“here is the tango, raw, intoxicating, speaking with its true voice.” – Financial Times
“composer and bandoneon master Julian Rowlands ensures that the evening reaches the state of tango nirvana” – The Guardian
Julian Rowlands is a bandoneonist, composer and arranger specialising in tango, classical and contemporary music. The bandoneon is a free reed instrument that is renowned for the beauty of its sound, and for its remarkable expressive range and flexibility. Its playing techniques and repertoire were developed in Argentina, where it is the essential voice of the tango. Julian received his degree in music from Southampton University and studied bandoneon with the leading Argentinian player Victor Villena.
Julian is the bandoneonist of leading UK tango ensemble Tango Siempre. He often appears on BBC TV “Strictly Come Dancing” and has played on “The One Show” , “Zingzillas”, ITV’s “Surprise Surprise”, BBC Radio 3’s “In Tune”, BBC Radio 4 “Front Row”, “The Tom Robinson Show” on Radio 6, and at major concert and theatre venues in the UK and Europe. He made his Radio 3 debut in 2010 accompanying bass-baritone Erwin Schrott in a live broadcast from the Royal Opera House, and his Wigmore Hall debut later that year playing Piazzolla’s “Five Tango Sensations” with the soloists of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Together with Ros Stephen and Jonathan Taylor of Tango Siempre, Julian created the score for the Olivier-nominated “Midnight Tango” starring Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone, and appeared in its 480 performances in the west end and on tour from 2011-2013.
In 2014 Julian created the score for “Flying into daylight”, a play by Emmy award winning writer Ron Hutchinson, and performed in the premiere production with Summer Strallen and Jos Vantyler.
In 2015 Julian appeared in the Royal Opera production of Mahagonny by Kurt Weill at Covent Garden.
Other artists and ensembles with whom he has worked include the Philharmonia Chamber Players, the City of London Sinfonia, Chineke, RTE Concert Orchestra, David Juritz and Craig Ogden of the London Tango Quintet, the Bristol Ensemble, Ivo de Greef, Adam Khan, Guillermo Rozenthuler and Javier Fioramonti. He performed in Piazzolla’s “operita” Maria de Buenos Aires and directed the ensemble in the Tête à Tête festival 2013. His recordings of Piazzolla works with the Santiago String Quartet on the 2018 album “Language of the Heart” have attracted praise from artists including Sting, Bob Geldof and Tom Robinson.
Julian regularly collaborates with soprano Ann Liebeck, creating arrangements and performing in the shows “Violetta’s Last Tango” with Cuban violinist Omar Puente and “Tangos for Angels and Demons” with the Tango Siempre septet, as well as recital programmes. Their album “Violetta’s Last Tango” was released in 2016.
Julian Rowlands’ repertoire includes the major works of Astor Piazzolla: the concertos, quintets, Tango Sensations and solo arrangements; the operas Maria de Buenos Aires (Piazzolla) and Mahagonny (Weill); solo classical pieces, traditional and contenporary tango arrangements, chamber music, and his own compositions.
Julian’s work as a composer and arranger includes the score for Midnight Tango (together with Ros Stephen and Jonathan Taylor), many traditional and nuevo tango arrangements for Tango Siempre productions, the incidental music for Flying into Daylight, the repertoire of the Tango Siempre septet Orquesta Tangazo and arrangements for Violetta’s Last Tango. His compositions include chamber and solo pieces for a variety of instruments.
Recordings featuring Julian Rowlands on bandoneon include Malandras del Tango and Midnight Tango [DVD] with Tango Siempre, Violetta’s Last Tango with Ann Liebeck, Language of the Heart with the Santiago Quartet, and Gainsbourg Reimagined.
Julian lives in London with violinist, composer and writer Ros Stephen and their daughter Ellie.