Julien Labro

As a young boy growing up in Rodez France, Julien Labro watched a professional accordionist perform on television. Fascinated by the instrument, Labro begged his parents to allow him to try his hand at it, and by age nine, it became obvious that they had a musical prodigy on their hands. Since then, Labro has established himself as an international accordion star in both the classical and jazz worlds.

By age fifteen, Julien, who had recently graduated from the Marseille Conservatory of Music, quickly 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 began studying under internationally acclaimed accordion maestro Peter Soave. The liaison with Soave resulted in the opportunity for Labro to move and study in the United States, a dream that he had harbored for several years.

Since 1998, Labro's reputation as a formidable and dazzling musician has continued to grow on this side of the Atlantic. Upon entering Wayne State University, Labro mastered the bayan (classical accordion) and its repertoire, and discovered the bandoneón (tango accordion). Labro was a three time winner of WSU's Concerto Competition and a recipient of many prestigious scholarships. Inducted into the Pi Kappa Lambda Honorary Musical Fraternity, Labro was recognized by the United States Achievement Academy as a Collegiate All-American Scholar in 2003 and 2004. Labro, a 2005 Magna Cum Laude Bayan Performance graduate, grabbed 1st prizes in the Vivian Stolaruk Intl. Entertainment Award (Detroit, MI) and the Art Van Damme Intl. Jazz Accordion Competition (Dallas, TX).

Labro has toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe, and has performed in France, Italy, Slovenia, Andorra, Portugal, Germany, Croatia, Finland, Sweden, and Switzerland. Stateside, he has been a guest artist with numerous symphonies and chamber ensembles such as the Grosse Pointe Symphony, the Birmingham-Bloomfield Symphony, the Saginaw Symphony, the Macomb Symphony, the Bijou Orchestra, the WSU Orchestra, the Michigan Pops Orchestra, the Linden String Quartet and the Prairie Ensemble. Labro also performed at 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.

Recipient of a Masters Degree in Jazz Studies (2007) and in Music Composition (2010), Labro's current jazz activities include performances at numerous jazz venues (Birdland, Blue Note, Yoshi’s, Green Mill, Nighttown, Baker's Keyboard, Chris' Jazz Cafe, Jazz Kitchen) and festivals with innovative groups like "Frank Vignola Ensemble", "Jazz Wagon", "The Oblivion Project", and "Hot Club of Detroit". Labro's performance with the "Hot Club of Detroit" garnered numerous critical acclaims and prizes like "Best Jazz Traditional Group" at the Detroit Music Awards 2006, 2007, and 2008. Recently, Julien has shared the stage with artists such as Joao Gilberto, Bucky Pizzarelli, Tommy Emmanuel, James Carter, Frank Vignola, Anat Cohen, Howard Alden, Joel Frahm, and Jason Vieaux.

Labro has made numerous radio and television appearances in the United States and Europe, and has played and been interviewed on Radio France, Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz on NPR, WEMU, WILL, WRCJ, WDET, Sedge Thomson's West Coast Live, WBGO Jazz, KMHD, KBOO, WFJ-AM's Mitch Albom Show and Fox-Detroit News.

On a creative level, Labro has been enlisted as an arranger for several professional ensembles, most recently for Ensemble Vivant of Toronto, led by international pianist Catherine Wilson.