Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, cellist Rafael Figueroa is established as one of the most sought-after cellists of his generation, having appeared in numerous performances throughout the United States, Europe, Central and South Americas, Japan and his homeland of Puerto Rico.
Rafael completed his studies under the legendary Janos Starker and Gary Hoffman at the Indiana University School of Music where upon graduation he became a member of the cello faculty. He performs on a cello by Roger / Max Millant , Paris 1937.
His impressive list of prizes and awards include the First Prize at the Gregor Piatigorsky Competition in Boston, The Bronze Medal at the International Pablo Casals Competition in Budapest, winner of the Jill Sackler Cello Competition at the Third American Cello Congress and winner of the Gina Bachauer Memorial Award.
Mr. Figueroa occupies the prestigious position of principal cellist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra under James Levine in addition to his participation in many of the chamber music series in the New York area including The Lyric Chamber Music Society of New York, The Met Chamber Ensemble with James Levine, The New Jersey Chamber Music Society, The Morgan Library Chamber Music Series and Bargemusic.
Rafael has appeared in recitals and concerts along such artists as the late Rudolf Serkin, Peter Serkin, the late Samuel Sanders, Andre Michel Shub, Ruth Laredo, Michael Tree, Cho Liang Lin, The Cleveland Quartet, the late Alexander Schneider and James Levine.
Mr. Figueroa completed his studies at the Indiana University School of Music under Janos Starker and Gary Hoffman where upon graduation, he became a member of this school’s cello faculty. In 1987 Rafael moved to New York City where he began a ten year collaboration with The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, touring world-wide and recording for Deutsche Grammophon. For five years he was the cellist of The Amadeus Trio and a member of the Chelsea Chamber Ensemble, with whom he premiered and championed a large number of works by contemporary American composers.
His summer festival activities have included the Verbier Music Festival in Switzerland, the Aspen Music Festival, The Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, Marlboro Chamber Music Festival, Lemi-Lappenranta Chamber Music festival in Finland and the Rockport and Marblehead Chamber music Festivals. In addition to his participation for the first time at the International Festival of Music in Cheyu, Korea in the summer of 2003.
Highlights of the past seaons include a performance to critical acclaim of the Brahms Double Concerto with Concertmaster David Chan and The Met Orchestra under James Levine at Carnegie Hall on February 2 , 2003 as part of the orchestra’s subscription series at Carnegie Hall and a second performance of the Brahms Double and Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations in Seoul, Korea. .
Born in March 27, 1961 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Rafael was the youngest of four children of legendary violinist Jaime "Kachiro" Figueroa Sanabria and Carmen "Pucha" Gonzalez Inorio.
April 1, 1966
Begins studying music at the age of five
Began his music studies at the age of five mentored by his father Jaime "Kachiro" Figueroa Sanabria.
March 24, 1978
Graduates with honors from The School of Open Music Ernesto Ramos Antonini
Graduated from high school from the prestigious school in San Juan under tutelage of Adolfo Odnoposoff who was the student of legendary cellist Emmanuel Feuerman.
August 15, 1978
Begins student program at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico
Begins studies of Cello with Joaquín Vidaechea, former student of Pablo Casals y Gaspar Cassado at the age of twelve. At the time there was no formal student program in the Conservatory of Music for children of that age.
September 21, 1982
Begins studies in Indiana University
With assistance from scholarships and support from his parents, Rafael left Puerto Rico to continue his cello studies in 1982 at Indiana University. To the right the great Cuban violinist Andres Cardenes and with him compositor and director from Costa Rica, Elbert Lechtman Steinberg and the great Mexican violinist Manuel Ramos.
July 30, 1986
Graduates with honors from the prestigious Indiana University (Bloomington)
Graduated from Indiana University class of 1986. Rafael completed his studies under the legendary Janos Starker and Gary Hoffman at the Indiana University School of Music where upon graduation he became a member of the cello faculty.
October 30, 1986
Winner of the cello contest of the Third American Congress for Cellists
At the age of 26 Rafael won the contest of the third American Congress for Cellists with then mentor Janos Starker also known as "The King Of the Cellists".
May 24, 2012
Rafael Figueroa and Dorothea Noack Get Married
At the age of forty nine, Rafael marries colleague and Cello student Dorothea Noack. The wedding was on May 24th, 2012 and soon after the wedding Dorothea officially changes her name to Dorothea Figueroa. Rafael's mother Carmen "Pucha" Gonzalez attended to the ceremony and was delighted to see her youngest of four boys, tie the nod with the...
January 3, 2014
Bourgogne after the sextet from Brahms
Bourgogne after the sextet from Brahms with Gary Hoffman, Cho Liang Lin, Catherine Ro, Dov Scheindlin and David Chan.
June 23, 2014
Performed in the Pacific Music Festival (PMF) America
In 2014 Rafael performed in the Pacific Music Festival (PMF) America.
July 23, 2014
Performed with the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra
Performed with the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra in Japan.
May 31, 2015
Performing with quartet "The End of Time" at Carnegie Hall by composer Olivier Messiaen
Performed "The End of Time" as quartet at Carnegie Hall composed by internationally recognized composer Olivier Messiaen.
May 17, 2016
With the Metropolitan Orchestra at Carnegie Hall
Performing for a full crowd with the Metropolitan Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.
August 22, 2016
Performed with the Quartet 212 in Clos de Tart, Bourgogne France
Performed with the Quartet 212 in Clos de Tart, Bourgogne France.
April 23, 2017
Performed at the Cellists of Lincoln Center concert
Performed at the concert Cellists of Lincoln Center at Alice Trully Hall, New York NY.
May 7, 2017
Successful 2016 Season Finale at Carnegie Hall
Rafael with wife and colleague Dorothea Figueroa after the successful Season Finale of the Metropolitan Opera at Carnegie Hall.
July 8, 2017
Performed with the orchestra in the Pacific Music Festival at Kitara Hall
Rafael performed in the Pacific Music Festival held annually at the great Kitara Hall in Sapporo, Japan.