Ralph Kirshbaum

The distinguished career of Texas-born cellist Ralph Kirshbaum encompasses the worlds of solo performance, chamber music, recording and pedagogy. He enjoys the affection and respect not only of audiences worldwide, but also of his many eminent colleagues and students. 

Ralph has appeared with many renowned orchestras, including the Boston, San Francisco, BBC and London Symphonies. He has collaborated with great conductors such as Herbert Blomstedt, Semyon Bychkov and the late Kurt Masur. Ralph has been involved in many prominent international festivals as Edinburgh, Bath and Verbier; in 1988, he founded the first RNCM Manchester International Cello Festival. In 2012, Ralph inaugurated the highly successful Piatigorsky International Cello Festival in Los Angeles. 

Ralph served on the faculty of the Royal Northern College of Music for 38 years. He is the Chair of the Strings Department at the Thornton School of Music. In July 2016, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.   He served a five-year term on the United States President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

The rare Montagnana Cello that Ralph plays once belonged to the 19th-century virtuoso Alfredo Piatti.

“Having begun my odyssey as a string player at age 4 by emulating my father on the violin, before falling in love with the cello at age 6, it is particularly meaningful for me to return to my 'musical roots' in joining my respected colleagues on the jury of the Menuhin Violin Competition. I am deeply honored to be a part of this venerable event, a joyful celebration of both the violin and the art of music-making, and fully supportive of its vision to foster in succeeding generations the highest artistic and humanitarian ideals.”