On Sunday, October 29, the Chicago Cultural Center hosts an interesting concert (purportedly tied into the “Peace and War” theme of this year’s Chicago Humanities Festival) featuring works by Latin American composers. The real draw may well be the tango component of the program: pieces by nuevo tango great Astor Piazzolla and Chicago-based composer Elbio Barilari, a native of Uruguay, will be performed by the masterful bandoneon player Raul Jaurena and a number of musicians from the Chicago Civic Orchestra.     

Barilari’s “Bandoneon Concerto” debuted at the Grant Park Festival back in 2002, with another virtuoso on the instrument, Juan-Jose Mosalini, handling solo responsibilities. But hearing Jaurena tackle the piece, which has a more percussive presence than most traditional tango material, ought to be a treat. Jaurena is also a native of Uruguay, and he’s worked all over the world in disparate contexts, recording with Brazilian singer Ana Caram, Cuban reedist Paquito D’Rivera, and Argentine tango pianist Pablo Ziegler; he’s also a member of the quartet led by Israeli klezmer clarinetist Giora Feidman. Jaurena has been based in New York since the late 80s, but his beautiful new recording, Te Amo Tango (Soundbrush), was recorded in Buenos Aires with a superb Uruguayan string ensemble, Quinteto Sinopus. The mostly original program is performed with the signature drama and dynamic range of tango, where stunning improvisation and classical technique hide under bold strokes of excitement, elegance, and passion.

The concert is free and starts at 3 PM in Preston Bradley Hall.