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Ryan Jesperson

West Hartford, CT         

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 firmly ensconced in the modern classical tradition. In 2011 Ryan completed a Doctorate in Music Composition at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where he was a Chancellor’s Doctoral Fellow, President of the Composer’s GUILD, and student senator. His dissertation, Songs from Behind the Curtain: an opera in three acts was awarded the 2011 UMKC Outstanding Dissertation Award. Ryan also holds an MM and an AD from the University of Hartford, and a BM and BA from Washington State University. His principal compositions teachers included Chen Yi, Zhou Long, James Mobberley, Larry Alan Smith, Robert Carl, Stephen Gryc, Charles Argersinger and Gregory Yasinitsky.


Ryan’s compositions have been performed across the country and abroad, with performances at numerous SCI and NACUSA concerts, the UCM New Music Festival, the Nebraska at Kearney New Music Festival, the Kalv Festival, and the ReJoyce Festival among others. Recent performances include Indeed, this very Love, by the grammy- winning Kansas City Chorale, fragments and memories by Jordan Jacobson and the Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra, Getz Going by Sheri Brown and the West End String Quartet, and the premiere of I. Jest by Robert Olson and the UMKC Orchestra. Upcoming performances include Icarus by the Nathaniel Edison and the SRJC Wind Band, BA(da)SS by the bassist Ryan Ford, Hebdomas Squatinae and Shark Week II: The Return of the Sharknado by the Verismo Trio, and Rhapsody for Dean Moriarty by jazz legend Bobby Watson and the UMKC Jazz Band. He is currently working on compositions for the Asylum Quartet and the flutist Kathleen Winters. Ryan’s work, BA(da)SS, for solo bass, was released on a Navona Records CD in 2014.


Winner of the 2013 Verismo Trio/WMTA Composition Competition, the 2011 Gerald Kemner Prize for Orchestral Composition, the 2010 Beethoven Club/Belvedere Chamber Festival Composition Contest, the 2010 KC Chorale Composition Competition, and the 2009 British Trombone Society Composition Contest, Ryan has also been honored by NACUSA, the College Music Society, ASCAPLUS, the Lional Hampton Jazz Festival, FASR, and Phi Beta Kappa. Also an educator, Ryan was a member of the music faculty at the Hartford Conservatory and has taught at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Hartford. He is currently teaching computer applications in Hartford and is the husband of a violinist and father of a sweet little girl. Ryan is published through Sound Music Publications and Warwick Music, as well as his own imprint, Jazzperson Music. You can find out more at www.ryanjesperson.com.

BA(da)SS (for solo bass)

A work for solo bass written for Ryan Ford. It will be released on an upcoming Parma CD featuring works of CCI composers.

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Concerto for Flute (Icarus)

Written for Sophia Tegart. Movements 2 and 3 performed by her and the UMKC Orchestra.

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What we talk about when we talk in 140 characters

What we talk about when we talk in 140 characters is a mash-up of an old minimalist master and the new—Raymond Carver and Twitter. Like Twitter, I wanted to try and challenge myself by limiting the length of each movement, in this case, to 140 seconds. And for each movement I wanted to encapsulate one of the many styles that these short messages often take.

This work was premiered by The Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra on December 6th, 2014.

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