Rafael Karlen graduated from Griffith University, Queensland Conservatorium of Music in 2004, with a Bachelor in Contemporary Music Performance in Saxophone. He received the Lord Mayor’s Fellowship for Young and Emerging Artists from the Brisbane City Council in 2011 to undertake study in Europe and has recently returned following the completion of his Masters of Music Degree at the University of York in England.
His debut album with the Brisbane-based ensemble the West End Composers Collective, received critical acclaim and featured Rafael as a composer, saxophonist and flautist. In 2009, he was a finalist in the Bell Awards for both Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year and Best Jazz Composition of the Year categories, received a Q150 Composer Commission, and was the 2009 Composer-in-residence with the West Australia Youth Jazz Orchestra. Rafael also attended the 2009 International Jazz and Creative Music Workshop at the Banff Centre in Canada. In 2008, Rafael was a finalist in the APRA/JMO National Big Band Composition Competition in Sydney. Rafael has toured throughout Australia and regularly works as a composer, performer and arranger in a broad range of musical styles.