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by Daniel Hathaway
American organist Jonathan Ryan will open this season’s organ series on the E.M. Skinner instrument in Youngstown’s Stambaugh Auditorium on Sunday, September 28 at 4:00 pm.
Ryan, who is currently assistant music director at Christ Episcopal Church in Greenwich, Connecticut, began his professional studies with Todd Wilson at the Cleveland Institute of Music before moving on to graduate studies at Eastman.
We spoke to the organist as he was preparing for his recital on the Late Summer Organ Festival at the Fraumünster in Zürich. Ryan, whose lineage is partially Swiss, was asked to perform a program totally devoted to American music, something one rarely comes across, especially in Europe. “I’m enjoying that challenge,” he said in a telephone conversation as he listed his repertory choices, which included music by the late Chicago composer Leo Sowerby, Dudley Buck (“his Last Rose of Summer, which turns out to be a well-known tune in Europe”) and five of Calvin Hampton’s Dances. “I had to learn some new repertoire for Zürich,” he noted
Ryan’s choices for Switzerland were also made with the Fraumünster organs in mind. “Stambaugh is an entirely different style of instrument,” he said, which led him to some interesting decisions. Read the rest of this entry »