Biography

JRyan B&W

Praised for his “strong personal voice” (Globe and Mail), “masterful command of instrumental colour” (Georgia Straight), and “superb attention to rhythm” (Audio Ideas Guide), Jeffrey Ryan writes music that runs the gamut from opera, art song, and choral music to chamber and orchestral works.

Recipient of SOCAN’s 2014 Jan V. Matejcek New Classical Music Award for career achievement, Ryan’s music has engaged audiences in concerts and broadcasts around the world. His many commissions include works for the Cleveland Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Victoria Symphony, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Aventa Ensemble, Arditti Quartet, Tokyo String Quartet, Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, and Tapestry Opera. Major recent projects include Seasons of the Sea with First Nations storyteller Rosemary Georgeson for Vetta Chamber Music; Midnight Sun Songs for the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre (Yellowknife); and Book of Love, a collaborative dance/music work with Vancouver’s Kokoro Dance and Standing Wave.

Well represented on disc, recordings of Ryan’s music have garnered four JUNO nominations and five more from the Western Canadian Music Awards. His portrait CD Fugitive Colours, performed by the Vancouver Symphony with the Gryphon Trio, launched the Naxos Canadian Classics series and went on to win the 2012 Western Canadian Music Award for Classical Recording of the Year. Ryan’s growing discography includes recordings by musica intima, the Canadian Chamber Choir, clarinetist Cris Inguanti, pianists Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa and Yoko Hirota, the Thunder Bay Symphony, the Hannaford Street Silver Band, the Penderecki String Quartet, and Standing Wave.

Jeffrey Ryan is a freelance composer based in Vancouver, Canada. He was the Vancouver Symphony’s Composer Laureate for the 2008/09 season, after serving as Composer-in-Residence from 2002 to 2007. Previously he was an Affiliate Composer with the Toronto Symphony from 2000 to 2002. Since 1997, he has been Composer Advisor for Music Toronto.

Born in Toronto and raised in Fergus, Ontario, Jeffrey Ryan fled the School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University to join the Faculty of Music, from which he graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Music degree and the gold medal in music. After earning a Master’s degree in composition from the University of Toronto, he went on to receive his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition from The Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Donald Erb. Previous teachers include Alexina Louie, Lothar Klein, Mariano Etkin, Boyd McDonald, and Owen Underhill.

Awards and Recognition

  • Composer Advisor, Music Toronto
  • Composer Laureate, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra 2008/09
  • Composer-in-Residence, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra 2002-2007
  • Affiliate Composer, Toronto Symphony Orchestra 2000-2002
  • Jan V. Matecjek New Classical Music Award 2014 (SOCAN)
  • Western Canadian Music Award Nomination, Classical Composition of the Year 2013 (Burn)
  • Juno Nomination, Classical Album of the Year: Large Ensemble or Solo with Large Ensemble 2013 (Fugitive Colours, Naxos Records)
  • Winner, Western Canadian Music Award for Classical Recording of the Year 2012 (Fugitive Colours, Naxos Records)
  • Western Canadian Music Award Nomination, Classical Composition of the Year 2012 (Symphony #1: Fugitive Colours)
  • Juno Nomination, Classical Composition of the Year 2012 (Equilateral)
  • International Classical Music Award Nomination 2012, Contemporary Album (Fugitive Colours, Naxos Records)
  • Western Canadian Music Award Nomination, Classical Composition of the Year 2011 (Angeline on Ossabaw)
  • Western Canadian Music Award Nomination, Classical Composition of the Year 2009 (String Quartet #3 “sonata distorta”)
  • Juno Nomination, Classical Composition of the Year 2008 (Quantum Mechanics)
  • Juno Nomination, Best Classical Composition 2005 (Pangaea)
  • Barlow Prize, honourable mention 2001 (Found Frozen)
  • Sir Ernest Macmillan Award, SOCAN competition for young composers 1991: first prize for orchestral music
  • William St. Clair Low Award, CAPAC competition for young composers 1990: first prize for chamber music
  • Rodolphe Mathieu Award, CAPAC competition for young composers 1989: third prize for solo/duet music
  • Godfrey Ridout Award, CAPAC competition for young composers 1988: first prize for choral music

(photo by Chick Rice)

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