Ralph Symann was raised in a family in which intensive and active engagement with music is a high priority for generations. He receives early lessons at the piano, later also on oboe and church organ. In addition to the impulses from lessons, school orchestras and concerts he attends, though, it is the rich domestic collection of recording media and sheet music from classical music, rock/pop, jazz and more, which offers the fascinating “milieu” that inspires him to independently engage with the wide range of different genres and styles.
While listening to or actively practising music, analyzing and comparing, clear preferences become apparent during school days already: all classics – and particularly Beethoven – on the one hand, rock music – and especially the Beatles – on the other. This passion for rock music even takes him to the keyboard of a rock band during his civilian service, and the concomitant proximity to the entertainment sector probably also influenced the concept of art that he develops at the same time – and still represents today: successful communication between artist and audience, he says, assumes a certain intersection of their interests and preferences. Therefore the audience which Ralph Symann thinks of while composing, agrees with him in the lasting appreciation of the traditional musical language.
Ralph Symann’s love of classical music expands towards the end of school time into the general interest in functionally harmonic music, which formally is written in classical structures. This category includes music of – eg. – Schubert and Sousa, the Haydns, the Bachs, the Mozarts, Vivaldi and the Strauß-family.
Consequently he also composes in the traditional – “classical” – tonal language himself, because the structures of this music, especially the major-minor tonality, have become the basis of his identity as a musician and composer.
After high school and civil service Symann begins an autodidactic training as a composer. Through profound musicological research he acquires the necessary knowledge and skills from modern specialist literature as well as from historical sources, and continues to develop through the in-depth analysis of the works of his models.
This diachronic and synchronic view of the abundance of compositions of various styles naturally also affects his own work: he makes use of this diversity, plays with forms and architecture, varies in compositional technique. But he never breaks through the principles of classical musical forms and functional harmony.
On this basis, with each work he takes up the challenge to create a cohesive, self-evident piece of art that appeals to his audience and at the same time brings pleasure to the specialist.