Ralph (Edwin) Grierson. Pianist, harpsichordist, keyboard synthesist, composer, b New Westminster, BC, 23 Jun 1942; B MUS (Southern California) 1966, M MUS (Southern California) 1968. His teachers 1948-62 in New Westminster, BC, and in Vancouver were Priscilla Eastman, Glenn Nelson, and Glen Geary. By 1958 Grierson had appeared in 12 children's concerts with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Before and during studies 1962-8 at the University of Southern California with John Crown and Ingolf Dahl he played in Vancouver nightclubs with Fraser MacPherson, Dal Richards, Dave Robbins, and others, and on such CBC programs as 'Sound of the 60s' (radio, 1964-5) and 'Chorus Gentlemen' (TV, 1965, 1966).
Successful Career in the US
In 1968 Ralph Grierson settled in Los Angeles, establishing parallel careers as a studio musician for TV and film (playing all the electronic keyboard instruments and also piano, organ, and harpsichord) and as an interpreter of contemporary music. With Michael Tilson Thomas he made the first recording of Stravinsky's own four-hand piano reduction of The Rite of Spring. Grierson was frequently a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, playing in Pierre Boulez' Éclat multiple (under the composer's baton), Messiaen's Turangalîla-Symphonie, and works by Bach, Gershwin, and Gottschalk. He performed in chamber music series in Los Angeles, often with Tilson Thomas, in programs that have included music by Bartók, Cage, Copland, Gailliard, Kraft, Lanza, Mozart, and Subotnick. He performed Subotnick's Liquid Strata in several US cities. In 1974 he visited Vancouver to give a concert and lecture on ragtime for the CBC. Grierson has performed on the sound tracks of hundreds of motion pictures and TV shows. Significant films after 1990 on which his playing can be heard include The Horse Whisperer, Matrix (prepared piano), Fantasia/2000 (Rhapsody in Blue), and Monsters, Inc. He has been a regular collaborator of composer James Horner. He composed the music for the TV films The Hired Heart, Habitat, To Find My Son and Red Earth, White Earth, and a four-movement video performance, Sometimes... Not Always (Music and Health) premiered at the Los Angeles Theater Centre in 1984. The recordings 'S Wonderful and Fantasia 2000 were both nominated for Grammy awards.