Raphael Veronese

(1974- )

Composing at an Early Age

Raphael Veronese was born on March 5, 1974 in the Nova Friburgo State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the third son of Jose Carlos Veronese and Katia Ferreira.  His interest in music began at an early age.  His grandfather, Jose Felix Veronese, who was a lawyer and also served as inspector of the Santa Doroteia College of Philosophy in Nova Friburgo, was a lover of classical music, but did not have the opportunity to study it in his childhood.  So he encouraged Veronese’s father to do so instead.

Veronese’s father became a lawyer and an amateur pianist who played classical music.  As a child Veronese heard his father playing and showed amazing talent when he tried to imitate him.

At age seven he participated in his first concert, playing Valsa do Contentamento (Waltz of Happiness) by G. Martins.  At twelve he and his brother took part in the Anchieta School Festival on October 31, 1986.  There the first song he had composed, “Fleuma,” was played.  He subsequently won third place at the festival.  He recalls,  “I remember it as if it had happened yesterday, when we were called to the stage to receive the trophy and to play the song again.  That was the best day of my life, I discovered my talent.” 

As a child Veronese was only acquainted with classical music, but the same year as the festival, he began to be interested in other genres.  The interest was generated when he heard the band Camel’s I Can See Your House From Here.  From that point on, his respect grew for non-classical genres such as rock.  He also came to know New Age music, and identified with artists such as Vangelis, Yanni, Kitaro, Enya, and Andreas Vollenweider, who later had a strong influence on his career as a composer.

Raphael Veronese went on to study for four years at the Brazilian Conservatory of Music in Nova Friburgo.  He finished high school, but was unable to go to college for financial reasons.

Veronese’s Early Career: A Diverse Musical World

At eighteen years of age, Veronese began working with the bands Flor da Jamaica (Jamaica Flower) and Lady 57.  Later he played with Asa de Luz (Light Wing).  He did not particularly enjoy working for Flor da Jamaica: it was Afro-Brazilian music and that was not his style.  Fortunately it was just a temporary job.  He did, however, enjoy his work with Lady 57, which played the rock of bands such as Dire Straits, Van Halen, Simple Red, Pink Floyd, and A-ha. 

During this time, Veronese was faced with a challenge: recording two compact discs with Asa de Luz.  One of these recordings was made with the special participation of the renowned artist, Marcus Viana.  The band no longer exists but his experience with those musicians taught him much in regards to recording and arranging.  Moreover, after this experience, he was motivated to build his own studio.  There he recorded and made various productions for local musicians; he also composed jingles and vignettes for radio and television.

In 1995 Veronese went on a trip to France in order to visit his mother whom he had not seen in four years.   During a visit to the Pyrenees Mountains in France he recorded a cassette of Pyrenees inspiration songs and this led to the composition of his song “The Sacred Valley.”  After three months in Bordeaux, he returned to Brazil and dedicated his time to composing.  The result of this work was a demo that he sent to the French studio SP Music in Paris.  They showed great interest in recording and publicizing his compositions and he received a formal invitation to record.  Unfortunately, Veronese was unable to return to France, and could not take advantage of this opportunity.  Nonetheless, he continued recording independently and making his own arrangements.

Major Works and Recent Artistic Activities

These various musical experiences led Veronese to pursue his dream of composing, playing and making his own recordings.  He admired and played many  genres of music, but it was the classical seed in particular which was planted in his childhood that grew into compositions reflecting parts of his own life and his search for internal peace.  In 2000 he began work on the composition Interior, which included his previously composed song “The Sacred Valley.” Veronese released this album, his first, in 2003 at the Country Club of Nova Friburgo, RJ.

Also in 2003, SESI (Industrial Social Service) invited him to present his music for various industry workers.  During his presentations at company events, he often played with saxophonist Rodrigo Costa.
In 2004 Veronese was invited by Luiz Gasparetto to compose two songs for the “Conscience and Life Space” in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In 2006 he played at the summer and winter SESC (Social Service of Commerce) festivals in Nova Friburgo, again in partnership with Rodrigo Costa.  At these festivals Veronese played Brazilian pop music including Tom Jobim: Eu sei que vou te amar, Aguas de Março, Wave, and Ipanema Girl, along with international hits by artists such as Frank Sinatra, the Beatles, Elton John, and Phill Collins and some classical music as well, but what he really enjoys playing is his own music,  about which he says, “I understand it, and it understands me.”

Presently, Veronese is a member of the band 746, which has a repertoire of songs from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.  He has also finished his second recording titled Caravana, inspired by the desert and ancient Egypt.  This album was released on April 11, 2006 in the Sister Sania Cosmelli Theater at the College of Philosophy, where his grandfather served as an inspector.  He took advantage of this opportunity to pay homage to his grandfather by playing the song he composed for him, “Interior,” and also to celebrate his brother Philipe Veronese, remembering the day of the concert when he and his brother played music together as children.  Concerning the 2006 release concert he states,  “It was the best concert of my life, even though I was very anxious, the people who came to talk to me were emotional and Sister Cosmelli paid me five times more than it was supposed to.”

Veronese also enjoys taking scenic pictures.  He loves nature and photographing it is a source of pleasure and relaxation.  In March of 2006 he composed his first poem, Sacred Temple, exploring another interest outside of composition.

In 2006 he was invited to participate in and compose for the award festival of the GAMA Group (a theater and poetry society which has been in Nova Friburgo for forty years).  As a result of his association with it, he is learning about theater, and all winners of the festival will be given a copy of his album Caravana.

He is now in Brazil working on his third compact disc.

- Laurent B. Guimaraes,
New Canaan, CT – October, 2006

Related Links: