Julien Labro Quartet
JULIEN LABRO – ACCORDIONIST~ BANDONEONIST~ COMPOSER ~ ARRANGER
“A phenomenal quartet.” -Rhythm Passport Magazine
Boundary breaking and eclectic, the Julien Labro Quartet escapes easy classification with its unique musical language and blend of improvisation and artistry that draws from each individual musician’s diverse background and musical roots. Inspired by music from around the world and across a myriad of genres, spanning jazz, classical, world and even folk music, the JLQ have crafted a refreshingly genre-bending, multilayered contemporary voice, rich with harmony, rhythm, and spontaneity that sets them indescribably apart. Under the direction of accordionist/bandoneónist Julien Labro, the quartet masterfully weaves together a diverse range of musical traditions while never forgetting that music is meant to be enjoyed.
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.
Picking up the accordion at the tender age of 9, 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 like Charlie Parker and Miles Davis, 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, 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, respectively, Labro moved to the United States, where he further pursued his studies and musical dream and was exposed to and 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 influences in his professional life as a performer, arranger, and composer. His passion for promoting the understanding and love of music has well been recognized through his master classes at renowned institutions such as the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music.
As a musician and artist, Labro is constantly evolving. He searches for new themes and untried concepts, transforming and developing his creative ideas into new projects. In 2015, he performed and debuted his first concerto, Apricity, with the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra. Additionally, Labro curated an all-‐accordion concert for the prestigious University Musical Society (UMS) in an event entitled “The Big Squeeze: An Accordion Summit” at Hill Auditorium. Previously asked a couple seasons ago by the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL., Labro, once again, reunited some of the instruments’ finest players to display the versatility of the accordion and its various cousins.
Piazzolla, a major influence and the reason Labro picked up the bandoneón, is also the title of his album on Azica Records with classical guitarist and Grammy Award winner Jason Vieaux and A Far Cry chamber orchestra. It features Labro’s arrangements of the tango master’s Four Seasons. Other 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, which features many of Labro’s original compositions, revealing his wide understanding and mastery of different genres, innovative approach as well as his broad musical inspirations.
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