Astor Piazzolla was the father of “new tango” and some of his music will be performed by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta on Tuesday at the Fringe Club, in Central. Born in 1921, in Mar del Plata, Argentina, the composer grew up in New York learning to play the piano and bandoneon (a type of concertina). He developed a passion for both the tango and classical music, which he later combined to created nuevo tango. “Traditional tango listeners hated me,” he once told The New York Times. One of his songs, Libertango, features in 1988 film Frantic, directed by Roman Polanski …

Born in Paris, in 1933, Polanski’s family moved back to their native Poland just before the second world war. His parents were sent to different Nazi concentration camps, and his mother perished in Auschwitz. In 1969, Polanski suffered another tragedy: his second wife, actress Sharon Tate, who was heavily pregnant at the time, was murdered by followers of the nutter Charles Manson. That episode influenced his 1971 film Macbeth. Given all the tragedy, parallels can be seen between Polanski’s childhood and that of Oliver Twist, the eponymous protagonist of the filmmaker’s 2005 effort, which is based on the 1838 novel by Charles Dickens …

The British novelist had a rags-to-riches story of his own. In 1824, when he was 12, his father was imprisoned for bad debt and Charles was forced to work in a factory. An eventual move into journalism marked the first step in his literary career. Although he wrote classics such as Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol, Dickens’ contributions went beyond literature – modern commentators have even described him as “the man who invented Christmas”. In 2002, the BBC listed him as one of the Top 100 Great Britons. Also on the list was Tim Berners-Lee …

The inventor of the World Wide Web grew up in a household of technology-lovers: his parents helped develop the Ferranti Mark I, the first commercial computer. In 1991, while working at Cern, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, in Geneva, Berners- Lee launched the world’s first website, http://info.cern.ch. Years later he admitted that the two forward slashes were “unnecessary” and gave a lighthearted apology for having foisted them upon the web-using world. In 2014, his game-changing invention was declared a “gift from God” by none other than Pope Francis …

Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Francis is the first Latin American pope and the first non-European to hold the position in more than 1,200 years. When he was 16, he was overcome by a strong urge, “like someone grabbed me from inside”, to confess. When he stepped out of the confessional box, he knew he wanted to be a priest. Since becoming pope, in 2013, he has slammed economic inequality and compared the excesses of capitalism to the “dung of the devil.” The first head of state the new pope received was Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner …

In 2007, Fernandez became the first female elected president of Argentina. That she succeeded her husband, Nestor Kirchner, has led many to make comparisons between her and Hillary Clinton. And Fernandez doesn’t object to the parallels – in a 2007 interview with Time magazine, she said, “We’re both lawyers, and it’s considered rare that professional women like us are also wives of presidents.” In 2008, Fernandez renamed the Mar del Plata international airport after an “illustrious citizen” – Astor Piazzolla.