Rafael Torralvo

Adjunct Staff, Instructor of Strings & Orchestra

Rafael was born in Brazil and had his first contact with the violin in his home country. He was the concertmaster of the Limeira Chamber Ensemble and first violin with the Limeira Symphony Orchestra.

Rafael participated in all major music festivals in Brazil including, Campos do Jordao International Music Festival, Santa Catarina International Music Festival, Vale Veneto International Festival. He was also three times the recipient of a full scholarship for the Bay View Music Festival in Michigan, USA. He appeared in the master classes of Shmuel Ashkenasi (Curtis Institute of Music), Chaim Taub (Concertmaster Israel Philharmonic), Glenn Dicterow (Concertmaster New York Philharmonic), Charles Castleman (Eastman School of Music), Levon Ambartsumian (Moscow Conservatory) and soloists such as Boris Belkin, Elissa Koljonen and Kristof Barati. Additionally, Rafael studied chamber music with the members of the Vermeer quartet and Saint Louis String quartet.

Rafael has captured 1st prizes at the Carlos Gomes Violin competition, received three prizes (including Best Chamber Music and Critics Award) at the Mu Phi Epsilon Music Scholarship Competition in Washington DC. In 2014, Rafael received the coveted Fumagalli Trophy for his continuous work in enhancing the cultural life in Brazil.

In 2008, he moved to the United States to pursue a Bachelor of Music at James Madison University, where he studied under Dr Wanchi Huang and Max Rabinovitsj. Throughout the four years at this institution, Rafael was first violin with the JMU symphony orchestra and featured as soloist with the Monticello Strings, a Faculty and Students ensemble. Rafael’s academic honors include the President’s/Dean’s list, and membership to the Pi Kappa Lambda Honor Music Society. His essay, “L’arche, la voix du violon: A survey on the changes of the violin bow” was selected to integrate the course handbook for historically informed performance.

After graduating, Rafael was a teacher at the Music Education Center in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he held a full violin studio and coached private violin/viola lessons, orchestral and chamber music. Rafael is happy to be back in Charlottesville this year, and back on staff at MEC.

He is the founder and artistic director of the International String Encounter, in Brazil and often teaches at summer festivals such as the Music Festival of Piracicaba. As a performer, his recitals and concerts were heard in Virginia, Michigan, Florida, Washington D.C. and South America.

Rafael received a full scholarship to the Master’s program at the West Chester University of Pennsylvania, where he studies under the tutelage of Sylvia Ahramjian and currently serves as the Concertmaster of the West Chester Symphony Orchestra.

He is also a pupil of Max Rabinovitsj (Former Concertmaster Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra).

When Rafael is not performing or practicing the violin, he enjoys reading, good coffee, running and hiking. Besides English, Rafael speaks Portuguese and Spanish fluently. He is mastering French in order to become a polyglot.