Assistant Professor - Percussion
Room 152B, Swope Music Building
M.M., Temple University
B.S. (Music Education), West Chester University
B.M., West Chester University
Ralph Sorrentino teaches applied percussion and directs the Percussion Ensemble at West Chester University. As a performer, Ralph is the Principal Percussionist with the Opera Company of Philadelphia and he is a Section Percussionist with the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra. Ralph performs as a substitute percussionist with The Philadelphia Orchestra, having performed with the Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Kennedy Center, Mann Music Center and Saratoga Performing Arts Center. He is also a substitute percussionist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, having performed with the CSO at Orchestra Hall, Carnegie Hall and the Ravinia Festival. Ralph serves as Principal Percussionist of the Bay-Atlantic Symphony and Symphony in C, and he has also performed with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Peter Nero and the Philly Pops, the Russian National Orchestra, the New World, Delaware, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Kennett and Reading Symphonies, Orchestra 2001 and Opera Delaware.
Ralph, along with flutist Sophia Anastasia, is a founding member of Electrum Duo. The Duo’s November 2008 New York City debut at Bargemusic was favorably reviewed in the December 1, 2008 edition of The New York Times. Music critic Steve Smith commented that “the Electrum players were persuasive advocates: Ms. Anastasia played with brightness and vigor, while Mr. Sorrentino pattered across drums, cymbals and woodblocks with an impressive feeling of flow.” Mr. Smith continued to say “the playing had an air of conversational spontaneity; each performer seemed to finish the other’s statements now and then...[Ms. Anastasia’s] vitality was neatly balanced by the graceful efficiency with which Mr. Sorrentino choreographed his manifold tasks throughout the evening. Perhaps it was the ability to play against type that made these players cohere so effectively.” Electrum Duo has presented recitals in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Virginia. In May 2011 the Duo premiered JLS, a ballet by award-winning composer Robert Maggio, in collaboration with Roxey Ballet Company of Lambertville, NJ. The Duo’s debut album, introductions, was released in October 2011 and is available on iTunes and Amazon.com. The album was reviewed in the July 2012 edition of Percussive Notes. Critic John Lane commented that “the performances are tight and excellently crafted: a high standard of a chamber music execution in which both musicians get to flex their skill...What [introductions] does best is showcase the talent of two extraordinarily talented performers who have cultivated a strong musical connection.”
As a solo artist, Ralph gave the 2003 world premiere performance of composer Robert Maggio's Songs from the Wood (for solo marimba) after playing an integral role in the commission and development of the work. Ralph was named First Runner-Up in the national finals of the 1999 MTNA Collegiate Artist Percussion Competition in Los Angeles, CA. Ralph has recorded percussion tracks for NFL Films, including music that was heard on the national television broadcasts of Super Bowls XL through XLVI. Ralph’s playing can be heard on several record labels, including Ondine Records (with The Philadelphia Orchestra), Bridge Records (with Symphony in C), Telarc (with Delaware Symphony), and Innova (with Bay-Atlantic Symphony). He performed on Telarc’s Interchange, a recording collaboration between the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and Delaware Symphony, which was nominated for a 2010 Latin Grammy Award.
Ralph joined the percussion faculty at West Chester University in August 2004 and he currently holds the rank of Assistant Professor. He has served as an adjunct faculty member at Immaculata University since January 2003.
Ralph holds an M.M. in Orchestral Performance from Temple University, as well as a B.M. in Music Performance and a B.S. in Music Education from West Chester University. His principal teachers include Alan Abel (retired Associate Principal Percussionist with The Philadelphia Orchestra), Matthew Strauss (Section Percussionist with the Houston Symphony) and Chris Hanning.