This Charlotte native is among the few organists to win six First Prize awards at major international and national competitions. His debut recording has been broadcast on the nationally syndicated radio programs PIPEDREAMS and WITH HEART AND VOICE. Acclaimed by audiences and critics alike for his strong communicative skills across styles, exceptional use of the organ’s capabilities and bold programming, Ryan has emerged as one of North America’s premiere young concert artists.
This concert is free. Tickets are required.
MORE ABOUT THE ARTIST
Jonathan Ryan's command of an exceptionally large breadth of the organ’s repertoire, spanning from the Renaissance to numerous solo and collaborative premieres, coupled with scholarship and striking virtuosity enables the bold, imaginative programming and exceptional use of each organ’s unique capability for which he is noted.
Renowned juries have awarded Jonathan 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 First Prize in the 2009 Jordan II International Organ Competition, one of the most substantial First Prize awards of any organ competition at the time, alongside one of the most stringent repertoire requirements. He was additionally awarded the only auxiliary prize at the Jordan Competition, the LeTourneau Concerto Prize, given for the best performance of a newly commissioned work for organ and percussion ensemble. Additional First Prize awards include the 2006 Arthur Poister National Organ Competition, the 2006 John Rodland Scholarship Competition, the 2004 Albert Schweitzer National Organ Competition (Young Professional Division), and the 2003 Augustana Arts-Reuter National Organ Competition.
Jonathan’s début recording, A Cathedral’s Voice (Raven 941), was recently released to immediate critical acclaim, including a five-star review in the London-based Choir & Organ. Lauded for its mastery, expressivity, sensitivity, and virtuosity, it includes music ranging from Byrd and Bach to Schumann and Eben to a commission by multi award-winning young American composer Zachary Wadsworth. Jonathan's performances have also been featured on the nationally syndicated radio programs PIPEDREAMS and WITH HEART AND VOICE.
Born into a musical family in Charlotte, NC, Jonathan first started playing the organ at age eight. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree with academic honors from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied organ, improvisation, and church music with Todd Wilson. During Jonathan’s undergraduate studies, he was awarded the Henry Fusner Prize for outstanding achievement in the Cleveland Institute of Music’s organ department, and also served as Wilson’s assistant at The Church of the Covenant. As a student of David Higgs, Jonathan received a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music where he also studied improvisation with William Porter and conducting with William Weinert. Additionally, he holds the highest-ranking professional certification from the American Guild of Organists, the revered Fellow certificate, as well as the Choirmaster certificate for which he received the Choirmaster Prize in 2006 for the highest national Choirmaster certificate exam score that year.
Jonathan’s passion for conducting and love of sacred music has spurred him to combine his performing and teaching with serving as Assistant Director of Music at Christ Church (Episcopal) in Greenwich, CT, where he works alongside internationally renowned British composer Philip Moore, Christ Church’s Visiting Artist, and Jamie Hitel, Director, Music. Within Christ Church’s music program of nine choirs, he directs the adult choir in choral Masses and concerts, and assists with the Choir of Men & Boys and the Girls Choir. Jonathan also serves as faculty, principal organist, and a conductor of the Church Music Association of America and their annual summer Colloquiums where he regularly gives lectures and masterclasses, and pursues one of his greatest interests in Western music: Gregorian chant. He has previously held director, conducting and organist positions at St. John Cantius Church in Chicago, IL and St. Anne Church in Rochester, NY where he was Artistic Director of the Music at St. Anne concert series, and University Organist at the University of Rochester. During his two seasons as Visiting Artist at St. James Cathedral (Episcopal) Concerts in Chicago, IL, his solo organ accompaniment transcription of the Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45, performed live in concert with the St. James Cathedral Choir (Bruce Barber, conductor), was showcased on the Friday night “Music in Chicago” program of Chicago’s Classical Music Station, WFMT.