Ralph is a performer.
An award-winning graduate of The Juilliard School, three-time Tanglewood Fellow, and Young Arts Master Teacher, Ralph is a founding member and Artistic Director of the genre-bending string quartet ETHEL (described by the New York Times as “indefatigable and eclectic,” and by the New Yorker as “vital and brilliant”). The group is Resident Ensemble at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Balcony Bar, where Ralph programs the weekly “ETHEL and Friends” concerts. ETHEL is also Ensemble-in-Residence at Denison University, where its members were awarded honorary doctorates during Denison’s 2017 commencement exercises.
Ralph’s creative ideal—driving his own artistry as well as ETHEL’s—is a collaborative ethos, a quest for a common creative expression forged by the celebration of community. With ETHEL, Ralph creates and tours rich multimedia productions such as ETHEL’s Documerica, inspired by the tens of thousands of images shot as part of the EPA’s decade-long Project Documerica, launched in 1971 and The River, a collaboration with Taos Pueblo flutist Robert Mirabal (nominated for a 2016 NAMMY).
ETHEL’s self-titled debut album was a Billboard “Best Recording of ’03.”Its follow-up, Light, ranked #3 on Amazon.com’s “Best of ’06”and Oshtali: Music for String Quartet (2010), is the first commercial recording of American Indian student works. Heavy (2012), was a Q-2 “Album of the Week”and ETHEL’S Documerica (2015), was featured in the New York Times and on iTunes.
ETHEL has appeared as a guest artist on over a dozen recordings including Laurence Hobgood’s forthcoming tesseterra (TBD, 2017), Cold Blue Two (Cold Blue Music, 2012), Kaki King’s Glow (Velour Recordings, 2012), Joe Jackson’s The Duke (Razor & Tie, 2012), Thomas Dolby’s A Map of the Floating City (Redeye Label, 2011), and Kurt Elling’s GRAMMY®-winning Dedicated to You: Kurt Elling Sings the Music of Coltrane and Hartman (Concord Records, 2009).
As a solo performer, Ralph has performed in concert with Paul Simon, Juana Molina, Tom Verlaine, Jill Sobule, STEW, Andrew Bird, Fernando Otero, Thomas Dolby, Jeff Peterson, Laurence Hobgood, Jake Shimabukuro, JP Jofre, Vijay Iyer, Pete Townshend, Leonard Bernstein, Alice Cooper, Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, Sinead O’Connor, Joe Jackson, and Lou Reed. Ralph served as Music Director and Solo Fiddle of the Roger Daltrey Band and is an original company member of Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway. With ETHEL, Ralph has appeared twice at the TED Conference—as a speaker, and as the house band.
His new ensemble, a band of violas known as Firewood, debuted with Gallim Dance at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Temple of Dendur.