Truly one of the world's premier bandoneonists, Raul Jaurena is a musical director, arranger, and composer as well as a musician, and though he was born in and frequently travels to Uruguay, he calls New York City home. For many years, he served as Musical Director of tango productions at the Thalia Spanish Theatre in Sunnyside, NY, where many of his own productions were staged. His recording catalog is brief yet notably includes the Latin Grammy Award-winning album Te Amo Tango (2007). In terms of influence, a performance alongside Astor Piazzolla at the Montreal Jazz Festival inspired him to adopt the master's nuevo tango approach.
Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Jaurena was taught by his father how to play the bandoneon. At age eight he joined his first tango orchestra and at 15 became a member of the Donato Raciatti Orchestra. He later graduated with honors from the National Conservatory of Uruguay, where he tango ensembles he performed throughout South America and, in time, the remainder of the world.
In 1988 Jaurena moved to the United States and found a home for himself in New York City, where he has performed at Lincoln Center among other venues. He has also performed all over Europe, in addition to North and South America. His performances, accomplishments, and accolades are far too numerous to list. His longtime affiliation with the Thalia Spanish Theatre is certainly noteworthy, however, for he staged numerous productions there over the years.
As a recording artist, Jaurena most notably contributed to the 1992 album The New Tango: New York-Buenos Aires Connection (as producer and performer); the 1995 New York Tango Trio album Cabarute (producer, arranger, composer, performer); and the Grammy-nominated 2001 album Tango Bar (arranger, performer). Plus, his 2006 solo album, Te Amo Tango, was awarded the 2007 Latin Grammy Award for Best Tango Album. ~ Jason Birchmeier