Rafael Reina was born in 1961 in Equatorial Guinea. At the age of seven he
moved to Madrid where he later studied bass guitar. In 1984 he left to Boston
to study composition at the Berklee College of Music. Then he studied with
Mauricio Kagel, Johannes Fritsch and J.L. de Delás in Cologne. Since 1992 he
travels regularly to Bangalore, India, to explore the theory of Carnatic
(South-Indian) music with Jahnavi Jayaprakash and N.G. Ravi. In 1993 he settled
himself in Amsterdam where he became lecturer at the Sweelinck Conservatory in
1995. He developed a four-year programme based on Carnatic music theory
with applications to Western contemporary music and jazz.
Rafael Reina bases his compositions, like also the "Drag on...Claustrophobia",
on the concepts of the Carnatic music. The natural tuning, as it is being used
in Carnatic music, is so subtle and nuanced that Reina feels obliged to use
more pitches than those in the tempered 12-tone system. To approximate the
Carnatic concepts he mostly makes use of the tempered quarter-tone system, and
of special instrumental techniques and non-traditional sounds.
His music has been performed in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium,
United States, England, Taiwan and Spain.
Reina leads the study Contemporary
Music through Non-Western Techniques at the Sweelinck Conservatory.
See for biographical information the teachers page there.