“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, pianist, composer and arranger. He specialises in tango music including the works of Astor Piazzolla, as well as classical, contemporary and world music. The bandoneon, the instrument of Astor Piazzolla, is a free reed instrument renowned for the beauty of its sound, and for its remarkable expressive range and flexibility. Julian’s bandoneon takes him to a variety of locations including TV and recording studios, the West End stage, concert halls, theatres, and opera houses.
Upcoming highlights include a residency at the Harrogate Festival performing works by Piazzolla and Dowland.
Highlights of 2021-2022 included international festival appearances with Tango Siempre and the first tour of their new show Tango Encounters, as well as performances of Palmeri’s Misa Tango, and of Weill with the National Symphony Orchestra, Dublin.
In 2019 Julian toured Tango Siempre’s show Tangomotion, and appeared at the Purcell Room, National Concert Hall Dublin, Edinburgh Fringe, and the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.
Julian’s 2018 album “Language of the Heart” with the Santiago Quartet attracted praise from artists including Sting – “stunning chromatic clarity … truly special”, and Bob Geldof – “Sexier than 50 Shades of Grey”. Other recent recording work has included Bryan Ferry’s 2018 album “Bittersweet” and the soundtrack of “Loving Vincent”.
Julian often plays on BBC TV “Strictly Come Dancing” and has appeared on “The One Show” , “Zingzillas”, ITV’s “Surprise Surprise”, BBC Radio 3’s “In Tune” and “The Sound of Dance”, BBC Radio 4 “Front Row”, and “The Tom Robinson Show” on Radio 6. 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.
Other artists and ensembles with whom he has worked include the Philharmonia Orchestra, Philharmonia Chamber Players, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, the City of London Sinfonia, Chineke, Fatma Said, Omar Puente, and the RTE Concert Orchestra.
Julian Rowlands’ repertoire includes Bach, Schubert and Schumann; the major works of Astor Piazzolla: the concertos, quintets, Tango Sensations and solo arrangements; the operas Maria de Buenos Aires (Piazzolla) and Mahagonny (Weill); the Misa a Buenos Aires (Misatango) by Martin Palmieri; solo classical pieces, traditional and contemporary tango arrangements, chamber music, and his own compositions.
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. Other composing and arranging credits include “Flying into daylight” by Emmy award winning writer Ron Hutchinson, Tangomotion and other Tango Siempre productions, and Violetta’s Last tango.
Publications by Julian Rowlands in the Schott World Music series include “Argentinian Tango and Folk Tunes for Piano”, “Russian Folk Tunes for Piano“, “Russian Folk Tunes for Accordion“, “Klezmer Piano” and “Klezmer Fiddle” (with Ros Stephen).
Julian lives in London with violinist and composer Ros Stephen and their daughter Ellie.