is an award winning composer, performer, producer and educator, trained in both the Classical and Jazz genres.
Born of Japanese and Mexican-American parents, Ray’s musical career began at home in Tucson, Arizona. At the age of eight, he was playing drums in a family band with his older brother, Richard.
A family hobby turned into serious study when both became the first students selected for APEX (Academic Preparation for Excellence) at the University of Arizona.
Under the guidance of Thomas Patterson, Professor of Music, Ray began to perform solo works of classical guitar earning a number of awards and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music.
In 1992, Ray left Arizona to earn a Masters in 20th Century Music, World Music and Jazz Improvisation at The California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).
Los Angeles’ amalgam of cultures had a profound effect on Ray’s music. From hip-hop to classical guitar, Ray began to experiment with Afro-Cuban, Spanish and Brazilian sounds.
During this time, he joined the Grammy-award winning group, Quetzal, bringing his own sound in latin jazz to Quetzal’s soul, hip-hop and folkloric music to create a unique blend of politically conscious compositions.
After releasing several critically-acclaimed solo records, Ray decided to push his own musical boundaries by exploring the roots of folk music and applying them to modern jazz compositions.
In 2004 he received the JUSFC Creative Artist Grant to study the folk music of Japan and develop compositions based on his experience living in the country. Since then, he has also travelled through Andalusia, Spain for intensive training of flamenco guitar, as well as Bali, Indonesia to study the complex rhythms of Balinese Gamelan. After living in Jerusalem, he moved to London and then Berlin where he now continues to compose and perform. Most recently he composed music for a short documentary film with artist Ai Wei Wei on the migration crisis in Europe.
• A La Naturaleza (1999)
• Mi Ofrenda (2000)
• Suenos (2002)
• The Mirrors of Life (2005)
• Próxima Parada (2013)
• Japan and United States Friendship Commission Creative Artist Grant
• Eugene Leonard Schaffer Classical Guitar Competition
• ASTA Competition for Strings
• William Mullaney Guitar Competition