Ross Lorraine was born in Bristol in 1955. He studied music at King's College Cambridge with Hugh Wood and at King's College London with David Lumsdaine. He obtained a PhD in Composition supervised by Sir Harrison Birtwistle, for whom he worked as an assistant, and later as his editor at Universal Edition.
He initially trained and worked as a music therapist. From the early 1990s he lectured part-time in composition and related subjects at King's College London, Goldsmith's College and the Chelsea College of Art, and worked as a free-lance editor. He was later composer-in-residence at King's College School, Wimbledon.
Some of his earliest compositions were written for the cult 'systems' music group The Lost Jockey, with whom he performed in the early 1980s. His composition No Way was performed several times by them, and broadcast on Radio 3. Through the experience of playing jazz and improvised music his style then evolved towards a more experimental idiom, culminating in an ongoing series of virtuoso solo pieces written for some of the top performers of contemporary music in the UK, including Anton Lukoszevieze (movements and acts for cello), Andrew Sparling (new work for bass clarinet) and Ian Pace (Tacet and Attacca for piano). He has also written for many contemporary music ensembles such as the Arditti Quartet, Ensemble Exposé, Lontano and Uroboros, and his music has been performed in festivals throughout Europe, and in the USA and the Far East, and broadcast several times on Radio 3 and elsewhere.
A particular interest in the relationship between music and painting developed through the experience of performing graphic scores (with groups such as Edges); he has given several lectures and workshops in this area and was the introductory speaker at the South Bank Centre's day devoted to the subject. His two interviews with Harrison Birtwistle on music and painting were published in the Musical Times.
He was the co-founder, along with David Ryan, of Dal Niente: an organisation devoted to promoting concerts of music by important composers of the recent past.
A collaboration with playwright Rob Young led to the play with songs Ex, first performed at the Battersea Arts Centre, and then in an expanded version for a very successful four-week run at the Soho Theatre. Other theatre work includes music for Whistling Psyche by Sebastian Barry, at the Almeida Theatre, and a re-working of The Old Man and the Sea by Rob Young at the Riverside Studios.
In 2009 he started he song-writing partnership with Melissa James, which culminated in the album Day Dawns.
He has written several modern tangos, including two for the London based band Tango Volcano. Tango X featured on their debut CD , and was broadcast on the BBC World Service. It has also been performed by the contemporary ensemble Chroma.
He has also written music for amateurs and beginners, including two pieces for The Light Touch, a collection of trumpet and piano pieces published by Stainer & Bell.
More recently, Ross has focused on playing jazz piano, and writing and singing his own songs, which are now in the process of being recorded by singers such as Emilia Martensson and Linley Weir, with players including Nikki Iles (piano), Yuri Goloubev (bass) and Asaf Sirkis (drums).