Ralph de Souza was born in Bombay and began violin lessons from an early age with his father, and later with Melbourne Halloween. His father, a doctor, was a self-taught violin fanatic who still gives impromptu violin lessons to any little children who come ringing on his doorbell, and whose other distinguished pupil was Ralph’s brother Harvey. Ralphs mother cannot stand the sound of the violin not only because there are violins and bows cluttering up all corners of the flat, but mainly because she “lost” both her sons to musical careers in the West. Ralph was brought up speaking English as it was the only language in common between his Chinese mother and Indian father. His father chose the name to give his mother plenty of practice with the difficult consonants R and L! Ralph was put on a plane by himself at the age of ten to go to the Yehudi Menuhin School, where he found himself sharing a room with Messrs. Garfield Jackson and Nigel Kennedy. Having survived this culture shock he then went to the Curtis Institute in the USA to study with Ivan Galamian and Jaime Laredo.
In 1977 he won the Royal Overseas League Competition in London, and his solo career has included appearances with Yehudi Menuhin. In 1985, Ralph spent the summer playing chamber music at Marlboro and became determined to turn to professional quartet-playing. By coincidence, very soon after, there came out of the blue the phone call which led him eventually to join the Endellion String Quartet in 1986 (and return to a cricket-playing country). He has been a sought- after chamber musician, and has had a close association with the International Musicians’ Seminar in Prussia Cove, starting in his student days when he was deeply influenced by Sandor Vegh. He also returned to the Menuhin School for several years as a teacher.
Keen to offer something back to India, he has been involved in the “Sangat” Music Festival in Bombay (now in its 12th year), of which he is an Artistic Director.