Title/Position: Classical Guitar Program Director; Lecturer, Instrumental PerformanceProfile:
When did you realize music would be your profession?
I have been interested in the guitar sound since I can remember. I started playing chords when I was 7 or 8. At 12 I started taking guitar lessons, but when I heard the “Frescobalda” by Frescobaldi for the first time in a concert, played by my guitar professor, I fell in love with classical music. I knew then that playing classical guitar was going to be my profession.
Looking back, who or what would you say was the biggest influence towards your career?
I have received lots of advice from great guitarists. I always listen to the musical opinions of others, but some important figures that have marked my career include: Victor Pellegrini, my professor in my formative years, who taught me the importance of playing every note with a meaning; David Russell, after a Master Class, renovated my technique; and Manuel Barrueco, whom I studied with at Peabody Conservatory of Music, gave me the foundations, understanding and breakdown of the guitar repertoire.
Which moments in your professional career would you consider to be pivotal to your success?
Playing with a Symphonic Orchestra when I was 19 years old was a dream come true.
Leaving my country and starting a new life, with all its ups and downs, have made me stronger and given me the possibility of growing professionally.
Premiering pieces such as Concerto Elegiaco and From Yesterday to Penny Lane (in Venezuela and Costa Rica respectively), touring with the Aurora Guitar Quartet through Japan and studying at Peabody Conservatory of Music are very important moments in my professional career.
What are the most important halls you have performed at?
Kennedy Center (Washington DC, USA), Alice Tully Hall (Carnegie Hall, New York, USA), Jose Felix Ribas Hall (Teresa Carreno Theater, Venezuela), Teatro Nacional (San Jose, Costa Rica); Teatro Municipal (Vina del Mar, Chile); Sala Covarrubias and Sala Avellaneda (Garcia Lorca Theater, Havana, Cuba); Sala Dolores (Santiago de Cuba, Cuba).
What are the most important orchestras/chamber ensembles you have performed with?
Matanzas Symphony Orchestra
SOM FIU Symphonic Orchestra
Panamerican Symphony Orchestra
Chamber Orchestra of Caracas
Symphony Orchestra of Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho
Ars Flores Symphony Orchestra
Venice Symphony Orchestra
New World Symphony Orchestra
Crosstown String Quartet
Bergonzi String Quartet
Amernet String Quartet
How many recordings do you have?
I have recorded three CDs: Fandango, Noviembre and Alhambra.
A new solo guitar CD is currently in production.
What can you offer a potential student that he/she will get nowhere else?
The Frost School of Music has a unique learning environment where the students will be exposed to a wide variety of styles, including traditional world music, Latin American, jazz, and rock. All these elements would help them develop a broader musical perspective.
After 20 years teaching of the guitar technique, I have found a common problem: the students do not know how to practice. I really believe in teaching my students how, where, what, and when to practice, what type of music they should listen to, and the importance of the fine arts to reinforce their ideas for a better performance.
Also, I would like to emphasize the understanding that the quantity and quality of practice are critical to musical achievement.
“Practicing is not forced labor; it is refined art that partakes of intuition, of inspiration, patience, elegance, clarity, balance, and, above all, the search for ever greater joy in movement and expression” —Yehudi Menuhin, violinist
What do you expect your students will take from you, once the course is over?
Students are a source of inspiration for me. I learn from them every day, as I have learned from all my former teachers, through their lessons and by their performances. I am a natural performer. I love the stage and therefore performing is my passion.
I am also a disciplined and perseverant person who can’t spend one day without playing the guitar. Finding a nice tone, playing with good taste, choosing the repertoire they can master, encouraging them to be the best they can, those are some of the things I will always try to transmit to my students.
Cuban born guitarist, Rafael Padrón, is director of the Guitar Program at the University of Miami Frost School of Music where he is also a lecturer in the Department of Instrumental Performance. Padrón has won top prizes in many national and international competitions and has been featured in many international guitar festivals throughout the world. He has also performed both solo and with orchestras in various cities in Cuba, Chile, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Japan, Spain and in the United States of America. He is the artistic director of the Florida Guitar Foundation. Padrón began studying the guitar at the age of eleven. In 1986, he was awarded a scholarship to study at the Advanced Institute of Art in Havana where he received the “High Achieving Student” award. He then graduated from the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, where he completed his Graduate Performance diploma on a full scholarship, under the tutelage of world-renowned guitarist Manuel Barrueco. Padrón attained his Master’s Degree diploma at the University of Miami in December 2005. Rafael Padrón has been part of the faculty in music schools and universities such as the University of Costa Rica and National University of Heredia (Costa Rica), and the Calcaño Foundation (Venezuela), Gulf Coast University (Fort Myers, Florida) and Florida International University (Miami, Florida). In addition to his teaching at the Frost School of Music, he is on faculty at Miami Conservatory of Music.