photo Dominique Desrue
Ehlers started playing the viola at age 12, in his home town of
São Paulo, Brazil. Six years later he won the 1989 international
competition Sul América and went on to give recitals across
South America and to play concertos with some Brazil's leading orchestras.
continued his studies in Detmold, Germany, with Nobuko Imai, and
at the Salzburg Mozarteum in Austria with Thomas Riebl, where he
discovered his passion for chamber music. A founding member of the
Pulcinella Quartet, Ralf later moved to England, where he was a
member of groups as diverse as the Raphael Ensemble, the Solomon
Ensemble, and Configure8. Other chamber music partners have included
Steven Isserlis, Gabor Takacs, the Emperor String Quartet and the
New Zealand String Quartet.
has cultivated a particular interest in the works of living composers.
In 1997, he gave the European premiere of George Benjamin's Viola
Viola with Garth Knox. He has also worked with many contemporary
ensembles including the Austrian Ensemble for New Music, the London
Sinfonietta, Musikfabrik, and Ensemble Modern in Frankfurt, with
whom he performed Brian Ferneyhough's Incipits for viola
and ensemble at the Salzburg Festival in 2005.
2003, Ralf was given the opportunity to combine his two passions
- chamber music and contemporary music – by joining the Arditti
Quartet. He has since performed with his quartet in most of the
world's major concert halls, and with many of the leading orchestras
Quartet's schedule permitting, Ralf also enjoys playing within different
musical frameworks. More recently, he featured as a soloist with
the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for some performances of ‘Harold
in Italy' by Berlioz, and taught master classes which culminated
in a recital of solo works - some of which were written for him
- in the ‘International Symposium for Contemporary Music' in Curitiba,
plays on a viola which he made himself in 2005.