Helena Rüegg studied bandoneon at the Rotterdam Conservatory and one day her phone rang: “Would you like to play in my tango quintet?” “I would love to”, Helena says, “but unfortunately I can’t really play yet!” “It doesn’t matter”, is the reply, “the most important thing is that you join us!” That is how Helena Rüegg met the guitarist and leader of Quinteto Bailongo Rob Bangert in 1996 and the two became good friends. Over the years they have experienced many musical adventures together and shared them with others. Since 2018 Helena and Rob have mainly played together as a duo. Because the moon with its suggestive appearance often inspires them for their various projects, they call themselves “Duo La Luna”.
Helena and Rob want to offer their audience more than a standard concert program. That is why they combine their playing with other art forms such as poetry, stories, films, theater and dance. Their most recent concert program Nostalghia, which premiered in the south of France in August 2020, is also an interplay of text and music. The central theme is the story of a mysterious Hungarian immigrant who discovers the world of “milongueros” and “tangueros” (tango dancers and tango enthusiasts) in Buenos Aires at the beginning of the 20th century. Embedded in this story are traditional tangos, own newly written pieces and new compositions by Argentine composers written especially for the Duo La Luna.
Helena Rüegg – Bandoneonist, Composer, Actress and Journalist
After an internship at the Théâtre d’Orsay with Jean-Louis Barrault in 1978, Helena Rüegg studied drama at the Neue Münchner Schauspielschule in Munich, Germany. In 1980 she started as a professional actress at the Münchner Residenztheater and continued her career in the theaters “Städtische Bühnen Münster”, “Stadttheater Basel” and “Schauspielhaus Bochum” with Claus Peymann. In 1992 Helena discovered the bandoneon. Helena then studied with Rodolfo Mederos and Julio Pane in Buenos Aires and with Juan José Mosalini in Paris. In 1993 Helena started her studies at the tango department of the Rotterdam Conservatory, which she completed in 1998. From 1994-1998 she joined the Dutch quintet Bailongo. This tango ensemble perfected itself in Buenos Aires with famous tango musicians and invited Rodolfo Mederos to play with them in the Netherlands and Germany.
From 1998 onwards she played in various ensembles such as the Grand Orchester de Tango of Juan José Mosalini and as a soloist with the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, the SWR Radio Symphony Orchestra and the WDR Rundfunk Orchestra. In 2004 she played with tenor Juan Diego Florez and the BBC Symphony Orchestra as part of BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. Since 1999 Helena has been composing music for theatre, dance and radio and works as a journalist for German radio stations such as WDR, SWR, DLF etc.
In 2013, in the French village Sigonce (Haute Provence), she founded a cultural association called “Bandalena”. This foundation develops cultural events in Sigonce and the surrounding area with the support of guitarist Rob Bangert and other local, regional and European artists. In 2017 Helena receives a commission from the Swiss cultural foundation “Pro Helvetia” to write music for a quartet consisting of Santur, Saxophone, Cello and Bandoneon. The performance of this work took place in August 2017 at the Alpentöne Festival, Altdorf, and was broadcast by Swiss and German radio and television. In 2018/2019, Helena took part in a European project and, together with Italian, Portuguese and Croatian partners, developed the multimedia show “Butterflies on Flowers – Diaries, texts and music from Europe around 1968”.
Rob Bangert – Guitarist and arranger
Rob Bangert studied classical guitar and musicology in Amsterdam. He also studied at the Escuela de musica popular in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He traveled around the world where he gave concerts with various ensembles. He has also taken lessons from the greatest guitarists of our time, such as Manuel Barrueco and David Russel. In addition to his musical life, he was until recently director of one of the most innovative art education centers in the Netherlands, Artiance, center for the arts. This institution focuses on the development of young talent in the fields of music, theatre, dance and visual arts. Artiance is currently working on several major international projects. Innovation is a keyword for Rob. He designed new concert forms in which different disciplines are combined.