Praised for his “tightly wrought” and “stirring, vividly shaped” renditions (New York Times) and for his “delicious buoyancy and impeccable taste” (Washington Times), Raphael Jiménez is celebrated for his work with orchestras around the world, with recent engagements in China with with the symphony orchestras of Zhejiang and Guanxi, in Latin American with the symphony orchestras of Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, and Puerto Rico, as well as leading the opera orchestras of Lubeck in Germany and Palm Beach in Florida. As a ballet conductor he has collaborated with several ballet companies including recent performances with the New York City Ballet at the Lincoln Center.
Born in Florida and raised in Venezuela, Jiménez began his musical life as a violinist. While he was a member of the Simón Bolívar National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, he was assigned his first conducting responsibility at the Venezuelan National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras (El Sistema). He was soon conducting all the professional orchestras in the country and was appointed Principal Conductor of the Caracas National Ballet at the age of 22.
He is currently Director of Orchestras and Associate Professor of conducting at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and he has frequently been acknowledged for his remarkable ability to lead, masterfully train, and inspire young players to perform at the highest level. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel writes, “The [orchestra], conducted by Raphael Jiménez, played [with] a professional sheen rarely heard from student ensembles.” His performances with the Oberlin Orchestra at New York City’s Carnegie Hall and at Symphony Center in Chicago have also been well received, with ClevelandClassical.com writing, “To say that this concert was impressive for an ensemble of young players would be an understatement: this is an orchestra that any city would be happy to have as its resident professional ensemble.”