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Julien Labro


Julien LabroDeemed “brilliant” by Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune, Julien Labro has established himself as one of the foremost accordion and bandoneon players in both the classical and jazz worlds. 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. However, he spent every last cent of his pocket money collecting CDs by jazz legends like Charlie Parker and Miles Davis, thirsty for the originality, creativity, and the endless possibilities in their musical language.

After graduating from the Marseille Conservatory of Music, Labro began winning international awards, taking first prize in the Coupe Mondiale in 1996 and the Castelfidardo Competitions in 1997. After sweeping first place in the Marcel Azzola, Jo Privat and Medard Ferrero competitions in 1995 and 1998, Labro moved to the United States to further pursue his studies and musical dream. There he embraced other genres of music, ranging from pop and hip hop to electronic/techno and rap, as well as Latin, Indian, Middle Eastern, and other types of world music.

Equipped with advanced degrees in classical music, jazz studies, and composition, Labro draws from both his diverse academic background and eclectic musical taste in his professional life as a performer, arranger, and composer.

As a musician, Labro is constantly evolving artistically. He searches for new themes and untried concepts, transforming and developing his creative ideas into new projects. Piazzolla, a major influence and the reason Labro picked up the bandoneon, is also the title of his recent release on Azica Records with classical guitarist Jason Vieaux and A Far Cry chamber orchestra.  It features Labro’s arrangements of the tango master’s Four Seasons.  Other upcoming releases include Grammy-award winning vocalist Cassandra Wilson’s Another Country (eOne Music) and critically acclaimed Hot Club of Detroit’s Junction on Mack Avenue Records.

Labro’s compositions on Junction reveal his broad musical inspiration, ranging from a piece that honors late pianist George Shearing (“Goodbye Mr. Shearing”) to a Jean Cocteau poem read at Django Reinhardt’s funeral (“Django Mort”). His arrangements on the album, which include Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman” and Parisian standard “La Foule,” highlight Labro’s innovative approach to traditional music and his willingness to transcend boundaries in melding different genres, styles, and sounds.

Labro tours with jazz groups such as the Frank Vignola Ensemble, Jazz Wagon, The Oblivion Project, and Hot Club of Detroit. His performance schedule includes jazz venues such as Birdland, Blue Note, Yoshi’s, Dazzle, The Green Mill, Nighttown, Sculler’s, Chris’ Jazz Cafe, Dakota Jazz Club, Jazz Kitchen, and festivals such as Jazz Aspen Snowmass, Detroit Jazz Festival, Blissfest, Jazz Salt Lake City, Soave Guitar Festival (IT), Quebec International Music Festival (CA), the International Finnish Accordion Festival, and the International Las Vegas Accordion Convention, where he was featured with accordion legends Dick Contino and Art Van Damme.

In addition, he has been a guest artist with numerous symphonies and chamber ensembles such as the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, A Far Cry chamber orchestra, the Cape Cod Symphony, the Grosse Pointe Symphony, the Birmingham-Bloomfield Symphony, the Saginaw Symphony, the Macomb Symphony, the Bijou Orchestra, the Michigan Pops Orchestra, the Linden String Quartet, the Prairie Ensemble, and the Spektral Quartet.

Recently, Labro has shared the stage or recorded with artists such as Brazilian pianist João Gilberto, Larry Coryell, John & Bucky Pizzarelli, Victor Goines, James Carter, Frank Vignola, Anat Cohen, Howard Alden, Tommy Emmanuel, Joel Frahm, Jason Vieaux, Lebanese oud master Marcel Khalife, and singer Cassandra Wilson.

On a creative level, Labro has been enlisted as an arranger for several professional ensembles, most recently for Ensemble Vivant of Toronto, the conductorless Boston-based chamber orchestra A Far Cry, and Curtis On Tour from the Curtis Institute of Music faculty of Philadelphia.

Labro is married to pianist Jia Li, and they make their home in downtown Toronto. They enjoy cooking, the thriving local film industry, the food and restaurant scene, and traveling around the world.


Programs Available with Symphonies

Click here for programs available with symphony orchestras (pdf)

Programs Available with Chamber Group
for Tango"
» Julien Labro on bandoneón and accordina. With The Spektral Quartet
Bandoneón master Julien Labro pays tribute to the tango nuevo and the music of Astor Piazzolla. The program explores the unusual
instrumentation of bandoneón with string quartet, the distinctive musical style and repertoire of the tango genre and its evolution.
Showcasing the bandoneón, the true soul of tango, this ensemble will transport the audience to the cafés, nightclubs, and streets of Buenos Aires.
Program includes:
  • Luis Bacalov - Il Postino
  • Carlos Gardel - El Día Que Me Quieras, and Por Una Cabeza
  • Astor Piazzolla - Five Tango Sensations; Adios Nonino; Milonga Loca; Oblivion; Tres Minutos con la Realidad; Escualo
  • Angel Villoldo - El Choclo
"Five for Tango" - Julien Labro with The Spektral Quartet (pdf)

"A Journey Through South America"
» Immerse yourself in the captivating Latin rhythms of Brazil, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Argentina and Paraguay as accordionist Julien Labro and Spektral string quartet lead you to an electrifying evening featuring music by Villa-Lobos, Pascoal, Grenet, Romero, Barrios, Piazzolla, Otero, Schissi, and more. 

