Ryan Jesperson (1981) is a composer whose music is steeped in the modern practice of blurring genres and skewing expectations. With a taste for eccentric rhythms and dissonant chord progressions, Ryan’s music alludes to his jazz and rock roots while still holding strong to his contemporary academic tastes. Ryan holds an MM and an AD from the University of Hartford, and a BM and BA from Washington State University. Currently, Ryan is pursuing his doctorate at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where he is a Chancellor’s Doctoral Fellow. His principal compositions teachers include Zhou Long, Larry Alan Smith, Robert Carl, Stephen Gryc, Charles Argersinger and Gregory Yasinitsky. Ryan is currently studying with Chen Yi.
Ryan’s compositions have been performed across the country and abroad, with performances at the SCI National Student Conference in Miami, FL, the SCI Region VII conference in Northridge, CA, the SCI Region V conference in Indianapolis, IN, two NACUSA concerts in New York City, the CMU New Music Festival in Warrensburg, MO, and the ReJoyce Festival in Metaline Falls, WA. His chamber opera, Words for the Dead, was premiered in 2004 at Washington State University. Recent performances include the international premiere of Sonata for Trombone by Radu Clipa in Romania, and the premieres of Violin Sonata in New York City, Divertimento for Trumpet and Organ in Hartford, CT, and Concertino for Violin and Viola at the Wintergreen Music Festival in Virginia. Upcoming performances include fragments and memories by Radu Clipa in Romania, and Flute Concerto by Sophia Tegart and UMKC Orchestra in Kansas City, MO. Ryan is also currently working on his first CD release with the vocalist Ashly Evans. His compositions Humanity Divine and Birdsongs will be featured on the upcoming disc.
A recent winner of the 2008/2009 British Trombone Society Composition Contest and the 2008 UMKC Orchestra Composition Competition, Ryan has also won awards from the Lional Hampton Jazz Festival Composition Competition, FASR and Phi Beta Kappa. His list of commissions include the Honors String Quartet, the Miklos Quartet, trumpeter Chris Belluscio, violinist Sarah Washburn, vocalist Ashly Evans and trombonist Radu Clipa. Also an educator, Ryan was a member of the music faculty at the Hartford Conservatory and taught at the University of Hartford.