Ralph Hepola

Instrument: Tuba | Location: Kansas City

“Tu like a tuba, fufu like a funker and gro like a groover. This tune has Herbie fusion magic all over it.” 4 stars
—Fiona Ord-Shrimpton, Editor/Curator of Track of the Day on All About Jazz, the world’s biggest jazz website, writing about “Roots and Wings” from the new recording “Ralph Hepola – Tuba” on Spectrum Recordings.

Updated: October 25, 2019

Born in Saint Paul, Minnesota in the United States, Ralph Hepola studied piano before starting on the tuba at age twelve. At seventeen, he was chosen to play before the British Royal Family in the Manitoba All-Province Band at Brandon University in Manitoba, Canada. While still in high school, Ralph began performing as an extra musician with the Minnesota Orchestra, which later included recordings, and tours to Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City. While still a teenager, Ralph won a position with The United States Army Band of Washington, D.C. At age twenty, he won a full scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music in the Young Artist Competition of the Minnesota Orchestra/WAMSO.

Ralph earned his music degree at Northwestern University where he studied with renowned musician and teacher Arnold Jacobs. Five books have been published covering Mr. Jacobs’ celebrated career, which included forty-four years as Principal Tubaist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. At Northwestern University, Ralph played and soloed with Jazz Ensemble I, which twice won Best Big Band at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival.

Subsequently, Ralph won an international audition for the Basel Symphony Orchestra. Basel is Switzerland’s third-largest city. There he performed under renowned conductors including Pierre Boulez and Antal Dorati. During five years in Europe, he performed as a soloist on Swiss Radio, and played in the Vienna Philharmonic at the Salzburg Music Festival in Austria under Herbert von Karajan, Claudio Abbado, and Lorin Maazel. Ralph then freelanced for two years in New York City with various jazz and classical ensembles.

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“Tu like a tuba, fufu like a funker and gro like a groover. This tune has Herbie fusion magic all over it.” 4 stars - Fiona Ord-Shrimpton, Editor/Curator of Track of the Day on All About Jazz, the world’s biggest jazz website, writing about Roots and Wings from the new recording Ralph Hepola - Tuba on September 12, 2019.

“People are still talking about the show you did and how great it was.” “Evansville is still talking about Route 3. If they aren't praising the show you guys, did, they're bemoaning the fact that they missed it!' - Karen Howell, President, Evansville Arts Coalition

“Ralph Hepola and Route 3 performed “On the Sunny Side of the Street: Uplifting Songs from the 1930s” to a sold out house in the Bloomington Center for the Arts Black Box Theater

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