Carel Kraayenhof
(musician and composer)

Duo with Dobal

Carel Kraayenhof en Juan Pablo Dobal

Argentinian pianist Juan Pablo Dobal accompanies Carel at DUO-sessions.

Carel Kraayenhof worked as bandoneonsolist around the world with (among others):

  • Brabants Orkest
  • Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest
  • Metropole Orkest – conducted by Dick Bakker
  • Philips Symfonie Orkest
  • Residentieorkest
  • Concertgebouw Kamer Orkest
  • Gelders Orkest
  • Residentie Orkest
  • Amsterdam Sinfonietta
  • Orkest van het Oosten
  • Limburgs Symfonie Orkest
  • Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn
  • London Symphony – in Londen en Daytona Beach (VS)
  • Cincinnati Symphony
  • Hong Kong Philharmonic
  • Sinfonia Rotterdam
  • Orchestras in Germany, Estonia, Russia, Austria, Australia (Perth, Adelaide en Sydney) and China (Xiang en Beijing)

Born in Waalre (NL) in 1958, Carel was eight years old when he first laid his eyes on a piano music book. Carel discovered music to be his greatest passion and has always been a very important way for him to communicate.

In the mid 70’s Carel was highly influenced by his brother Jaap with Irish, Scottish and English folk music, and learned to play melodeon and the English concertina. In the early 80’s Carel had contact with a bandoneón for the first time. Those sounds stroke him like a lightning. At that moment he knew, without a doubt, that he wanted to be a bandoneonist.

From then on his career moved at a fast pace. In 1987 he was asked by Astor Piazzolla to come play for him in New York (Tango Apasionado, a Broadway tango musical). In 1988 he was invited, together with his Sexteto Canyengue, by Osvaldo Pugliese to come to Argentina. In 1993 he started the Argentine Tango course at the Rotterdam’s Conservatorium Codarts and received the ‘Golden Nutcracker’ from the Dutch Performing Arts Association. In 1996 the Sexteto Canyengue made an appearance at the Montreal Jazz Festival. In 1997 and 1998 they were headliners of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

On February 2nd 2002 his career took a leap forward. Carel played ‘Adiós Nonino’ at the Dutch royal wedding of HRH Prince Willem-Alexander and, originally Argentinean, Máxima Zorreguieta (now HRH King and Queen of The Netherlands). More than 55 million people around the world watched the ceremony. The wedding’s sound track went triple platinum. Several awards followed in the years after, including in 2003 the Edison People’s Choice Award Classic and in 2005 an official decoration from the Argentine government for his efforts as an ambassador for the tango music. In 2012 Carel is named Officer of Oranje Nassau by Queen Beatrix (NL).

Carel’s concerts have been popular since then. Numerous tours (national and international*), albums, projects and collaborations with Dutch and international artists** have been taking place. Carel celebrated 30 years of his career with his ensemble’s last theater tour named ‘30!’. And in 2018 he received an Edison Oeuvre Award Jazz/World Music for all his efforts in the Dutch music culture.

Having composed over 80 pieces, Carel is also an established name for new tango and South American music. From solo pieces for bandoneón or dual with piano and sextet to full orchestra scores, all is possible in his creative mind.

Carel has played solo, with classical orchestras (for example London Symphony Orchestra) and in several long lasting collaborations with his own Sexteto Canyengue and Carel Kraayenhof Ensemble and in a duo formation with Argentinean pianist Juan Pablo Dobal. This shows his flexibility as an artist and highlights his adaptability with different music genres. Tango is his passion but making music is his way of life.

* USA, Canada, Ireland, Russia, Australia, China, England, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Indonesia, Scotland, Portugal, Finland, Japan, South Korea, etc.

** Sting, Ennio Morricone, Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Kristjan Jarvi, Janine Jansen, Lavinia Meijer, Youp van ’t Hek, Herman van Veen, André Hazes, Bløf, Jurk, 3J’s, Caro Emerald, Paul de Leeuw, JURK!, among others. Carel also shared the podium with Trijntje Oosterhuis, Dana Winner, René Froger, Marco Borsato, among others.



  • Carel Kraayenhof plays with the Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn in the Concertgebouw Amsterdam. Conductor is Vincent de Kort. The concert is broadcasted live by  NPO Radio 4 (11.00 uur – 12.15 uur). Listen here.
  • Soon 2020 is marken by the worldwide corona pandemic. No concerts during most months of the year.
  • Carel and Vincent de Kort join forces to introduce tango to grand orchestras. Promising teamwork that will teach the beauty of tango to the big international orchestras.
  • Carel plays different theatre concerts with Juan Pablo Dobal, Leoni Jansen, Jeroen van Veen and Sven Ratzka.
  • Ennio Morricone passes on july 6th. Carel delivers an ode to the legendary composer on the NPO1-show Op1.
  • Carel Kraayenhop bij Op1


