Born on October 16, 1903, Rafael Alers Gerena or simply known as Rafael Alers was a famous and successful composer, musicians and bandleader. He made history in the music industry as the first composer from Puerto Rico who composed the musical score for a Hollywood movie titled “Crowded Paradise”. Said movie was released in 1956 and was directed by Fred Pressburger.
Alers was born in Aguadilla City in Puerto Rico. He was the son of Don Ignacio Alers and Doña Anita Gerena. Alers attended a school in his hometown for both his primary and secondary education. His passion for music was developed at an early age since he came from a family who loves music. Alers’ first music instructor was Juan F. Acosta, from whom he learned how to play a wind instrument called as Euphonium, an instrument essential in executing “danza.” In addition, he also learned to play other musical instruments such as tuba and trombone.
After completing his musical lessons, Alers played for numerous bands – both national and international and several Symphony Orchestras. He then established his own band together with Manuel Gregorio, Juan Morel Campos, and Angel Mislan, and recorded Puerto Ricans danzas.
Alers also became the conductor for the orchestra of Carmelo Diaz Soler in 1933. Two years after, he composed “Violeta” – a danza which is considered as the greatest danza Alers had ever composed. He too worked as the conductor of the University of Puerto Rico’s ROTC band. Most of his recordings were released in the year 1960 – in three volumes titled “Rafael Alers: Danzas”. He died in the city of San Juan in Puerto Rico on March 20, 1978.