Ralph Rousseau knew very early on that music and science would be dominating factors in his life. Playing the piano and bass guitar at the age of eight he later combined his conservatoire double-bass studies with a university physics degree, graduating ‘cum laude’ in both.
His professional career started as a double-bass player, where he performed with, among others, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. As a researcher, he worked for Shell and for the Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research. He combined this with pop, jazz and rock music.
His first, fortuitous, acquaintance with the viola da gamba made him switch instantly. He studied with Jaap ter Linden and rapidly became the most prominent Netherlands ambassador for the seven-stringed instrument. His many recordings of composers such as Telemann, Bach, and Marais have been internationally praised and his cross-over work has also gained exceptional recognition. Ralph’s album Chansons d’Amour was awarded the Edison classical audience award, the Netherlands’ most prestigious cd award.
Ralph’s greatest strength is his interpretation of the works for solo viola da gamba.
The presentation of his concerts is very personal; he introduces the works himself and his commentary creates an intimate atmosphere even in the largest of halls. He is currently working in the theatre as well, performing one-man shows with such directors as Justus van Oel and Han Peekel.
He has been gamba soloist with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Arnhem Symphony Orchestra, the Residentie Orchestra Bach Ensembles, the North-Netherlands Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra, with such conductors as Sir Roger Norrington, Vladimir Ashkenazy, and Ivan Fischer, but also with popular musicians as Lenny Kuhr, Ad Visser, and Eric Vloeimans. Various composers have created new works for him and his solo concerts have brought him to music festivals throughout Europe, the United States, Thailand and China.
Son of a teacher, Rousseau displays a keen interest in education. In 2011 he decided to do the Master of Education, graduating cum laude in the field. He actually worked as a physics teacher in secondary education for some time, before accepting a position as an assistant professor at Utrecht University, where he is currently researching intrinsic motivation, the deepest driving forces of students, learners, and people in general.
Ralph is a macrobiotic cook, an accomplished t’ai chi practitioner, he has been mediating daily for 35 years, and is fascinated by history, astrophysics, and aviation. He obtained his private pilot’s licence (PPL) in 2009.
Ralph’s unorthodox combination of activities and the lessons learned in the different fields, combined with his professional insights in motivational theory, have made him a popular public speaker in the field of inner driving forces and intrinsic motivation.