Guitar, Bass, Piano, Percussion
Rafael was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and lived in the island of Puerto Rico for 25 years, playing music all throughout the island and the Caribbean. At the age of 25, he moved to New York City to pursue a graduate degree.
Rafael’s first exposure to music came at the hands of his mother, who would play old trio records of “Trio Los Panchos” and all sorts of Salsa/Latin Jazz/Caribbean Music around the house, including Hector Lavoe, Eddie Palmieri, Celia Cruz, Willie Colon, Tito Puente, Roberto Rohena, Gilberto Santa Rosa, and Juan Luis Guerra.
He completed his B.A. from the Inter American University in Popular Music studying under the tutelage of some of the best musicians in Puerto Rico including Ricardo Pons, Francisco Serrano, Fernando Mattina, Pedro Rivera Toledo and Miguel Cubano. He followed that up with a M.M. in Jazz Performance from New York University’s Steinhart School Of Music studying with many New York Jazz icons.
Rafael’s favorite pieces of music span from Rachmaninoff's Piano Concertos, Debussy’s orchestral pieces, Stravinsky’s Ballets including The Rite of Spring and Petrushka, and Schoenberg’s 12 tone/serial compositions all the way to Jobim’s bossa novas and Ismael Rivera in salsa.
Rafael has extensive success as a performing musician including with Luba Mason’s Mixtura, several Off-Broadway musicals, the Afro-Peruvian Group Karachacha and the Rafael Rosa Group. His critically acclaimed debut record “Portrait” was released Jan 2014.
Rafael’s approach to teaching focuses on putting the student in a position to succeed with what he or she has and want to achieve. Quoting Bruce Lee, he notes: “A teacher is never a giver of truth- he is a guide, a pointer to the truth that each student must find for himself. A good teacher is merely a catalyst.”