Rafael Torralvo is a violinist and scholar currently pursuing a PhD degree in musicology at Cornell University. Born in Brazil and educated in the United States, Rafael graduated from James Madison University and West Chester University of Pennsylvania with a BM and an MM degree in violin performance, respectively. He is also an alumnus from the Frost School of Music and holds a MM degree in musicology from the University of Miami.
Rafael employs an interdisciplinary approach to his scholarly engagements, focusing on the intersections between music, literature, and politics to illuminate the construction of national identity in Brazil during the military dictatorship (1964-1985). His academic research in Northeastern Brazil was funded by the Field Research Grant from the Institute for the Americas at the University of Miami, the Latin American Studies Program at Cornell University, and the Ralph Stewart Scholarship Fund at the Naples Orchestra. He presented papers both domestically and abroad and has given talks at the University of Southern Mississippi, the University of Arizona, and the University of Birmingham (UK).
Rafael is committed to empowerment through music education. In 2013, he founded the "Encontro Internacional de Cordas," an annual music festival that provides underprivileged students with a free opportunity to study with world-class artists. He continues to serve as Artistic Director for the festival, curating a diverse series of concert programs and pedagogical activities. In recognition of his efforts, Rafael received the Fumagalli Trophy, the most prestigious award given by the city of Limeira, his hometown.
In addition to his academic studies and philanthropic work, Rafael has an active career as a violinist and chamber musician, appearing in concert engagements throughout Europe, the United States, and South America. If you walk by Baker Tower, you might hear him practicing a wide range of repertoire spanning from early music to works written by contemporary composers. When he is not playing the violin or reading books, Rafael enjoys gaming, hiking, and spending time with friends.