RON KORB COMPLETE BIO
Multi-award-winning flautist Ron Korb is famous for playing a wide variety indigenous woodwinds from around the world. He has 5 Grammy Certificates 4 of them from winning albums including “Divine Tides” by Stewart Copeland and Ricky Kej for Best Immersive Audio Album and “Sakura” by Masa Takumi for Best Global Music Album both of which won this year at the 2023 Grammy Awards in February. Ron's critically acclaimed music has been released in twenty countries on various record labels. The albums are on many top favourite lists and legendary singers in Asia have made cover versions of his music. He has toured extensively throughout Europe, Canada, The USA, Central America, Australia, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Hong Kong, Mainland China, Singapore and Japan. Ron’s compositions are evoke imagery of the diverse cultural traditions and experiences of his travels.
As a child he loved the sound of the flute. However, he didn't get an opportunity to play an instrument (the recorder) until the last year of grade school. His teachers and classmates soon discovered that Ron had a natural talent to play by ear and create melodies. One of Ron's first performance experiences was playing in an Irish immigrants flute and drum band. The Irish jigs, reels and slow airs that he played were the foundation of his appreciation of Celtic music.
During his teens, Ron also collected hundreds of jazz records and often went to see the legends in concert. This experience is reflected in many of his compositions which are a crossover of jazz and world music. Most of Ron's peers thought that he would become a visual artist or filmmaker. As a child he had demonstrated strong drawing and storytelling ability but like so many young artists, his form of expression, in this case - the flute, chose him. Nonetheless, fans consistently remark that Ron Korb's music elicits very strong visual images - an influence from this part of his life.
As Ron began taking flute lessons, he was drawn into the world of classical music. He commenced studies at The Royal Conservatory of Music and won a scholarship to study at The University of Toronto, Faculty of Music. During this period he participated in master classes with legendary flautists Robert Aitken, Michel Debost, Paula Robison, Robert Langevin, Raymond Guiot and Severino Gazzeloni.
After graduating with honours from the University of Toronto with a degree in music performance his interest in world flutes grew. Soon he recorded his first album with Donald Quan entitled Tear Of The Sun and where he debuted his bamboo flute playing. Ron decided to live in Asia and formally study the traditional flutes. Ron Korb was both discovering his cultural heritage and who he was as a musician. He travelled to Japan where he studied Gagaku court music with flute master Akao Michiko. While living in Tokyo he worked as a staff writer for Japan Central Music where he wrote songs for major stars such as Alan Tam, Roman Tam, Stephanie Lai and Yvonne Lau that earned Gold and Double Platinum awards.
While living in Tokyo he recorded his second album, Japanese Mysteries, with composer Hiroki Sakaguchi and a group of traditional Japanese musicians. Each piece on this album explored interesting cultural and historical aspects of this unique country.
After returning from Asia, Ron travelled to many other countries in his search of rare woodwind instruments, taking time to study with local master musicians. The result was a beautiful album called Flute Traveller which explored fifteen different flutes from five continents. In the flute museum, you can learn about these instruments which Ron still uses to create his music. Over the years, in his travels, Ron has collected over 250 flutes from around the world
For his next album, Behind The Mask, Ron wrote a short story about the Indonesian shadow puppet plays. To further develop the mythic storyline he travelled to Java and Bali. The album was an ambitious project that used world music styles as diverse as Spanish, Indonesian, Chinese, Calypso and Celtic. Before recording, Ron performed frequently with his band who were a great help with the arrangements and developing a sound in front of an audience.
While Ron was playing on weekly dramas such as Road To Avonlea and Emily Of New Moon he began to develop his own writing style on the penny whistle and low whistle. These compositions were the basis for the album, Celtic Heartland, which was recorded at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in Bath England. In the same way as Japanese Mysteries incorporated traditional instruments, Ron invited traditional Celtic musicians to bring an authentic flavour to the recording.
In his 2014 album Europa Ron explored the world of Baroque and Classical with pieces like Mozart's Wedding, Beethoven Pasqualatihaus and the virtuosic St. Johann won Global Music Award for Excellence in Composition and Best Instrumental Solo performance and Best Album Design.
Ron has performed twice at The Glastonbury Festival in England and The Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. Other major concerts include The National Theatre in Panama City, The Shanghai International Spring Music Festival, The World Art Stage in Edinburgh, Arnhem Cathedral in Holland, and The Canada Pavilion at Expo 2005 in Nagoya and Madison Square Garden in New York.
Ron has performed for Queen Elizabeth, Princess Takamado of Japan, Princess Bopha Devi of Cambodia, and was featured on the World Youth Day recording for Pope John Paul and the Dalai Lama’s World Festival of Sacred Music in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He has also shared stages with Peter Gabriel, Jane Siberry, Tia Carrere, Liona Boyd, The Yardbirds, Olivia Newton John and Cesaria Evora.
Ron was a featured soloist in The Lord of the Rings Symphony at Roy Thomson Hall and also was a soloist with the Toronto Symphony at the 2008 Olympic Bid concert with a song he composed with Donald Quan. He has also written music for dance like Sentier Inconnu by Gaetan Gingras and played flute for an art installation by native artist Kent Monkman.
Ron has played many movie soundtracks which have been nominated for Oscars and Cannes Film Festival awards. Some of the films have included Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm and Ride with the Devil, Atom Egoyan’s Exotica, Sweet Hereafter and Felicia’s Journey, Nõ by Robert Lepage, Mira Nair’s Kama Sutra, John Woo’s Blackjack and the 3D IMAX film Space Station narrated by Tom Cruise. Other credits include The Snow Walker and Return To Kandahar, Being Julia and Merchant/Ivory’s The White Countess starring Ralph Fiennes, Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave and takes place in 1940’s Shanghai. Ron played on an Emmy winning episode of World Without End in 2013 by Golden Globe and Academy Award winning composer Mychael Danna.
Ron has had 25 tours in Asia and since 2002 he has played in Mainland China seven times.In October 2014 Ron represented Canada at The China Shanghai International Arts Festival’s Canadian Culture Week along with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Montreal Symphony. Ron’s sold out concert at Shanghai Concert Hall was voted the audience choice by the fans.
Ron's latest album Asia Beauty received a nomination at the 58th Grammy Awards and won the "Best of Show" at the Global Music Awards, and First Prize for Best Instrumental at the International Acoustic Music Awards. The album has also won the Best World Album at the 2016 ZMR Awards and Best World Fusion at the One World Radio Awards. Ron also received The Brand Laureate International Personality Award in 2016 along with Adele, English footballer Sol Campbell, veteran BBC journalist John Simpson and actors Andy Serkis and Keanu Reeves.