Raphaella plays worldwide in her unique way on eight-string guitars and period instruments. She has been praised as "an uncommonly musical guitarist" (Tim Page, New York Times), "Une Grande Musicienne" and "one of the most sensitive and cultured performers of our time" (Jean Bernard, Diapason, FR).
In 2019, she received a unique award "Por su aporte a la Guitarra y la Cultura" in Argentina at the Festival Guitarras del Mundo.
In addition to stage work, Raphaella Smits has realized 25 albums, many of which are listed as indispensable for refined music lovers. To this day, she continues to produce new, valuable recordings.
Raphaella Smits is widely acclaimed as an inspiring pedagogue for both guitar and chamber music. She taught at the Lemmens Institute / LUCA School of Arts in Leuven, Belgium, from 1986 to 2022. She also continues to give regular masterclasses in Western and Eastern Europe, in North and South America, and in Japan.
Organizers of international guitar and chamber music competitions request Raphaella as a juror because of her exceptional and unbiased judgment and her empathetic afterthoughts with the candidates.
Raphaella studied classical music at the Royal Conservatories of Antwerp and Brussels. She also went on to perfect her guitar playing with José Tomàs at the "Catedra Andrès Segovia" in Spain. At that time she already gave her first concerts and became a convincing advocate for the eight-string guitar.
In 1986 Raphaella Smits was the first woman to win the First Prize of the "Certamen Internacional de Guitarra Francisco Tarrega", the famous international guitar competition in Benicasim, Spain. That victory confirmed the progression of a successfully started career, after previous prizes in competitions in Granada and Palma de Mallorca. The jury presidents, Andrès Segovia and Narciso Yepes, both expressed their admiration for Raphaella's musicality and prophetically expressed confidence in her future successes.
More info at http://www.rsmits.com