Born: July 9, 1976 Primary Instrument: Piano
Introducing one of South Africa's finest musicians, jazz pianist and entertainer Ralston van der Schyff has developed his own unique style of piano playing.
His reputation for panache and sophistication is echoed by many audiences who have enjoyed listening to him play.
Throughout his 30 years of playing the piano, Ralston has learnt how to produce just the right sound that is easy on the ear. Beneath his selection of rich jazz harmony and improvisation, lie subtle nuances of classical melodies and patterns, transforming each song into an inspiring musical journey.
First taught by his father at age around 7, he then went on to pursue formal classical training at the Battswood College of Music in 1986 at the age of 10 through till 1994. During those 8 years he also enrolled in the Royal Schools of Music examinations through till grade 8, obtaining distinctions in some of his practical examinations. In 1995, he started jazz studies with George Werner at the Jazz Workshop, after which he then pursued a business degree. In 2001, he resumed his jazz studies at the Jazz Workshop with legendary jazz pianist and teacher Mertyn Barrow.
Ralston plays a variety of styles. Although mainly specializing in jazz, being anything from swing, blues, funk, Latin, African and any other sub-branches of jazz, his repertoire expands into other styles including rock, pop, contemporary, country, R&B, gospel and also classical. His years of experience, technical musical ability and passion enable him to play in any format, ranging from solo piano, duets (accompanying voice or instrument), trios to bands, as a pianist, keyboardist and vocalist.
Festivals, Showcases & Special Events performed at:
Shanghai Slow Food Fund-Raising Event, Hilton Shanghai, China - Dec 2011 China Wine Challenge Dinner & Awards Ceremony, Hilton Shanghai, China - Jul 2011 Akzonobel Awards Ceremony, Le Royal Meridien, Shanghai, China - Apr 2011 Peter Buffet Celebrity Dinner, Hilton Shanghai, China - Mar 2011 West Coast Classical Music Festival, Darling, South Africa - Feb 2011 ATP Tennis Masters Cup, Qizhong Center, Shanghai, China - Nov 2007 & Oct 2009 Shanghai International Music Festival, Shanghai, China - May 2007 Shanghai Musical Instrument Exhibition, Shanghai, China - Oct 2006 & Oct 2007 South African Consulate General, Shanghai, China - April 2006 Slaley Jazz Festival, The Barnyard, Franschoek, South Africa - Apr 2005 Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees, Oudtshoorn, South Africa - Apr 2004 & Mar 2005 Woordfees, Stellenbosch, South Africa - Mar 2004 & Mar 2005 Macufe Festival, DownStage Theatre, Bloemfontein, South Africa - Oct 2004 Voorkamer Festival, Darling, South Africa - Sep 2004 Gariepfees, Kimberly, South Africa - Sep 2004 Windhoek Arts Festival, Warehouse Theatre, Namibia - Sep 2004 Vodacom Sounds of Summer, V&A Waterfront Amphitheatre, South Africa - Jan 2004 Cape Town Jazzathon, V&A Waterfront Amphitheatre, South Africa - Jan 2003 Johnny Walker Jazz Impressions Showcase, The Green Dolphin, South Africa - Jun 2002
Ralston van der Schyff se klavierspel in 'Swart Koffee' is onverbeterlik... [english translation: Ralston van der Schyff's playing in 'Black Coffee' couldn't have been played any better...] [Karen Breytenbach, Independent Newspapers - Apr 10, 2004]
...Van der Schyff se vingers wat rats oor die klawers hop - dit is die hart van swing. [english translation: ...Van der Schyff's fingers that effortlessly hop over the keys - that is the heart of swing.] [Marlize van Taak, Independent Newspapers - Aug 10, 2004]
The trio of musicians, led by Ralston van der Schyff on piano, are a revelation together...They handle all the songs, not only with panache but with an unselfconscious flair that provides the backbone to the evening. Grandstanding entertainment... [Independent Newspapers - Feb 18, 2005]
A special thanks must go to pianist Ralston van der Schyff, who did a bit of a rescue act at the jam session in the last set when the dreaded flu forced the other piano men to leave early. Van der Schyff is another talent making his mark around town. [Gary van Dyk, Cape Argus Tonight - Jul 02, 2003]