This morning, maximum scores have been awarded for the show by Ralph and Dutch weather forecaster and glaciologist dr. Peter Kuipers Munneke, ‘Counting Eskimo Words for Snow’. In this show, Kuipers Munneke not only gives the listener an insight into life in the extremes of the earth, but also shows us the direct effects of climate change. Ralph provides for an aural experience through works by a.o. Claude Debussy, Karen Tanaka, John Luther Adams and Anthony Fiumara.
Ralph’s recital at Carnegie Hall debut on October 24th, including works by Charles-Valentin Alkan, Claude Debussy, Pierre Boulez and Louis Andriessen, was met with many bravo’s and a standing ovation by the New York audience. After the recital, which was included in the Top 10 Picks by the New York Times, rave reviews have been published in ClassicalSource, Musical America and New York Classical Review. Some quotes: ‘Playing to a full house…, given the chance to hear him again live, I would run, not walk’ (Musical America); ‘bracing performance’ (NY Classical Review); ‘simply enchanting Debussy…Van Raat’s technical skills met Alkan’ s challenges impressively… RvR combined hauntingly beautiful expression with dramatic fervor’ (ClassicalSource)
Ralph has been interviewed by Bas van Putten about his fascination for the diversity of contemporary classical music, in relationship to the upcoming world première of Vladimir Martynov’s Music for Piano and Orchestra. Published in this week’s issue of De Groene Amsterdammer.
Last Saturday, Ralph played to a sold-out house at the Philharmonie de Paris for the first Pierre Boulez Biennial event. In a performance described as “sublime”, the evening ended to thunderous applause.
During the last week of August, Ralph has recorded his next CD for the Naxos record label. This time he recorded, in the beautiful acoustics of the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in Amsterdam, the world premiere of Pierre Boulez’ Prélude, Toccata et Scherzo. Besides that, he recorded other music by some of the the main French composers, that is lesser known or recently discovered, such as Messiaen’s La Fauvette Passerinette and Debussy’s Étude Retrouvée. Stay tuned for the release date!
After Ralph van Raat’s recording of the piano music by Arvo Pärt was used for the renowned series Boardwalk Empire, Ralph is now featured in the soundtrack of the critically acclaimed, Oscar winning film by Luca Guadagnino, Call me by your name with his 2007 Naxos release of John Adams’s Phrygian Gates. This piece is featured, as well as other tracks of this CD. Now playing in theatres worldwide. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9AYPxH5NTM
Last Saturday, Ralph performed for the first time the complete cycle of 18 piano études by György Ligeti in the well-attended main hall of De Singel, Antwerp, Belgium. As a preface to the concert, he also gave a 70-minute lecture about the cycle. Journalist Tom Janssens interviewed Ralph for Belgian national newspaper ‘De Standaard’.
At present, Ralph is in France, for masterclasses at the École Normale de Musique in Paris, and consecutively two weeks as a jury member of the Orléans International Piano Competition, together with six other jury members from all over the world. In presence of widows of composer icons such as Mrs. Denisov and Mrs. Jolivet, and in presence of founder of the competition, Mrs. Françoise Thinat, he listened to 31 international candidates performing the broadest variety of 20th and 21st century composers. The competition was opened by the mayor of Orléans, and will close with the finals on Sunday, March 16.
Yesterday, a very positive review was written in newspaper De Volkskrant about Ralph’s performance, last Thursday night, in the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in Amsterdam. He played Dutch first performances of unknown works by Debussy, Ravel and Messiaen, plus some works by Boulez. Quoting reviewer Bela Luttmer: ‘[Messiaen’s birds] tweeted under Van Raat’s virtuosic hands…What a fascinating, rich harvest.’