Rafael Onyett started playing the guitar at the age of 8 in his hometown of Leeds, Yorkshire. His initial studies were on the electric guitar and by the age of the 13 Rafael had performed with a variety of bands in some of Leeds’ most famous venues including The Cockpit, and the 02 Academy. At 13 a change of teacher introduced Rafael to the classical guitar and he spent the next five years honing his skills across a wide range of musical styles on both instruments. At 17 Rafael was a member of the Leeds Youth Jazz & Rock Orchestra. By the age of 18 Rafael had committed himself to the classical guitar having become captivated by its repertoire and the challenges of the instrument.
In 2015 Rafael won a coveted place at the prestigious Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) – Manchester studying with renowned performer and teacher Craig Ogden. Since studying at RNCM Rafael has performed in a variety of masterclasses with world-class guitarists including Zoran Dukic, Jacob Heringman and Stephen Goss. Rafael is a highly sought after performer in RNCM’s External Concerts and has given many solo performances throughout the UK. In February 2020, Rafael collaborated with Errollyn Wallen (MBE) on her solo guitar composition ‘Red’ prior to debuting it in an RNCM Festival showcasing her music. Rafael’s outstanding debut led to an invitation to perform at the prestigious Wigmore Hall – London in June 2021.
Rafael’s love of chamber music has culminated in numerous ensembles, most notably The Aluna Duo for Flute & Guitar, and Duo Chuva for Two Guitars. Both ensembles perform frequently across the UK, as well as developing highly successful outreach work and pedagogy. The Aluna Duo developed a series of interactive workshops in schools across Boston, Lincolnshire in conjunction with the Lincolnshire Music Service. Throughout lockdown Rafael’s ensembles have remained proactive, including a live concert streamed online from Preston Museum as part of the St Harris concert series. Currently, Duo Chuva are preparing to compete after recently reaching the semi-finals of the prestigious Royal Overseas League competition. Rafael also performs with The Chuva Collective – a larger ensemble collaborating dance and live music.
Rafael is a creative and highly committed guitar teacher with extensive experience teaching children and adults on the guitar. Rafael gained insightful experience into classroom teaching having worked with the One Education Music service as part of his RNCM BMUS degree. Since graduating, Rafael has held numerous peripatetic teaching positions in schools across Greater Manchester and Liverpool, alongside developing a network of private students. This included a position at the Cheadle-Hulme Music Academy as the resident guitar teacher. Most recently, Rafael has been working with the Yorkshire Young Musicians scheme, providing teaching cover at the Leeds Conservatoire.
Recently Rafael was awarded highly coveted Postgraduate Awards from both Help Musicians UK and Drake Calleja Trust. As an award holder, Rafael was invited to perform a solo recital at the Purcell Room – London in March 2021 (which will now take place at a later date). Rafael was also awarded The Ian Spencer Fox Guitar Bursary for further assistance to fund his RNCM Masters’ degree.