Ralph Kohn

This week Sue's castaway is a man who's made a success of two entirely different careers. Ralph Kohn is a Jewish businessman who has won the Queen's Export Award for his work in the pharmaceutical industry and he's also a renowned Baritone singer .

Originally born into a privileged family in Leipzig, Germany, his family moved to Amsterdam in response to the anti-Semitic laws passed in Hitler's Germany in the 1930s. The Kohns finally settled in Manchester and Ralph excelled at school, eventually choosing to study pharmaceuticals at university, encouraged by the major drug developments of the 1950s. As a doctoral student, he met Alexander Fleming and went on to work with two Nobel prize winners in Italy. It was in Rome that Ralph's love of singing flourished; learning under the renowed teacher Manlio Marcantoni, who introduced him to the great Opera tenor Gigli. In the 1960s and 1970s Ralph worked for numerous major pharmaceutical companies including Smith Kline French and Robapharm before setting up his own company Advisory Services Clinical Ltd in 1969. In music he's appeared at the Wigmore Hall, The Queen Elizabeth and Albert Halls and John Smith Square as well as producing twelve CDs.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: The Sinfonia from Christmas Oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach
Book: The complete works by Bach
Luxury: A magic flute

Release date:

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 26 Mar 2004 09:00


Role Contributor
PresenterSue Lawley
Interviewed GuestRalph Kohn

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