Ralph Hedges was born in 1933 in Denver, Colorado of musical parents. His father was music professor at the Lamont School of Music at Denver University, and his mother was harpist in the Denver symphony. His early piano lessons were with his mother along with theory lessons from his father.
He was enrolled in Denver University with full scholarship under Dr. Guy Maier. He also attended the master classes of Josef Lhévinne, and Dalies Franz.
His parents were divorced when he was 12 years of age, whereupon his mother took him to California where he performed on the FM ‘Young Artists’ program in Berkeley. Upon graduating from high school he accepted a position in the Honolulu Symphony where he performed for the next eight years. He also accepted a teaching position at the prestigious Punahou School, teaching piano and music theory. Four of his students were winners in the Pinault International Piano Competition in New York. They performed before the musical elite in Steinway Hall.
In 1990 he founded the Chopin International Piano Competition of the Pacific that had its first competition at the newly renovated Hawaii Theater in downtown Honolulu.
In 2015 he was chosen as a judge in the Enkor Piano and Violin competition based in Dusseldorf, Germany.
He has written many books on music theory and has a complete analysis of much of the work of Chopin, Bach, Beethoven, and Debussy. He believes that the so-called ‘popular’ song is the better and more enjoyable way to learn the language of music, aka music theory.