Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Music

Ralph Dawson


I was born in Croydon, Surrey in 1962. I studied the violin with Ralph Holmes, Brian Thomas and later, Maurice Claire. I continued my musical studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and then as a postgraduate at London University. I began my professional musical career as a member firstly of the Ulster Orchestra (two years), and then as a member of the orchestra of Opera North (five years). In 1992 I left full-time employment to seek work as a freelance musician.

For the last two decades I have enjoyed working with a great variety of professional musicians, teachers and artists in a wide variety of genres and contexts. I have worked with most professional orchestras in the North of England, including Opera North, the Northern Sinfonia, RPO, RLPO, the Manchester Camerata, NCO, NBT, Orchestra Viva, Scottish Ballet, etc. I have led the Orchestra of D’Oyly Carte and the National Operetta Orchestra, and worked with many other freelance ensembles (the Manchester Concert Orchestra, Johann Strauss touring Orchestra, Moscow City Ballet etc). I have also worked with artists in many other genres (including Led Zepplin, The Moody Blues, the Syd Lawrence band, Russell Watson, and Katherine Jenkins). I perform regularly in solo and chamber music recitals, and have given several performances of the concertos by Bruch and Mendelssohn in recent years.

In parallel to my experience as a professional performing musician, I have enjoyed a regular commitment over two decades to tutoring and teaching music. I have held instrumental teaching positions at the Minster School Southwell (3 years), Leeds College of Music (10 years), and currently at St. Peter’s School in York.

As both a performer and a teacher I understand how each discipline informs the other. Every student has individual needs, and I aim to guide each student toward fulfilling all their musical potential and aspirations.

© Copyright Leeds 2018