The Uruguayan guitarist and lutenist, Rafael Bonavita, was introduced to guitar at the age of 10, in his home country of Uruguay. His start in classical guitar took place under the Maestro Alvaro Pierri. Further studies of the instrument, as well as concerts, brought him to Argentina and Brazil. In 1992, he won the first prize from A.E. Music and in the same year, he was invited to the University of Quebec in Montreal (Canada), which led to an expansion of his musical and instrumental knowledge. Thereafter, he decided to concentrate himself on early music and went to study at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis (Switzerland). He graduated with a Soloist Diploma in historical plucked instruments (Renaissance and Baroque Lute, Theorbo, Vihuela, Baroque Guitar) from the class of Hopkinson Smith.
Rafael Bonavita is internationally recognized within the realm of old music as one of the most solid and versatile values in the plucked instrument field. He has been keen to absorb and bring the most diverse styles and tendencies into his learning, making this one of the key factors in his career. Being a strict player of historical philology, Bonavita is, nevertheless, an innovator in new ways of expression, heterodoxical yet at the same time a close translator of the potential within the oldest string instruments. As a complement and enrichment to his main work, Bonavita has often touched on out of the usual repertories, such as medieval music, contemporary or audiovisual music.
In recent years, Rafael Bonavita has been engaged, often, as a guitarist, by the Basel Sinfonietta in contemporary music projects. He has also been invited by the Basel Theater for opera productions. He plays in many ensembles with such renowned conductors and leaders as René Jacobs, Marc Minkowski, Yoshimichi Hamada, Jordi Savall, Daniela Dolci and Gabriel Garrido, as well as being a full time member of the Japanese ensemble "Anthonello" In addition, he gives concerts as a soloist in Europe, South America and Japan. His latest appearances have been in Paris, Innsbruck, Berlin, Tokyo, Wiener Festwochen and the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence.
Aside from his radio and television appearances in different countries, Rafael Bonavita has recorded for the following companies: BIS (Sweden), Harmonia Mundi and K 617 (France), Pan Classics (Switzerland), Cookie & Bear (Japan), Enchiriadis and Alia Vox (Spain), Symphonia and Tactus (Italy) among others. The specialized media have highly recognized his work. As a soloist, he has recorded “Principe delle Muse” for the label Enchiradis. Devoted to Angelo Michele Bartolotti’s sophisticated music for Baroque guitar, the album has been highly praised by the critics as well as by the audience. His second work “Sanz-Murcia, Danzas para guitarra barroca” - also for Enrichiradis - is focused on the popular and extrovert roots of the Spanish baroque. Thanks to its new approach to this fascinating repertoire, it was likewise enthusiastically received by the media. In 2007 his particular and innovative view of the world of the theorbo came to light in the disc “Música Moderna”, committed to approach the present audience to the innovations and ruptures in the early Italian 17th century. Bonavita’s new CD “Al Compás de la Vihuela” consists of renewed versions of the 16th century vihuela players as well as his own compositions.