Ralph McDonald is a singer, flautist and pianist and graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama with the Dip Mus Ed (1975) and the DRSAMD (Perf)(1976). His teachers have included the renowned baritones John Carol Case and Derek Hammond Stroud and whilst at college he won various prizes and awards, including the Governors’ Recital Prize., the General Good Work Prize and the Hugh S Roberton Prize for Vocal Ensemble work.
He worked as a freelance soloist and also closely with the Hilliard Ensemble as a member of the Western Wind Chamber Choir, with whom he toured all over Europe and Japan. He has also broadcast widely on BBC Radio 3 and 4 and the BBC World Service and has made several appearances in the Classical and Light Entertainment fields on BBC and ITV. During the period 1980 to 1988 he was Bass Lay clerk in Peterborough Cathedral Choir, working with repertoire from Elizabethan age through to commissioned works and many choral masterpieces of the 20th and 19th Centuries. During this period he was also Flute and Singing Teacher at the renowned Uppingham School.
He is in much demand as a recitalist and oratorio soloist, and has sung with Peter Pears, Linda Finnie, Nancy Yuen and other artistes of a similar calibre. His repertoire in the recital field is also extensive, with songs ranging from 15th Century through to repertoire of the 20th and 21st Centuries, with several first performances, including works by John Sharpley and Paul Edwards. He is no stranger to opera and his roles include Aeneas (Dido and Aeneas) Talpa (Il Tabarro) Mandarin (Turandot) Lodovico (Otello) Count (Marriage of Figaro) The Speaker (Magic Flute) Count Danilo (The Merry Widow) Fasolt (Das Rheingold) Lodovico (Otello).
He has been an examiner for Trinity College London since 1991, and in 2010 was granted the Chairman’s Award for his services to examining. As an examiner and adjudicator he has toured all over the world, particularly in the Australasia region. He was based in Bangkok in 2001-2002 where he was Voice Lecturer Mahidol University and in Singapore from 2006-2013 where he was a Part-Time Lecturer in Voice at LaSalle (Musical Theatre Dept) and at the Singapore School of the Arts. He also gives regular support meetings for teachers and candidates who are interested in undertaking music examinations, auditions, concerts etc. He has worked as an Adjudicator for International Music Festivals and competitions, having adjudicated Queensland Music Festival 2003, Malaysian Youth Festival in 2007 and 2009, Kota Kinabalu Festival in 2010, Bangkok Trinity Competition in 2007 and Singapore Trinity Competition in 2004, 2006 and 2008 and the Christchurch Concerto Competition in 2009. He moved to The Netherlands in August 2013, and in Summer 2016 returned to his native Scotland. His latest move was to The Cotswolds in the Stroud area where he carries on his work as a Teacher, Examiner, Performer and Adjudicator. He is a member of the Association of Teachers of Singing (AOTOS).