Showcasing the unique tone qualities of the three main instruments of the accordion family (accordion, bandoneón and accordina) blended with the luscious sounds of the string quartet, this program displays a rich, joyful and rhythmically charged repertoire with a dash of romanticism.

"A Journey Through South America" - Julien Labro with The Spektral Quartet (pdf)

"The Wandering Squeezbox"
» Julien Labro on accordion, bandoneón and accordina.  With The Spektral Quartet
Julien Labro presents a rich and diverse program featuring the versatility of the accordion and its relative instruments: the bandoneón, and the accordina. With a wide selection of music ranging from Venezuela to the Czech Republic, this program will take you on a journey through various musical cultures and time periods.
Program includes:
  • Anton Dvořák - Five Bagatelles (string trio & accordion)
  • Ennio Morricone - Cinema Paradiso
  • Marjan Mozetich - Dance of the Blind (string trio & accordion)
  • Astor Piazzolla - The Angel Suite; and The Devil Suite
  • Aldemaro Romero - Fuga con Pajarillo
"The Wandering Squeezebox" - Julien Labro with The Spektral Quartet (pdf)

"A French Affair"
» Julien Labro on accordion and bandoneón.  With piano, violin and cello.
Be swept away in a romantic night of music that evokes joy and sorrow; love and despair, where the maze of intense emotions
surpasses time and space. French accordionist Julien Labro showcases this national instrument performing the music of
impressionist and other composers linked to the French culture.
Program includes:
  • Julien Labro - Frantic
  • Pat Metheny - Au Lait
  • Astor Piazzolla - Ballet Tango; and Vayamos Al Diablo
  • Francis Poulenc -  Improvisation XV
  • Maurice Ravel - Introduction & Allegro
  • Erik Satie - Gnossienne # 1 & # 3; and Gymnopédie #1 (solo accordion)
"A French Affair" - Julien Labro with piano, violin, cello (pdf)


Click here to view detailed information on Julien Labro's jazz group Hot Club of Detroit


“Brilliant accordionist”
- Howard Reich / Chicago Tribune

“Julien Labro steals the show with his improvisations. He is the best jazz accordionist I’ve heard since Art Van Damme, and that was, what? The late ’50s? Like Van Damme, Labro plays the instrument in a rapid, single-note style, evidently adapted from Bud Powell.” 
 - Lynn Rene Bayley / Fanfare Magazine

“Julien Labro put on a show that was blistering in both pace and quality.”
- Stewart Oksenhorn / Aspen Times


Note: all of the documents, audio and video samples below can be downloaded and used in your publicity by opening the item and then saving to your computer.  Or you can copy the link and use the link on your website by right clicking on the link and then selecting "Copy link location".

Audio & Video Samples
youtube Julien Labro with the Spektral Quartet performing "Milonga Loca" by Astor Piazzolla
youtube Julien Labro with the Spektral Quartet performing "Il Postino"
youtube Julien Labro with the Spektral Quartet performing "Fear" by Astor Piazzolla
youtube Julien Labro with the Hot Club of Detroit

Julien Labro Biography (pdf)

Hi-Res Photos
Julien Labro Hi-Res with accordion color - credit Cybelle Codish
Julien Labro Hi-Res with accordion B&W - credit Cybelle Codish
Julien Labro Hi-Res with bandoneon color - credit Cybelle Codish
Julien Labro Hi-Res with accordina color - credit Cybelle Codish

Low-Res Photos
Julien Labro and Spektral Quartet Live
Julien Labro and Spektral Quartet Live 2
Julien Labro Lo-Res color - credit Cybelle Codish
Julien Labro Low-Res with accordion color - credit Cybelle Codish
Julien Labro Low-Res with accordion B&W - credit Cybelle Codish
Julien Labro Low-Res with accordina color - credit Cybelle Codish

Review Julien Labro and Jason Vieaux Boston Musical Intelligencer October 2012

Artist Home Page

Request PR Materials
Click here to request a printed PR package on Julien Labro
including his latest CD*
Click here to request a digital download copy of Julien Labro's
latest CD*
* Note CD's and digital access to CD's are strictly for performing arts centers, festivals, clubs and for producers of live performances. 
All other  requests should be forwarded to the artist's label. 
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Hector Vega