About us


Ralph Samuelson, Member
Advisor and Former Director - Asian Cultural Council

Since 1976, Ralph Samuelson has pursued a dual career as a foundation professional facilitating and supporting US-Asia cultural exchange and as a performer and teacher of the Japanese bamboo flute, shakuhachi.  From 1991 to 2008 Ralph was the director of the Asian Cultural Council (ACC), a foundation whose program was established in 1963 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd to support cultural exchange in the arts and humanities between the United States and the countries of Asia.  At the Asian Cultural Council, Ralph managed the head office in New York and four regional offices in Asia and developed and oversaw the ACC's diverse grantmaking, fundraising, and programming activities in the United States and Asia. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Cornell University, Ralph has an M.A. degree, and completed all coursework for the Ph.D. degree, in ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University.  He studied Japanese traditional music in Tokyo in the 1970s under the guidance of distinguished musicologist Fumio Koizumi, and he was trained in the classical style and repertoire of the Kinko School of shakuhachi since 1969 by the late Living National Treasure Goro Yamaguchi and other master musicians of Japan.  He is recognized as one of the foremost shakuhachi players and teachers outside of Japan and has performed in leading concert venues in the US, Europe, and Asia.  He has been a consultant to the Smithsonian, The Japan Society, The Japan Foundation, Asia Society, National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, The World Music Institute, and other organizations and is a frequent guest lecturer at universities and colleges. He currently serves as Senior Advisor to the Asian Cultural Council and an advisor to the Arts Council of Mongolia.