The British guitarist Gary Ryan is one of the world’s leading exponents of the instrument and has pursued a highly varied international career as an acclaimed solo performer, composer and teacher. In 2013 he became the first guitarist since John Williams in 1983 to be awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Music in recognition of his contribution to the instrument and recent invitations to perform include solo appearances in Australia, China, Denmark, Germany, India, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain.
Ryan studied guitar and piano from the age of 8 as a junior exhibitioner at the Guildhall School of Music, where he won the Director’s Prize, later winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music to study with Timothy Walker in 1987. In 1991 he graduated with first class honours and many awards, including the Julian Bream Prize, the John Mundy String Prize and the Dorothy Grinstead Prize for an outstanding all-round musician. He then continued his post-graduate studies with an award from the Fleming Trust, becoming an Associate of the RAM in 1997.
Ryan made his London solo recital debut for the Park Lane Group at the Purcell Room in 1994 to exceptional critical acclaim 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, he was then appointed as a Professor of Guitar at the Royal College of Music in London and currently combines a busy freelance career with his role as the RCM’s Assistant Head of Strings.
Also well known as a composer, Gary Ryan’s celebrated guitar compositions combine traditional classical techniques with more contemporary guitar styles and a rich variety of musical influences from around the world. These include his acclaimed solo concert work, Benga Beat, which was premièred in 2011, Scenes from The Wild West, Lough Caragh, Hot Club Français, Shamal, Rossbeigh Strand and Generator (for guitar duo). Other publications include Easy Piazzolla for Boosey and Hawkes and Guitar Star for the ABRSM.
In 2015 Gary Ryan was invited by John Williams to form 6 Hands, a new collaborative guitar trio with the jazz guitarist John Etheridge which has since toured the UK extensively.
Gary Ryan’s guitars are made by the English luthier Stephen Hill.