Heralded as “the next accordion star” by Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune, JULIEN LABRO has established himself as one of the foremost accordion and bandoneón players in both the classical and jazz genres. Deemed to be “a triple threat: brilliant technician, poetic melodist and cunning arranger,” his artistry, virtuosity, and creativity as a musician, composer and arranger have earned him international acclaim and continue to astonish audiences worldwide.
French-born Labro was influenced early on by traditional folk music and the melodic, lyrical quality of the French chanson. Upon discovering the music of jazz legends, he quickly became inspired by the originality, freedom, creativity, and the endless possibilities in their musical language. After graduating from the Marseille Conservatory of Music, Labro began winning international awards including the Coupe Mondiale, the Castelfidardo Competitions, and many others. In 1998, Labro moved to the United States, where he further pursued his musical dream. Equipped with advanced degrees in classical music, jazz studies, and composition, Labro draws from his diverse academic background and eclectic musical influences as he searches for new themes and untried concepts, transforming and developing his creative ideas into new projects.
Labro has collaborated with numerous symphony orchestras and chamber ensembles, often playing the dual roles of solo artist as well as composer/arranger. These include the conductorless Boston-based chamber orchestra, A Far Cry, Spektral Quartet, Arneis Quartet, Ensemble Vivant of Toronto, and Curtis On Tour from the Curtis Institute of Music faculty of Philadelphia. He has been a guest soloist with numerous symphonies such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St Luke’s, New World Symphony, the Hartford Symphony, the Arkansas Symphony, the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Cape Cod Symphony, the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra and many more.
Julien’s musical journey has taken him all across North and South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. His classical collaborations include A Far Cry, Spektral Quartet, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St Luke’s, New World Symphony, the Qatar Philharmonic, The Paul Taylor Dance Company and the New York City Ballet. Julien has written for numerous ensembles, from quartets to full symphony orchestras. He has premiered works by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Du Yun, Bryce Dessner, Angélica Negrón, Clarice Assad, Ethan Iverson, and Avner Dorman. Julien has collaborated with Cassandra Wilson, Maria Schneider, Anat Cohen, João Donato, Marcel Khalife, Paquito D’Rivera, Pablo Ziegler, Uri Caine, Miguel Zenón, 2 James Carter, John Clayton, guitarists Larry Coryell, Tommy Emmanuel, and John and Bucky Pizzarelli.
After a busy summer touring the US performing at prestigious festivals such as Ravinia Festival and Tanglewood Music Festival, Labro will open his 2023 season performing with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall, Orchestra of St Luke’s and the Paul Taylor Dance Company at Lincoln Center. Spring of 2024 will see Labro zigzag the US with concerto appearances, chamber concerts with his ongoing collaboration with the Takács Quartet, a premier and residency with Camerata Pacifica, performances with the Maria Schneider Orchestra, and premier a new collaboration with Evan Lurie and Mark Ribot at Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, TN.
In his free time, Labro is working on composing a second bandoneón concerto that will be a sequel to his first El Fueye Del Tiburón (The Bellows of the Shark). To learn more about Labro, visit julienlabro.com.