Daniel Rojas

Composer, Piano

Dr Daniel Rojas is 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.

Graduating with the University Medal and obtaining a doctorate in composition from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where he is on faculty as Associate Professor, Rojas’ accolades include the Fellowship of Australian Composers Award, Frank Albert Prize, and Miriam Hyde Memorial Award. A finalist 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, North Sydney Symphony, Sydney Youth and Sydney University Symphony Orchestras and most recently, a suite for piano and orchestra. As a performer, now widely recognised as Australia’s tango piano specialist, Rojas won second prize in the prestigious international 2021 Piazzolla Music Competition, and performs his own arrangements of iconic and popular Latin American songs alongside his own compositions, sharing with audiences the original spirit of each work as he plays it.

2023 season engagements included with the North Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Willoughby Symphony Orchestra in a two-piano premiere with orchestra ‘Romanza y danza de los muertos’ (with collaborative pianist Yerim Lee, conducted by Sarah Penicka-Smith), and concerts with bandonéonist Stephen Cuttriss, including for Live at Lunch at the Concourse (Sydney), and with Nexas Quartet. Daniel also was a focus of the Ver Más Australia’s 2022 documentary ‘Beats of Colours’, centred around artists returning to performing life after the pandemic, which was shortlisted in the 2023 Antenna Awards, and International Multicultural Film Festival (Perth).

2021 brought Rojas’ brilliant new album of original works and arrangements of well-known Latin classics, Bliss of Heaven: Music of the New World (Da Vinci Classics). Recorded in São Paulo, Brazil with the Baldini Quartet (of OSESP Concertmaster, Emmanuele Baldini) and bandonéon specialist, Stephen Cuttriss, it is “a heavenly alchemy of mambo, salsa and Andean folk music fused with classical sensibilities”. Testament to the broad appeal of the music on this album, Rojas toured this program extensively with Ensemble Apex Quartet in 2021-2022 including sold-out shows for Sydney Festival, Orange Chamber Music Festival, the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre and for Live at Yours, Art Gallery of NSW, and Musica Viva Australia. Rojas also performed in the world premiere of his 2022 work, Mercado, with the Woollahra Philharmonic Orchestra.

Other recent highlights include as soloist the world premiere of his Libertango Suite with The Metropolitan Orchestra (conducted by Sarah-Grace Williams), a modular, widely-appealing piano concerto inspired by classic tango works by the legendary Astor Piazzolla. Composer-in-Residence with Willoughby Symphony Orchestra in 2017, Rojas performed as soloist his first piano concerto, The Latin, and completed the world premiere of Cantos Españoles, 3 songs of Garçia Lorca, for mezzo soprano and orchestra. Rojas performed for Melbourne Recital Centre’s 10th birthday celebrations, City Recital Hall’s A Little Lunch Music series; Newcastle Music Festival, Australian Tango Festival, and with saxophonist Nick Russoniello and The Golden Age Quartet. As half of the Oblivion Tango Duo with Daniel Wallace-Crabbe, Rojas released the album Nocturna earning solid reviews in 2019.

Published by Reed Music Australia and the Australian Music Centre, Rojas’ solo CD, Latin Piano Expressions, was selected as Limelight magazine’s ‘Editor’s Choice’. 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.  Program Director of Composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music from 2020 to 2023, Rojas is currently Acting Program Director for the Arts (Music Major) degree, at the University of Sydney.

For more information please see danielrojas.com.au or Daniel’s Facebook or YouTube.

Latest News

Australian composer and pianist Dr Daniel Rojas has won second prize in the Solo division of the International Piazzolla Music Competition, 2021. Read more here.

Daniel’s latest album, Bliss of Heaven: Music of the New World (Da Vinci Classics) available for streaming and purchase: read more here. Music from the album also features in Ver Más Australia’s Beats of Colours: watch the short documentary about Rojas and tango artists, here.

Upcoming highlights
Sunday 26 May, 2024 at 2:30pm: Daniel Rojas performs as soloist movements from his ‘Libertango Suite’ at the Concourse Concert Hall (Sydney) with the Musicus Medicus orchestra, conducted by Dr Joanna Drimatis – tickets here.

Client:Daniel Rojas