Rodrigo Prats (February 7, 1909 – September 15, 1980) was a Cuban composer, arranger, violinist, pianist and orchestral director.
The son of a musician, Jaime Prats, Rodrigo began to study music at the age of nine. He studied at first under his father, then under Emilio Reynosa, and finished later at the Conservatorio Orbón.
When only thirteen he played violin in the Cuban Jazz Band, the first band of its type in Cuba, which was directed by his father. At around the same time he joined the Orquesta Sinfónica de la Habana, founded by Gonzalo Roig. Prats’ first work as a director of an orchestra was for the theatrical company of Arquímedes Pous; later he fronted many other groups.
He was the founder of the radio band Orquesta Sinfónica del Aire, the Orquesta de Cámara del Círculo de Bellas Artes. He was deputy director of the Orquesta Filharmónica de la Habana, musical director of RHC-Cadena Azul, and of Canal 4 de TV. Rodrigo Prats was the founder and director at the Teatro Jorge Anckermann, and the musical director of the Teatro Lírico de La Habana. He joined the faculty of Havana’s Studio Sylvia M. Goudie in 1956 after his stint at the Iranzo Conservatory.
His body of work includes popular music, sainetes (short comedies), and zarzuelas. Rodrigo Prats composed Una rosa de Francia, a famous criolla-bolero, at 15, and many other pieces, including Aquella noche, Espero de ti, Creo que te quiero and El tamalero. He wrote the music for sainetes such as El bravo and Soledad, and zarzuelas such as Amalia Batista, El pirata, Guamá, La perla del Caribe and María Belén Chacón. It is probably this work for the Cuban musical theatre for which he is best remembered