Dr Daniel Rojas is renowned as an award-winning composer specialising in the rich and vibrant Latin American aesthetic, as well as an acclaimed pianist specialising in Latin and tango music, and stunning improvisations at the keyboard. Rojas is one of the few composers who performs his own work – bringing real, inimitable warmth and verve to every performance – and is widely recognised as Australia’s tango piano specialist. In his work as a composer and improviser, Rojas draws from a broad musical palette that includes Latin American indigenous, folk, classical and popular traditions, and Western contemporary classical and jazz languages and techniques.
Graduating with the University Medal and obtaining a doctorate in composition from the Conservatorium of Music, Sydney University, Rojas has won many prizes including the Fellowship of Australian Composers Award, Frank Albert Prize, the Miriam Hyde Memorial Award, and the Keys National Piano Composition Competition. One of three finalists in Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s 21st Century Young Composers program, he has received commissions from Prima La Musica Chamber Orchestra of Ghent (Belgium), The Metropolitan Orchestra, Kammer Ensemble, Omega Ensemble, percussionist Claire Edwardes, soprano Jane Sheldon, and pianist Zubin Kanga. Among his works, he has composed two piano concertos commissioned by Ars Musica Australis and performed by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Youth Orchestra, North Sydney, Ku-ring-gai and Sydney University Symphony Orchestras, recently featuring as soloist for ‘The Latin’, his first piano concerto with both the Willoughby, and North Sydney Symphony Orchestra, to standing ovations.
Recent engagements include the Richard Bonynge Piano Series at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, Encuentros Españoles Festival, Queensland Multicultural Centre, with Nexas Quartet, Australian Music Days, ABC Classic FM Sunday Live, with his 6-piece ensemble, Tango Paradiso and two-piano performances with renowned pianist, Zubin Kanga. Rojas enjoyed several world premieres of his compositions, including works for solo piano in 2015, and the Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra, by The Metropolitan Orchestra.
As 2017 Composer-in-Residence with the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra, the orchestra performed three of Rojas’ major orchestral works, including his first piano concerto, ‘The Latin’ (for which he performed as soloist), his marimba concerto with Claire Edwardes as soloist and the world premiere of Cantos Españoles, 3 Songs of Garcia Lorca for mezzo soprano and orchestra. Alongside the residency and into 2018, Daniel performs solo and with various ensembles (including his own Orquesta La Luna, and Brisbane’s Mendoza Quartet) at the Adelaide Festival, Australian and Byron Bay Tango Festivals, Riverina Conservatorium, for Newcastle’s Twilight Musical Dialogues and Camelot Lounge. 2019 sees solo and collaborative concerts for Melbourne Recital Centre’s summer festival with bandonéon, Newcastle Music Festival, as soloist with new arrangements of classic tango works with The Metropolitan Orchestra, concerts for Peninsula Music Club and Live at Lunch at The Concourse (Sydney), and two new recordings for 2018/2019 release.
Published by Reed Music Australia and the Australian Music Centre, Rojas was declared “a master of his instrument” following the 2012 release of his solo album, Latin Piano Expressions, which was selected as Limelight magazine’s ‘Editor’s Choice’ in 2013. Rojas’ musical experience also extends to composing and conducting for film, and as a passionate music educator, working with communities, schools, and festivals such as Queensland Music Festival. He is also a Lecturer at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
Daniel’s CD, Latin Piano Expressions, declared Limelight Magazine ‘Editor’s Choice’ (October 2013) – read the review
- "Latin America, it would seem, has really arrived in Australian music!"Prof. Anne Boyd, Composer
- "energetic and emphatic… joyously explosive… the audience applauded rapturously"Sydney Arts Guide, 2017Live review, Rojas' 'The Latin', WSO (Rojas as soloist)
- “Use of extreme reaches of the piano’s register and a configuration of stopped strings created disturbing sound worlds in Entre Bajos y Alturas by Daniel Rojas. The tortured tango of Ochos Entre Dos sounded like Piazzolla held captive at Azkaban”Canberra Times