Rafael Aguirre is an internationally acclaimed guitarist whose deep understanding of music, dazzling virtuosity and immensely diverse repertoire has taken him to 35 countries. The beginning of his extraordinary career was marked by winning thirteen first prizes at international competitions (including the Tárrega Competition and Pro Musicis, New York). He is currently one of the most celebrated guitarists worldwide.
Rafael performs regularly in prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall in New York, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Vienna Konzerthaus, Hamburg Laeiszhalle and Elbphilharmonie, Philharmonie am Gasteig in Munich, King's Place London, Moscow Tchaikovsky Hall, Saint Petersburg Philharmonia, Teatro Real in Madrid, Palau de la Musica in Barcelona, the Hyogo Performing Arts Center in Japan and the Seoul Arts Center in South Korea.
His debut at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland performing Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez with the Verbier Chamber Orchestra was broadcast by medici.tv, and is the most viewed video on its catalogue, gaining over 3 million views on its Facebook page in just twelve months. With an extensive repertoire (including over 30 concertos), past and current highlights include performances with KBS Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony, Orchestre National de Lyon, Ulster Orchestra, Robert Schumann Philharmonie Chemnitz, Linz Bruckner Orchestra for the opening concerts of St. Florian Festival in Austria, Moscow New Russia, RTVE Symphony Madrid and Castilla y León Symphony. He has played under conductors such as Jesús López Cobos, Lorenzo Viotti, Karina Canellakis, Domingo Hindoyán, Clemens Schuldt, Miguel Ángel Gómez Martínez and Yoel Levi.
Following in the classical tradition of Andrés Segovia and Narciso Yepes, Rafael Aguirre also seeks to expand the guitar repertoire incorporating music from different styles, such as flamenco, film music, pop, and folk music from contrasting parts of the world. He also collaborates with fellow classical artists with eclectic backgrounds and has a regular chamber ensemble made up of musicians from the Berlin Philharmonic. He collaborates with multiple living composers, such as Lorenzo Palomo, Raffaele Bellafronte and Antón García Abril, and he has premiered works by Sergio Assad, Joaquín Clerch, Agustín Castilla Avila, David del Puerto and Daniel Real, among others.
He has released albums for RTVE Música, Naxos, KSGExaudio, Ars Produktion and MDG, ranging from core guitar repertoire, to an all-piano transcriptions’ album and the world premiere recording of Palomo’s Fulgores with Castilla y León Symphony, Ana Valderrama and Maestro Jesús López Cobos, as well as Brazilian music and fado. A special highlight is his album La Vida Breve with his regular chamber music partner cellist Nadège Rochat, which received enthusiastic acclaim from Gramophone, The Strad and Crescendo Magazine, among others. He has been nominated for a Latin Grammy and his albums have been broadcast by the main radio stations worldwide.
At the age of 16 he made his orchestral debut with the Malaga Youth Symphony Orchestra touring Spain and Morocco. He was awarded scholarships from the Andalusian Government and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, which enabled his studies at the Düsseldorf Hochschule Robert Schumann in Germany with Prof. Joaquin Clerch, and where he graduated with highest honours. He later studied with Prof. Michael Lewin at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Rafael currently lives in Madrid.