in string quartets. Vanessa has also visited Buenos Aires and plans to visit there again in the near future.

Matt Montgomery (Guitar): Matt, a Bay Area native, has a strong background in classical music. He has been a member of the Marin Symphony Youth Orchestra as a violinist and is currently a member of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, playing viola, and recently toured Russia and Ireland with them. Matt performs on guitar for a local contemporary band and on Fender bass with jazz ensembles and big bands. Matt studies at Cal Arts in Southern California and is also a pianist and composer.

Michael Knapp (Bass): Michael is a native of Colorado and studied bass at the Naropa Institute in Boulder. He has been the principal bassist in symphony orchestras in Vallejo, Rohnert Park and performs on both cello and bass in other local orchestras. Currently, Michael teaches cello and bass and is living in West Marin County.