Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, cellist Rafael Figueroa is one of the most sought-after cellists of his generation, appearing regularly in concerts throughout the United States, Europe, Central and South Americas, Japan, and Puerto Rico. His impressive list of awards includes 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 the Gina Bachauer Memorial Award.
Mr. Figueroa occupies the prestigious position of principal cellist at the Metropolitan Opera. In addition, he performs frequently on chamber music series in the New York area including the Lyric Chamber Music Society of New York, the MET Chamber Ensemble, Parlance Chamber Concerts, the New Jersey Chamber Music Society, the Morgan Library Chamber Music Series, and Bargemusic. Mr. Figueroa has appeared in recitals and concerts alongside such artists as the late Rudolf Serkin, Peter Serkin, the late Samuel Sanders, Andre-Michel Schub, 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, becoming a member of the IU cello faculty upon graduation. In 1987, Mr. Figueroa moved to New York City where he began a ten-year collaboration with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, touring worldwide 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 Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, 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, the Rockport and Marblehead Chamber Music Festivals, and the International Festival of Music in Cheju, Korea.