Ralph Wyld is a London-based vibraphonist, percussionist and composer, whose recent accolades include the Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize 2015, and the Dankworth Prize for Jazz Composition 2015. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music jazz course, Ralph is making his name playing original, contemporary music with groups such as the Tim Richards Hextet, John Martin’s ‘Hidden Notes’ and Rick Simpson’s ‘Klammer’. He is set to release his debut album in 2016, on leading European Jazz label Edition Records.
In 2014 Ralph formed his own ensemble, Mosaic, for which he composes all the music. The band played in the 2015 EFG London Jazz Festival at Omnibus Arts Centre, where it also had its first gig a year earlier, and has performed at other London venues such as The Vortex and the 606 Club. In addition, Mosaic played in a masterclass with Dave Holland at the Royal Academy, which prompted London Jazz News to tweet “Ralph Wyld’s writing/textures caught the ear”. As it is to feature on Ralph’s debut release, the band will be touring the country towards the end of 2016.
Beyond his own group, Ralph is in demand as a sideman. He currently plays with a wide range of musicians and groups, including Yazz Ahmed, Tim Richards Hextet, Sam Eagles Quartet, Rick Simpson’s ‘Klammer’, John Martin’s ‘Hidden Notes’, JJ Wheeler’s ‘Come Back Stronger’, drumless co-op Pacha Mama, and Troykestra, the big band incarnation of Troyka. Through these groups and others, he has played at venues up and down the country, including gigs in the London, Manchester, Birmingham and Cheltenham Jazz Festivals. He has also recorded with Tim Richards, Sam Eagles, John Martin, and Troykestra whose subsequent record won the Parliamentary Jazz Award for Album of the year.
As well as these contemporary jazz groups, Ralph plays with the James Taylor Quartet and recently joined them for 3 nights at the Blue Note in Milan. He features on the group’s latest release ‘The Rochester Mass’, which is a suite of music commissioned by the Queen Elizabeth Hall for the quartet plus a 40-strong cathedral choir, horns and percussion. Outside of Jazz, Ralph was principal percussionist of the National Youth Orchestra, playing in the BBC Proms – concerts that were broadcast on television and radio. His orchestral playing also led him to tour China and Brazil, performing in the Beijing International Festival and the International Winter Festival in Campos do Jordão.
In addition to the Dankworth Prize, Ralph’s compositions have also been recognised through awards such as the National Festival of Music for Youth New Composition Award, and the Sibelius Young Composer of the Year. In 2015 he co-led a project with cellist and composer Cecilia Bignall, writing and playing new music celebrating the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, culminating in a performance at the Daunt Books Literary Festival. His music has been performed in such venues as the Royal Festival Hall, Symphony Hall Birmingham, and Ronnie Scott’s.
Ralph is also passionate about education, and whilst studying at the Royal Academy of Music became a Licentiate of the institution in Jazz percussion teaching. As well as one-to-one lessons in percussion and drum kit, he directs percussion ensembles and jazz workshops for students of many ages and abilities. In collaboration with instrument manufacturer Percussion Plus, Ralph produced a series of tuned percussion lessons for ‘Sticks in Motion’, an educational magazine.