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Richard Ryan, Double Bass

Richard Ryan grew up near Phoenix 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 age 20. While in Louisville, Ky., Ryan was also a staff conductor for the Louisville Youth Orchestra and maintained a private bass studio. He has participated in several music festivals throughout the country including Aspen, Brevard, Eastern and Artosphere Music Festivals. Ryan joined the Kansas City Symphony in 2011.

Ten questions about me:

What year did you join the Kansas City Symphony?


What is your earliest musical memory?

My earliest musical memory is being in Suzuki violin lessons at age 5.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Other than your Kansas City Symphony concerts, where else can audiences catch you performing in town?

I have just moved to Kansas City, but I hope to become involved in chamber orchestra and jazz ensembles. I also hope to do some conducting.

What songs/albums are in your iPod/MP3 Player/CD Player right now?

I listen to a lot of different genres of music from heavy metal to classical, but I have to say my all-time favorite rock group is the Smashing Pumpkins.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?

So far, my greatest professional accomplishment is joining the Kansas City Symphony. Being hired to conduct for the Louisville Youth Orchestra is also very high on my list of things to be proud of.

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

Some kind of tasty beer is usually necessary.