Lieutenant Raphael Salazar

Lieutenant Rafael Salazar was appointed the Director of Music for the Jamaica Defence Force in February 2020. He holds a Bachelors of Music in Clarinet Performance, Teaching and Conducting Ensembles from the Conservatory of Music Esteban Salas. He served a compulsory military service in Cuba at the Band of the Eastern Army as a clarinet concertmaster for two years. After his release from duties, he joined the City Symphony Orchestra (Orquesta Sinfonica de Oriente), Santiago de Cuba, as assistant principal clarinetist.

Since coming to Jamaica in 1997, Lt Salazar has quickly become known as an active recitalist, orchestral player, chamber musician, adjudicator, lecturer, conductor and clinician who actively promotes the appreciation of and education in symphonic orchestral and wind band music; combining eastern and western musical expressions with its Caribbean roots.

A professional Clarinetist, Lt Salazar has given numerous recitals and has collaborated with a number of outstanding musicians and orchestras in Jamaica, Cuba, Europe and the USA. He has participated in international festivals including the famous Festival of the Aegean in Greece, the Salzburg Festival in Austria and the Ameropa Master Class and Chamber Music Festival in Prague, Czech Republic. Additionally, he has also made appearances at the XIV Temporada Musical de Reñaca in Chile 2016 and the Habana Jazz festival, Cuba in 2017 and 2018.

He has performed as a soloist with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Oriente (Cuba), the Jamaica Military Band, the Jamaican Youth Ensemble conducted by Dr. Olive Lewin (Jamaica), the New England Youth Ensemble from Maryland under the baton of Dr. Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse and the Philharmonic Orchestra of Jamaica; an institution that he currently serves as Principal Clarinetist and Music Committee Member.

Lt Salazar has held a number of lecturer and administrative appointments to include at the Northern Caribbean University as Director of Band and Wind studies from 2003 to 2013; Head of Woodwind and Brass Division and Concert Band Conductor at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts for the Jamaica School of Music 2013-2019; Conductor, Instructor and Administrator with the National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica (NYOJ) from 2013 to 2019 and as the NYOJ Acting Director of Music for the summer of 2019; Instructor in the “New Path” outreach programme at the South Camp Juvenile Remand & Correctional Centre and at the National Youth Orchestra from 2015 to 2018.

Lt Salazar enjoys swimming, running, dancing, listening and practicing music plus playing a wide range of sports. He goes by the belief that says, “Change the way you think and you will change your reality”.