The British guitarist Gary Ryan has performed to international critical acclaim for over twenty years, becoming the first guitarist since John Williams in 1983 to be awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Music in 2013 in recognition of his contribution to the instrument.
Ryan studied from the age of 8 at the Guildhall School of Music Junior Department, where he won the Director’s Prize, and was later awarded a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music in 1987, where he studied with Timothy Walker. In 1991 he graduated with first class honours and many awards, including the Julian Bream Prize for guitar, the John Mundy String Prize and the Dorothy Grinstead Prize for an outstanding all-round musician. He then pursued post-graduate studies at the RAM with an award from the Fleming Trust and was made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 1997.
Ryan made his London recital debut for the Park Lane Group Young Artists Series at the Purcell Room in 1994 (declared one of the highlights of the series by the Telegraph, Independent, Observer, Times and Sunday Times) and was subsequently invited to perform a series of recitals for the Kirckman Concert Society at London’s South Bank Centre. In 1996, at the age of 27, Ryan was then appointed as a Professor of Guitar at the Royal College of Music in London and currently combines his role there as Assistant Head of Strings with a varied international career as a performer, composer and adjudicator.
His celebrated guitar compositions, which are often broadcast on Classic FM, have broadened the instrument’s appeal by combining traditional classical guitar technique with more contemporary guitar styles and a rich variety of musical influences from around the world.
These include his acclaimed solo work, Benga Beat, which was premièred in 2011, Scenes from The Wild West, Scenes from Brazil, Songs from Erin (featuring Lough Caragh), Hot Club Français, Shamal (premiered in 2015) and Generator for guitar duo.
In 2016 Gary Ryan was invited by John Williams to form 6 Hands, a new collaborative guitar trio with the jazz guitarist John Etheridge which is currently on a 20 date tour of the UK.
Gary Ryan’s guitars are made by the English luthier Stephen Hill .
Gary Ryan plays Benga Beat