Jeffrey Ryan

jeffreyJeffrey Ryan

Dark Matters
premiere: June 14, 2009 Munich
Commissioned with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts

Praised for his “strong personal voice” (Globe and Mail), “masterful command of instrumental colour” (Georgia Straight), and “superb attention to rhythm” (Audio Ideas Guide), Jeffrey Ryan has emerged as one of Canada’s leading composers. His music has been performed and broadcast across Canada and internationally, including commissions for the Vancouver Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, New Music Concerts, Aventa Ensemble, Arditti Quartet, Tokyo Quartet and Tapestry New Opera.

Recordings of Ryan’s music have garnered multiple JUNO and Western Canadian Music Award nominations, all for Classical Composition of the Year. Recently, Naxos Records chose an all-Ryan programme with the Vancouver Symphony and the Gryphon Trio to launch its Canadian Classics series. His growing discography includes recordings by musica intima, the Canadian Chamber Choir, clarinetist Cris Inguanti, pianist Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa, the Thunder Bay Symphony, the Hannaford Street Silver Band and the Penderecki String Quartet.

Based in Vancouver, Ryan is Composer Advisor for Music Toronto and was the Vancouver Symphony’s Composer Laureate for the 2008/09 season, after serving as the VSO’s Composer-in-Residence from 2002 to 2007.

Jeffrey Ryan holds degrees from Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of Toronto and The Cleveland Institute of Music.

Dark Matters (2009)

“Much of my music is in some way, on some level, inspired by light. But there can be no light without a dark side, and dark matters. This work for large chamber ensemble plays with register and colour, exploring the darkness of brighter instruments and finding brightness in the darker instruments. The alto flute and bass clarinet, traditionally used for their lower registers but here exploited for their full ranges, are especially highlighted.

Dark Matters also draws inspiration from the unseen connecting “dark matter” of the universe, which for me parallels the invisible and intuitive connection between an ensemble’s members, who together can make virtuosity sound easy. Appropriately, these seven evanescent movements, balanced and reflected around a central meditation, are connected into the larger whole by measured silence.

On another level, the three kinds of “dark matter” — Hot, Warm and Cold — bring to mind the “Hot and Cold” hunting game we played as children, and so these Dark Matters also possess some of the childlike spontaneity and freedom which delight in the richness of the present moment.” – Jeffrey Ryan