By Lee Perlman
For the Hollywood Star News, June, 2010
On May 13, Portland-based quintet Tango Pacifico presented a unique program of the music of Argentinean tango master Astor Piazzolla, at The Old Church in Southwest Portland. The pieces were performed as originally composed and intended for Piazzolla’s own ensemble as part of Tango Pacifico’s highly anticipated CD release party.
Northeast resident Erin Furbee, who has lived in the Grant Park neighborhood for the past seven years, founded Tango Pacifico. She joined the Oregon Symphony as assistant concertmaster in 2001. Originally from the Chicago area, she began to play the violin at 4, and went on to receive her bachelor’s in music from Rice University; she also attended the universities of Michigan and Minnesota. Prior to her arrival in Portland, she was a member of the Colorado Symphony for eight years. She has performed as a soloist with the Oregon and Colorado symphonies, and in December 2009, performed the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Yaroslavl Philharmonic in Yaroslavl, Russia.
Furbee developed a passion for playing tango music after first hearing the music of Astor Piazzolla in 1997. Furbee was drawn to the haunting melodies, the jazz-like improvisational sections and the wild percussive sound effects, which are unique to tango music. While living in Denver, Furbee co-founded a four-piece tango group and traveled to Buenos Aires several times to study with musicians in the tango orchestras there. She also learned to speak Spanish and dance the tango during her visits to Argentina.
In Portland, Furbee performs with two tango groups. In 2001, she formed Tango Pacifico, who has performed with Fear No Music, the Oregon Symphony Gala and at Tango Berretin for dancers. Tango Pacifico also received a grant in 2002 from the Knight Foundation to perform a show of tango and samba music at the PNCA, and came out with their first CD in May 2010. Furbee also plays with Orquesta Tipica Krebs, an eight-piece ensemble, which performs for dancers at Tango Berretin and has been featured at Portland Tangofest and Valentango.
Furbee also enjoys biking (her favorite part of the day is biking to work), cross-country skiing, traveling (recently Kenya and Russia) and teaching the violin. Several of her students also live in Northeast Portland. For more information about the group or their concert, call Erin Furbee at (971) 645-8583.