“Is the Bandoneon a living creature? It may seem so.…In the hands of a skilled musician it starts to grumble
and whine, to breathe and to sing its heart out. Few people can play it like Raul Jaurena – he literally embraces
it and elicits from it the whole range of emotions that this unique instrument is able to evoke.”
Raul Jaurena, master of the Tango, is among today’s most prominent bandoneon players. His music plays a very personal tribute to the influences of his native South America and his adopted hometown of New York. It combines the traditional roots of the tango and the style of the “TangoNuevo” influenced by Astor Piazzolla.
The bandoneon has influenced Jaurena’s life right from the cradle. He was raised in Uruguay and his father taught him how to play the bandoneon – at the age of eight he already joined a tango orchestra. The fascination for this highly emotional music grabbed him and has not let go of him ever since. As a member of and adaptor for various renowed tango-ensembles in the nineteensixties and seventies in Uruguay, Argentina ,Brasil, Chile, Ecuador and Venezuela, Raul Jaurena lays the tracks for his career. A performance together with Astor Piazzolla at the Montreal Jazz Festival turns out be guiding for his musical development. The conservation of the musical spirit of Astor Piazzolla becomes his personal vocation: Jaurena’s tango interpretations which are enriched by influences of jazz, his own arrangements and spontaneous improvisations fascinate a new generation of listeners and dancers.
Besides, his activities remain as many-faceted as the artist himself. His arrangements and his skills as a composer and a solo player make him equally popular both in the USA and in Europe. The ballet suite he composes in 1995 for the Irene Hultman Dance Company debuts in New York and is shortly after awarded the “Bessie”. During the same year he was invited to the White House and received a Grammy nomination for his CD Tango Bar. In 2007 he won a LATIN GRAMMY for best Tango Album “Te amo Tango”.
Over the years he has taking charge of the musical direction of many other stage projects and among other things he plays guest performances at the Thalia Spanish Theatre in New York. He has played with Cuban Jazz saxophone player Paquito D’Rivera, Yo Yo Ma, Giora Feidman, Tango Five and others. As a soloist he plays with prominent ensembles and orchestras throughout Europe and he has perform regularly a series of programs including Klezmer and Tango Music. He has performed at different Universities and Schools with Tango Music Symposium in Hannover, Halle Kassel, Hamburg, Lubeck, Munter, Lingen, Landshut, Muhigorf, Heidelberg, Bonn, Kiel, Celle, Wurzburg, and Bremen. He was invited as a special guest to the International Accordeon Festival in San Antonio, Texas and his show Tango & Tango had great success at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago.
He toured through Europe with TANGO FIVE and singer Marga Mitchell with the program AMANDO A BUENOS AIRES in 2001. He has been invited to at the Merkin Concert Hall in New York with Russian violinist Nina Bellina, the Cleveland Museum of Art en World Music and Dance Series, the Orchestra Concertante of Chicago conducted by Hilel Kagan, and at the Fiedrichsbau Theatre in Stuttgart, Germany along with TANGO FIVE and Marga Mitchell.
From the last 12 years he does a series of concerts with the Pan American Symphony Orquesta Opera Maria De Buenos Aires, Sudwestdeutsche Philharmonie Konstanz with Marga Mitchell and Tango Five, The North/South Chamber Orchestra at the Merkin Hall (New York) Conductor Max Lifchitz, and Tango Mundo at Montclair State University. He performs a series of concerts with Giora Feidman he tours (Boblingen, Balingen, Russelsheim Theatre, Wurzburg, Ludwigsburg, Bonn, Tuttlinge, Stadthalle, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland and Germany) During the same year he performs with The Little Orchestra Society at Lincoln Center along with conductor Dino Anagnost, and also performs with LET’S TANGO at East Carolina University. In Israel he performs with the Israel Kibbutz Orchestra, and in Finland at the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival.
He was presented an ACE Award (Asocacion de cronistas de espectaculos de la ciudad de New York) for his professional trajectory. As the result of a continuing search for new experiences, Jaurena’s music has turned into something truly unique. It reflects the influences of different cultures as well as one hundred years of tango history with all its contradicting emotions. Raul Jaurena – the man that Astor Piazolla once called one of the greatest bandoneon players ever – has established a unique connection to his instrument: Genuine, open, touching, with stunning technical brilliance his play has enriched and added an important facet to modern tango interpretation.