  • Carel plays Ode aan de Meester. An ode to the work and career of choreographer Hans van Manen.
  • Carel plays 5 Tango’s.
  • Together with Juan Pablo Dobal Carel tours with Tiempo Loco/Crazy Times. A concert with compositions that reflect the crazy times we live in. An album with the same title is released.
    Tiempo Loco
  • The jubilee that marks 70th year of the Keukenhof speelt Carel enkele composities ter gelegenheid van het 70-jarig bestaan van het park.
  • Together with Leoni Jansen and Jeroen van Veen, Carel stars in the theatre concert Brakland.
  • Acteur en tegelijk musicus is Carel in de voorstelling Lost Tango van Via Berlin. In deze voorstelling speelt het Ragazze Quartet samen met het befaamde tangotrio van Carel Kraayenhof.
  • Acting and playing bandoneon at the same time: in Lost Tango. The Ragazze Quartet and Carels famous tangotrio perform together on stage.


  • Carels 30th year as a musician. Befriended musicians congratulate him.
  • Carel is awarde the Edison Oeuvreprijs World.
  • The Carel Kraayenhof Ensemble celebrate their 30 year anniversary. It is celebrated with the theatre concert ¡30! Bevlogen Tangojaren and the album ¡30! Passionate Tango Years. It’s also the end of the ensemble. After thirty years the team splits. Carel will play solo or in duo with Juan Pablo Dobal.¡30! Passionate Tango Years


  • Liberación premiers. The show tours along the Dutch theatres
  • Carel en Juan Pablo perform in Finland with Joensuu Orchestra
  • On May 5th (Liberation Day) a special of Liberación was played during festivities in Amsterdam. Carels composition Madiba premiers.


  • In February Carel plays with MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • In May the duo travels to Doha for a King’s Day Event
  • The Carel Kraayenhof Ensemble tours Indonesia
  • July: Carel solos during Espinho Classical Orchestra’s concert on the Festival Internacional de Musica de Espinho, Portugal.
  • During the second half of 2014 Carel starts a special, enduring cooperation with harpist Lavinia Meijer.


  • The Kraayenhof Tango Ensemble plays in Seoel and Las Palmas.
  • At the International Tango Festival in Edinburgh Sexteto Canyengue is noted for their beautiful compositions.
  • On April 30th Carels ‘Suite Compasion’ premiers with the Residentie Orkest in Den Haag.
  • Besides from musicianing The duo, Carel Kraayenhof & Juan Pablo Dobal, will give lectures on tango.

    Foto Govert de Roos

    Carel Kraayenhof en Juan Pablo Dobal


  • The duo plays in Italiy (Cavatore), Sexteto Canyengue plays in Turkey (Bodrum) en France (Tarbes).
  • Albums ‘PURO’ en ‘íFuerza!’ are released.
  • On behalf of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix Carel is awarded a Dutch a knighthood in the Order of Oranje Nassau.
  • Sting invites Carel to record two songs for his latest album.
  • Between Ocotber and December Carel plays for different artists recordings: Caro Emerald (Tangled Up), 3J’s, LA The Voices (met Gordon), JURK! (Jeroen van Koningsbrugge & Dennis van de Ven) and Frans Duijts.
  • Late September the Kraayenhof Tango Ensemble plays four concerts on Java, Indonesia.
  • In November and December Carel plays as a solist at the Sinfonia Rotterdam zeven concerts in the Netherlands and three in Siberia.


  • Carel accompanies ten shows of Het Nationale Ballet Orkest titled ‘5 Tangos’ with choreograpies of Hans van Manen.
  • The Kraayenhof Tango Ensemble is founded together with the DUO Kraayenhof/Dobal.
  • Stichting ‘Nederland Positief’ awards Carel a lifetime achievement award for his work in the pas 24 years.
  • Concerts in France (Toulouse) and Germany (Hamburg).


  • Carel tours with Compassion
  • Carel accompanies violinist Joshua Bell on PBS’s ‘Joshua Bell live @ Lincoln Center’ in New York.
  • Solo shows with (among others) Orchestre National du Lyon and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra
  • Solo concert in Marseille.
  • Sting invites Carel to accompnay him during his concerts in the GelreDome, Arnhem.


  • Carels joins the effort to add tango to the UNESCO world heritage.
  • Josua Bell invites Carel to play two compositions, Oblivion and Il Postino, on his latest album ‘Josua Bell and Friends’ (EMI).
  • Sexteto Canyengue plays with the famous Absolute Ensemble o.l.v. Kristjan Jarvi at the festival ‘Musik Fest Bremen’.
  • In October ‘Compassion’ is released A tour with 40 concerts follows.


  • The Chinese government and the international Red Cross invite Carel to play in Xian and Beijing. For the victims of the great earthquake. In Beijing Carel performed in the ‘Great Hall of the People’.


  • Starting 2005 Carel plays with  Sexteto Canyengue, around the world a solo artist with grand symphony orchestras.
  • The Argentinian government awards Carel for his work on Argentinian tango in the past 20 years.

Carel on Spotify