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The Princess of Asturias Foundation

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Laureates  

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Les Luthiers

Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities 2017

Les Luthiers performed for the first time in Argentina in 1967, following which the group, which had started out as a university pastime, became a professional ensemble. Founded by Gerardo Masana, who died in 1973, the other original members were Jorge Maronna (Bahía Blanca 1st August 1948), Marcos Mundstock (Santa Fe, 25th May 1942) and Daniel Rabinovich (who died in 2015). In 1969, Carlos López Puccio (Rosario, 9th October 1946) and Carlos Núñez Cortes (Buenos Aires, 15th October 1942) joined the group. With the coming of the new century, Les Luthiers tackled the choosing of replacements capable of standing in for any of the group’s members should the need arise. At the time, they chose Horacio “Tato” Turano (Buenos Aires, 10th November 1953, singer, pianist, saxophonist and composer, who has accompanied the group since the mid-2000s in all their shows. More recently, actor and singer Martín O’Connor (Buenos Aires, 2nd August 1966) joined the group. Roberto Antier and Tomás Mayer Wolf currently figure as stand-ins.

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The members of Les Luthiers, who this year will have trodden the boards non-stop for half a century, have performed in the United States, Israel and in almost all the countries in Latin America, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. They performed in Spain for the first time in 1974, and debuted in New York in 1980.

Their shows are characterized by a combination of music and witty humour, as well as a peculiar use of musical instruments created by them from everyday elements. The members of Les Luthiers write the music for their shows, in addition to directing and staging them. They also write the spoken texts, which are distinguished by the richness of their vocabulary and are brimming with intelligent, original word plays, features which make up what is known as the “Les Luthiers style”. They have composed and interpreted musical genres as diverse as the tango, bolero, Mexican corrido (ballad), merengue, opera and zarzuela, among others. Since 1977, Les Luthiers have produced a new show every two or three years, which they present in Spain and Latin America’s major venues. Since their beginnings to the present day, they have composed more than 170 songs, built more than 30 musical instruments and given over 4,000 performances before more than nine million people.

In 2007, they presented Cuarenta años de trayectoria (Forty Years on the Stage) to commemorate this event, while numerous tributes to the group were held in Argentina, as well as a major exhibition entitled Expo Les Luthiers. Between 2008 and 2012, they performed Lutherapia at different venues in Spain and America, where, in 2011, they also presented ¡Chist! Antología (Ssh! Anthology), a review of their more than 40 years on the stage. They continue to tour with this show, which they will bring to Seville, Madrid, Salamanca and Mérida in September. In 2014, they premiered Viejos hazmerreíres (Old Laughing Stocks). On 5th May, they premiered a new anthology, Les Luthiers Gran Reserva, in Rosario (Argentina), their 37th show to date.

The distinctions they have received throughout their artistic career include the Argentinian Television Press Award and the Latin ACE Award for the Best Humorous Show, conferred by the New York Association of Latin Entertainment Critics, both in 1992. In 2001, they won the Max Award for the Performing Arts, conferred by Spain’s General Society of Authors and Publishers, in the Spanish-American Special Award category. In 2007, they were named “Illustrious Citizens of Buenos Aires” and the Spanish Government granted them the distinction of Commander by Number of the Order of Isabella the Catholic. They received the Latin Grammy Award for Musical Excellence in 2011. In 2012, the Spanish Government granted them Spanish nationality via certificates of naturalization (a special concession to persons of particular merit).

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