Rafael Karlen

Image 1 of 6

Tunes by Rafael Karlen

  • Abstract Gloom
    Straight · 2000-2010 · Medium · Instrumental · 5/4
  • Attic
    Free · 2010-2020 · Medium · Instrumental · Eb · 4/4
  • Driving Hat
    Latin · 2000-2010 · Medium · Instrumental · G · 7/4
  • If Not Now, When?
    Waltz · 2010-2020 · Medium · Instrumental · E · 3/4
  • Ripple
    Ballad · 2010-2020 · Medium · Instrumental · C · 5/4
  • Same Fields
    Waltz · 2010-2020 · Medium · Instrumental · G · 3/4
  • Trace
    Free · 2010-2020 · Medium · Instrumental · C
  • Water and Time
    Waltz · 2000-2010 · Medium · Vocal · A · 3/4


Rafael Karlen is an award-winning composer, saxophonist, and arranger.
He has continued to build a reputation as one of the more creative, and exciting musicians on the Australian music scene.  Rafael’s music has been performed by small jazz groups, rock and pop ensembles, big bands through to chamber orchestras and string quartets. He has performed throughout Australia and New Zealand, and in Canada, Cambodia, England, Scotland, and Sweden.

In 2015, Rafael was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship to travel to USA, England, Denmark, Norway, Germany, and Holland to visit many of the world’s leading contemporary composers/arrangers, performers, and ensembles. In 2018, he was awarded the prestigious Prelude Residency and was the Composer in Residence at the Peggy Glanville-Hicks House in Sydney. In 2021 he was nominated for an ARIA in the jazz category with the Berardi/Foran/Karlen Trio. Other awards and nominations include finalist in the Australian Jazz Bell Awards for Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year and Jazz Composition of the year, several nominations for the Freedman Fellowship from the Music Council of Australia, and an Australian Art Music Award for Excellence in Jazz with the Berardi/Foran/Karlen Trio.

Rafael’s music has been performed by ensembles and artists ranging from Kristin Berardi, Andrea Keller, The Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, Enthusiastic Musicians Orchestra,

Tenzin Choegyal, and Megan Washington, through to The Queensland Symphony Orchestra, The Australian Voices, and Camerata-Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra.

Selected Recordings

2022 Equally True Rafael Karlen Quintet

2020 Haven Berardi/Foran/Karlen Trio with Pascal Schumacher

2016 Trace Rafael Karlen, Steve Newcomb and Toby Wren

2015 Hope in My Pocket Berardi/Foran/Karlen Trio

2014 The Sweetness of Things Half-Remembered

Music by Rafael Karlen for String Quartet, improvising pianist, and saxophonist

2009 “Driving Hat: The West End Composers Collective play the Music of Rafael Karlen