A b o u t R y a n
Ryan Suleiman was born to Lebanese and American parents in Sacramento, California. His music engages with daydreams, the natural world, and the understated beauty of everyday life through resonant sonorities, lively shifting rhythmic structures, and “impressionistic textures” (SF Classical Voice). While his interests vary, much of his music attempts to make sense of humanity’s place in a world increasingly threatened by ecological collapse, and foster a sense of awe and reverence for it. He is also inspired by the music of Messiaen, Takemitsu, and St. Vincent.
Ryan was twice a Finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards and has received two first prizes from the Festival of New American Music (FeNAM) Student Composers Competition. His music has been commissioned by numerous performers, including Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Citywater, Symphony d’Oro, the Sacramento State Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Camerata Capistrano, and the Hawkins School for the Performing Arts, and has collaborated with groups such as Calder Quartet, Ensemble Mise-en, Empyrean Ensemble, and Uusinta Ensemble. His music has also been performed in several festivals including SICPP at New England Conservatory, June in Buffalo, NANOworks Opera Workshop, Oregon Bach Festival, and HighSCORE Festival in Italy. His piano cycle, Under Moonlight, was recorded by Jai Jeffryes in his solo album, Amethyst, distributed by Naxos.
Past projects include concert-length pieces such as Heartstrings, a work for piano quartet and dancers commissioned by choreographer Jacob Gutiérrez-Montoya, and The Red Velvet Violin, for narrator, puppets, and orchestra, commissioned by Angelo Moreno at Davis High School. Currently Ryan is working on an orchestra piece called California Burning and two smaller "sister operas" in collaboration with writer Cristina Fríes, the North American New Opera Workshop, and the vocal/piano collective Rogue Music Project. The piece deals with the problematic nature of the French fairytale “Donkey Skin,” trauma, and lost memories.
Suleiman graduated with a B.M. from Sacramento State and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Composition/Theory at University of California Davis, where he received a Provost Fellowship. His teachers include Stephen Blumberg, Leo Eylar, Kurt Rohde, Mika Pelo, Ross Bauer, Pablo Ortiz, and Laurie San Martin.
Ryan is an Associate Instructor and Teaching Assistant at UC Davis and teaches theory and composition at Pacific Institute of Music (Folsom). He resides in Sacramento with his wife / musical collaborator Sakurako Kanemitsu, two cats, and one brown dog. There he composes, studies, daydreams, and teaches composition. He enjoys long walks, good food, and the films of Hayao Miyazaki.
photo by Sakurako Kanemitsu