Principal cellist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, where he also excels as a soloist. He has performed as soloist and chamber musician in America, Europe, Japan and Korea. Rafael also won First Prize at the Gregor Piatigorsky Competition in Boston and the Bronze Medal at the Pablo Casals International Competition in Budapest. He actively participates of many summer festivals including the Casals (Puerto Rico), Marlboro, Aspen, Verbier (Switzerland), Musique et Vin au Clos Vougeot (France) and Pacific Music Festival (Sapporo, Japan) festivals.

"The Metropolitan Opera is a vibrant home for the most creative and talented singers, conductors, composers, musicians, stage directors, designers, visual artists, choreographers, and dancers from around the world."

His solo work with the Met Orchestra can be heard and seen worldwide at the popular Met HD broadcasts to movie theaters over several continents as well as the legendary Met radio broadcasts on Saturday afternoons and at the Met Orchestra Carnegie Hall Series. Together with Maestro James Levine and his colleagues from the Met Orchestra, Rafael is heard frequently at the Met Chamber Ensemble Series at Weill and Zankel Halls where he has performed a large range of repertory starting from the baroque and extending to world premieres of works by Elliot Carter, John Harbison and Charles Wuorinen.


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Mr. Figueroa has appeared in recitals at the Kennedy Center, The Library of Congress, Merkin Hall, Jordan Hall and nationwide on National Public Radio. In 2003 Rafael made his Carnegie Hall solo debut performing the Brahms Double Concerto with Concertmaster David Chan and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra under James Levine to critical acclaim. Mr. Figueroa and Mr. Chan can be heard in their critically acclaimed CD of music for violin and cello which includes the Duo by Zoltan Kodaly and the Sonata by Maurice Ravel.