A few years ago at Dunedin City Baptist (somewhere between 2002 and 2005) a young fellow called Ryan Youens used to play the piano during the worship, on occasions. It was a period when we had a number of fine pianists; there was also another youth who was training to be a doctor.
Ryan's been gone from Dunedin for at least three years, so it was good to catch up with him on Facebook today, and learn something of what he's doing.
He completed his Masters degree in composition early in 2007 at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington, working with Jack Body, Michael Norris and John Psathas. (Note that his teachers include one of my favourite composers and one of my not-favourites!)
Ryan had already had a fairly illustrous academic time: he began studying at Auckland University in 2001, moved to Otago University, studied with Anthony Ritchie and graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree with first class honours in 2005. He also received a couple of prizes during his Otago stint.
Ryan’s work has been performed by the Gruppetto Quartet (Greece), Auckland Symphony Orchestra, Southern Sinfonia, Marama Chamber Orchestra, Dunedin Youth Orchestra, Southern Consort of Singers, The Committee and at the 2007 Asian Composers League Festival in Wellington.
He's been a part of the NZSO/TODD Young Composer Awards on three occasions and his piece “Rakaia” was a part of the 2008 NZSO/SOUNZ Readings.
Ryan now lives back in Auckland, his hometown, works as a composer, music copyist and engraver, teaches music, conducts several orchestras and is frequently arranging and orchestrating music which has been performed in New Zealand, Europe, North and South America.
Sounds like Ryan has a busy career ahead of him!
Thanks to the SOUNZ site for some of this info