Acclaimed as "one of the brightest younger artists in the field today" (The Diapason), Jonathan Ryan consistently elicits acclaim for his "considerable depth of musicianship, imagination, and passion" (Ibid.), "sense of architecture" (Choir & Organ), and "great sensitivity within the composer's spirit" (Frankfurter Neue Presse). His command of an exceptionally large breadth of repertoire, spanning from the Renaissance to numerous solo and collaborative premieres, coupled with "true virtuosity" (Reutlingener Generalanzeiger) enables the bold, imaginative programming and exceptional use of each organ’s unique capability for which he is noted. Especially concerned with communicating a work's essence, his ability to captivate listeners has "left the audience in a breathless awe" (Ibid.).
Mr. Ryan has the rare distinction of holding six First Prize awards at major international and national organ competitions. He most notably entered the international spotlight when awarded both First Prize and the only auxiliary prize, the LeTourneau Concerto Prize, in the 2009 Jordan II International Organ Competition.
Jonathan Ryan’s newest recording entitled Influences, recorded on the Stahlhuth/Jann organ at St. Martin’s Church, Dudelange Luxembourg, was released in December, 2015 on the independent boutique label, Acis and is available at jonathan-ryan.com. The recording features major works by Dupré and Willan, a premiere recording of Ad Wammes, and a commissioned piece by renowned English composer Philip Moore. His début solo organ recording, A Cathedral’s Voice (Raven 941), was released to immediate critical acclaim, including a five-star review in the London-based Choir & Organ. Mr. Ryan’s performances have been featured on the nationally syndicated radio programs Pipedreams and With Heart and Voice.
Equally at home on the podium, Mr. Ryan has founded and directed choral ensembles of all ages and abilities, ranging from children and youth choirs to fully professional ensembles to large adult choirs. Passionate about new music, he has conducted the premiere of numerous new works by highly acclaimed composers such as Cecilia McDowall, Philip Moore, and Zachary Wadsworth. In increasing demand as a conductor, the 2022-2023 season saw him serve as Guest Director of the Dallas Symphony Chorus in Dallas, TX, and Guest Director of the Choir of Trinity Wall Street in New York City.
Solo performance engagements have taken him to numerous prominent venues, festivals, and conventions throughout the United States and Europe, including St. Paul’s Cathedral in London (UK), the Nicolaikirche in Leipzig (Germany), the Cathédrale St-André in Bordeaux (France), international organ festivals in Zürich (Switzerland), Hamburg (Germany), Lübeck (Germany), and full-length recitals at multiple conventions of the American Guild of Organists and Organ Historical Society. Recent performance projects include recitals of J.S. Bach's monumental Clavier-Übung III in a tour on historically-based organs throughout the United States, and directing music for two services in the 2023 National Conference of the Association of Anglican Musicians.
Born into a musical family in Charlotte, NC, Ryan first started playing the organ at age eight. He holds degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music and Eastman School of Music, as well as the revered Fellow (FAGO) and Choirmaster (ChM) certifications from the American Guild of Organists.
Ryan enjoys combining his passions for conducting, performing, and teaching in many contexts, including in the interdisciplinary nature of liturgy. In the 2023-2024 season, Ryan serves as Acting Director of Music at Christ Church Cranbrook (Episcopal) in Bloomfield Hills, MI. There, he leads the music program consisting of the semi-professional adult choir, chorister program based on the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM), and enjoys the church's numerous instruments including the E.M. Skinner/Mander IV/84 organ in the church, a new mechanical-action Casavant organ in the crypt chapel, multiple Steinway grand pianos, and a 50-bell carillon in the tower. From 2017-2023, he was Director of Music at one of the largest Episcopal churches in the United States, St. Michael and All Angels in Dallas, TX. At St. Michael, he led exceptional growth and success in the music program, including establishing a multi-choir RSCM-based chorister program for ages 4 to 18, founding the professional Compline Choir and weekly Compline service, directing the adult choir in several orchestral Masses each year, heading the introduction of annual services of Christmas Lessons & Carols, All Souls, and Tenebrae, leading choirs in their first concert performances and tours in the 21st-century, and overseeing the music program's staff to one of the largest in the national Episcopal church. Earlier in his career, he held positions at one of the Episcopal Church's largest music programs at Christ Church in Greenwich CT, at St. James Cathedral and St. John Cantius Church in Chicago, IL, the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit in Lake Forest, IL, and St. Anne Church in Rochester, NY.
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