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Richard Ryan, Double Bass

Richard Ryan grew up near Phoenix, Arizona, always dreaming of becoming a musician. He received his Bachelor's degree in Music Performance from Indiana University and won his first professional orchestra position in the Louisville Orchestra at the age of 20. While in Louisville, Richard was also a staff conductor for the Louisville Youth Orchestra and maintained a private bass studio. Richard joined the Kansas City Symphony in 2011. He has been the bass instructor at the University of Kansas since 2013, and has been the Music Director of the Lenexa Community Orchestra since 2017.

Ten questions about me:

If you were to give advice to a young person who would want to follow your path, what would you say?

I would say find the best teacher you can, someone who challenges and inspires you, and put your heart and mind fully into learning.

When you were young, did you enjoy practicing?

Nope. Do I still count as being young?

What is your favorite thing about performing music?

My favorite thing about performing is that you get to demonstrate your passion and your whole life's work for the people in the audience; it can be nerve-wracking, but it is extremely rewarding when the audience is excited and receptive.

Are you the only musician in your family?


How did you choose your instrument?

After playing violin for several years, I picked up bass as a secondary instrument during elementary school orchestra class because there was no other bass player. As I gradually improved and was successful in my endeavors on the bass, it grew to become my main instrument.

What would you like to be known for?

I would like to be known as a great teacher that can help students accomplish their goals.

When did you know you wanted to be a professional musician?

From the earliest I can remember, at age 5 playing violin, I have always wanted to be a musician and have never wavered in that desire.

If I weren't a professional musician, my occupation would be:


What is the most challenging work for your instrument?

The bass is extremely difficult to master and I have spent the last decade of my life learning and refining the bass parts of the great orchestral repertoire. Despite this, I have much more to explore in this area, and will probably spend the next decade doing so. In addition to orchestral playing, there are many extremely difficult solo works emerging for bass that I would like to tackle.

What is a "must-have" in your fridge?

Some kind of tasty beer is usually necessary.