Sir Ralph Kohn#


Sir Ralph Kohn - Biography#

Sir Ralph Kohn is a pharmacologist, innovator and musician.

He was born in Leipzig, Germany and left with his family as a result of the Nazi persecution in the 1930s. He then lived in Amsterdam, Holland until 1940 when he fled to England after the German invasion of Holland and settled in Salford with his family aged 6 unable to speak English!

Determined through his schooling at Salford Grammar, Ralph was educated at Manchester University, where he was awarded a BSc, MSc and finally his PhD on histamine, whilst also receiving the Wild Prize in Pharmacology. He won a postdoctoral fellowship to the Istituto Superiore di Sanità in Rome, where he worked and published with Sir Ernst Chain FRS, who shared the Nobel Prize for Penicillin with Fleming and Florey in 1945, and Professor Daniel Bovet, the 1957 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, who discovered the first antihistimine. It was in Rome that he took up singing and his passion for music was formed.

Sir Ralph also spent a year as a postdoctoral Fellow at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, N.Y. in the Department of Pharmacology with the distinguished pharmacologist Dr Alfred Gilman.

He subsequently joined the pharmaceutical industry in the Research and Development Division of a Smith, Kline & French. After 7 years with the company, he was appointed MD of the Swiss biological organisation, Robapharm.

In 1969 Sir Ralph founded his own company, the first specifically Medical Services company in the UK, specialising in the clinical evaluation of new therapeutic substances, that fostered a radical change in the conduct of clinical trials in the UK and beyond. The company received the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement for services to the pharmaceutical industry in 1990.

In 1991 he set up the Kohn Foundation, which has supported many scientific, medical, artistic and humanitarian projects ever since and continues to do so.

Sir Ralph is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. He is an Honorary Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society and the Royal College of Physicians, and a member of Academia Europaea. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2006, and in 2010 served on its 350th Anniversary Campaign Board.

Sir Ralph was knighted in the Honours List for “services to science, music and charity” in 2009/2010 and later that year awarded a Doctor of Music by the University of London. He was honoured by Kellogg College Oxford to be the Bynum Tudor visiting Fellow and gave the annual lecture entitled “Challenges and opportunities in a changing world” and was appointed President of the Birmingham & Midland Institute in January 2011.

Sir Ralph is also a musician of professional standard. Having begun his musical studies in Amsterdam with the violin, he subsequently became interested in vocal music and studied and trained in Rome, New York and London. He has given numerous recitals and performances with orchestras in the UK and abroad, and has recorded the major cycles in Lieder repertoire. He has so far recorded 16 CDs, many with the distinguished pianist Graham Johnson. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music. He established the Wigmore Hall International Song competition and is closely involved with the Royal Academy of Music in its vocal scholarship programme, as well as with its Bach Cantata Series which began in January 2009, with the aim of playing all Bach’s cantatas, and the prestigious Annual Bach Prize awarded to distinguished scholars/performers.

In 2013 Sir Ralph was awarded the “Medal of Honour” of the City of Leipzig by the Mayor of Leipzig for his substantial contributions in promoting J. S. Bach scholarship and performance and his support of the Bach Festival in Leipzig. Later that year he received the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany awarded by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany.

In addition, Sir Ralph was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science from Buckingham University in May 2014 and a second Honorary Doctor of Music from the University of London in July 2014. In the same year was also elected Trustee of the Wigmore Hall and Honorary Trustee of the Monteverdi choir and Orchestra.


Imprint Privacy policy « This page (revision-3) was last changed on Thursday, 17. November 2016, 13:59 by Kaiser Dana
  • operated by