"Without music, life would be a mistake." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Ralph Rousseau began 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 began as a double-bass player, where he performed with, among others, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He also combined this with pop, jazz and rock music.

In 1996 he changed direction and took up the viola da gamba. He studied with Jaap ter Linden and rapidly became the most prominent Netherlands ambassador for the seven-stringed instrument. He has been soloist with, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Gelders Orchestra, the Residentie Orchestra Bach Ensembles, the North-Netherlands Orchestra and the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra, with such conductors as Sir Roger Norrington and Ivan Fischer.

Ralph’s greatest strength is his interpretation of the works for solo viola da gamba. Various composers have created new works for him and his solo concerts have brought him to chamber music festivals throughout Europe, the United States, Thailand and China. 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.

His CD recordings of composers such as Bach and Marais are internationally praised and his cross-over work has also gained exceptional recognition. At the end of 2008 Ralph signed a recording contract with Challenge Records and brought out his CD ‘Chansons d’Amour’. This was received with critical acclaim: “Chansons d’Amour is more than flirtation. It is real love.” (Klassieke Zaken)

Ralph plays an original instrument by Georg Aman (1705), a seven string bass by Reinhard Ossenbrunner and a copy of a division viol by Floris-Jan van der Voort. Bows by Gerhard Landwehr.

Featured on

Ralph Rousseau
On Christmas Night
Ralph Rousseau / Lenny Kuhr
Ralph Rousseau
Chansons d'amour
Ralph Rousseau


Ralph Rousseau & friends: The sound of silence
Ralph Rousseau with Lenny Kuhr
Ralph Rousseau Matangi Hein van de Geyn
Ralph Rousseau Hein Van de Geyn recording session
Ralph Rousseau - rehearsals Cent Mille Chansons
Ralph Rousseau Silence video
Ralph Rousseau & Friends: La chanson des vieux amants
Interview Ralph Rousseau over CD Silence & presentatie bij AVRO Radio 4
Ralph Rousseau - Plainte Caix d'Hervelois