Rafael Alers

Rafael Alers

Rafael Alers (October 16, 1903 – March 20, 1978), was a musician, composer, bandleader and the first Puerto Rican to compose the music score for a Hollywood feature film.

Early years

Alers was born Rafael Alers Gerena in the city of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, to Don Ignacio Alers and Doña Anita Gerena. He received his primary and secondary education in his hometown. The love that he developed for the Puerto Rican Danzas came about at a young age because of the influence which he received from his musically inclined family. He received his first musical instructions from the maestro Juan F. Acosta. With Acosta he learned to play the Euphonium, a wind instrument which is essential in the execution of the danza. He also learned to play the trombone and tuba. [http://www.musicofpuertorico.com/index.php/artists/rafael_alers/ Music of Puerto Rico] ]

Musical career

Upon finishing his musical instruction, Alers went to play for various national and international bands and Symphony Orchestras. Eventually, he formed his own band and recorded the Puerto Rican danzas composed by Juan Morel Campos, Manuel Gregorio Tavarez and Angel Mislan.

In 1933, Alers was the conductor of Carmelo Diaz Soler's Orchestra, which had a daily segment in a radio program. Alers took charge of the orchestra upon the death of Diaz Soler and in 1935, he felt the inspiration to compose a danza. He composed, what was to become his greatest danza and named it "Violeta" and the following day he played it on the radio. [http://www.musicofpuertorico.com/index.php/artists/rafael_alers/ Music of Puerto Rico] ]

The public's acceptance and demand for the danza was so great that the radio station started a "Write the Lyrics to the Danza" contest. They were looking for the right lyrics to go with the musical melody of the danza. The lyrics written by Antonio Cruz Nieves, from the town of Cataño, was selected as the winner. Alers married Catalina Roldan and had four sons (the eldest now deceased) and three daughters. "Violeta" which was the title of his danza, was officially dedicated to his youngest daughter. [ [http://www.musicadepuertorico.com/espanol/Danzas.htm Danzas] ]

8 Danzones from Puerto Rico

One of the recordings by Rafael Alers was: 8 Danzones from Puerto Rico.
*"Conversación" 3:12
*"Delia y Belén" 3:03
*"El Torbellino" 3:08
*"Estrella de Borinquen" 3:16
*"La Borinqueña" 2:27
*"No me toques" 3:17
*"Recuerdos" 3:15
*"Sara" 2:38

Later years

Alers was named conductor of the ROTC band of the University of Puerto Rico which in 1946, included a young man by the name of Julito Rodriguez, who would some day in the future become a renowned musician himself. Alers became the first Puerto Rican to compose the music score for a Hollywood movie, when he was hired for such a task for the 1956 movie "Crowded Paradise", directed by Fred Pressburger. [ [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0018095/ IMDB] ] Many of his recordings were released in 1960, in a set of 3 volumes, titled "Rafael Alers: Danzas". Rafael Alers died on March 20, 1978 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

His compositions have been recorded by many artist, including the singer Julita Ross. In 2003, a collection of Rafaels' recordings was released under the title: "Rafael Alers y su Orchestra, Danzas Vol.1".


ee also

*List of famous Puerto Ricans

External links

You may listen to "Violeta" by Rafael Alers: [http://www.ladanza.com/violeta.htm Here]

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