number of Argentinian composers have written work for her, not least
among them Cardoso, Cherubito and Morel. In Belgium Wim Henderickx
wrote for her, and Philippe Lemaîgre, Jef Maes and Janpieter
Biesemans. In Sweden Owe Walter has also composed music with her in
mind, and in Brasil Sergio Assad. The musical world has a thing about
Raphaella Smits! And what is it with her and music?
Raphaella Smits has a thing about Spain. It's a question of chemistry.
She studied there under José Tomàs and it was there
that she acquired her force and her knowhow. And in 1986 she was the
first woman to win the prestigious Francisco Tarrega guitar competition
in Benicasim. She also won prizes in Granada and Palma de Mallorca.
These days she is invited with increasing regularity to serve on the
jury of international guitar competitions. Jorge Cardoso opened doors
for her in Chile and Argentina. She now goes on tour in South America
every year. Spaniards and South Americans have a thing about Raphaella
Smits. You only have to hear her play to understand why.
Raphaella Smits does not like borders. The world is her village. At
one time or another her name has featured on posters all over Europe
and North and South America: from San Francisco to Sofia, from Stockholm
to Santiago de Chile. For her music is communication. It is something
that makes 'alle Menschen Brüder'. It is a way of bringing people
of all races, all cultures, all age groups closer together.
Raphaella Smits also has a thing about strings. She prefers eight
to six. This is particularly important for the bass part. Whether
she is playing Bach or Weiss, classical or contemporary, those eight
strings give her guitar playing 'more body'. Indeed, Raphaella Smits
has been an ardent advocate of the eight-stringed guitar for the last
twenty years. More recently she has also developed a passion for early
instruments. A passion she inherited from Jos Van Immerseel, who for
years has been looking to achieve authenticity, the essence of music,
with early instruments. Raphaella Smits is to be seen - and heard
- more and more often with nineteenth-century instruments.
Raphaella Smits loves to work with other musicians. She has been playing
with tenor Guy De Mey on a regular basis for twenty years now. Female
singers include Lena Lootens and Liliana Rodriguez. Raphaella has
also appeared on concert platforms alongside famous names like David
Russell, Hubert Käppel, Oscar Ghiglia and Ben Verdery, to name
but a few. Music is something she shares. With the public, with colleagues
and with pupils. Raphaella Smits' famous masterclasses make a lasting
impression. In Belgium she has made a name for herself as a pedagogue
at the Lemmens Institute in Leuven.
Raphaella Smits loves life (especially the Spanish way of life) and
she lives it to the full. She loves to create culinary masterpieces
too. In fact, her very first guitar occupies the place of honour on
the kitchen wall. A guitar in the kitchen? Music is part of life,
it is life, it must be kept alive. That is why Raphaella likes to
perform work by contemporary composers; you 'create' something in
the process. A performance by Raphaella Smits is a scintillating experience.
You must see her with your own eyes, hear her with your own ears.
Her music is music in its purest form. Music at its most absolute.